YouTube Lagging Due to Ad Blockers

Recently, forums started bursting out with topics and messages about YouTube lagging hard if a user has an adblocker enabled. Listed slowdowns include slower video buffering, missing thumbnails, and even a 100% load on the CPU. “Why is YouTube so slow” and “Why is YouTube down” have been the headlining search requests for a couple of days.

Some insist that this is the measure YouTube is testing on adblocker users to make them disable those or buy a Premium subscription. Since the platform has introduced so many different types of commercials and increased the number and frequency of ads displayed, it’s no surprise people started sticking with adblockers — a free extension can cope with almost every bothersome commercial content. But is this really a measure by YouTube in the testing phase?

Let’s look closer at this matter and figure out what caused this problem. We’ll also tell you what should you do if you face the sudden downgrade of YouTube’s performance.

What Happened

On the 13th of January, 9to5Google posted an article claiming that YouTube started slowing down the entire website for those using ad blockers. The only solution to that was disabling the ad blocker. But then watching YouTube without an adblocker is almost unbearable — there are 30 seconds of adverts per 3 minutes of video. And, of course, the majority of ads are low quality and even cringe.

According to YouTube’s TOS (terms of service), avoiding commercials via using adblockers is a straight-up violation, since ads are a ginormous source of income both for the platform and content creators. Hence, if you don’t like ads, go and purchase the Premium subscription ($14/month) which, by the way, still has commercials. Given that it’s a common business model for video streaming platforms, this makes sense.

Read our article to get more info on why YouTube Premium still has ads.

But since adblockers have always been a silver bullet solution that can cope with ads across the Internet, web surfers did not ever think of buying a Premium subscription just to get rid of ads. And it’s relatable — adblockers are very cheap (if not free) and work not only for YouTube. So, the need for dozens of pricey subscriptions fell away.

To discourage users from using ad blockers, YouTube employed several anti-adblocker mechanics. First, they introduced a pop-up saying that “Adblockers violate YouTube’s TOS” so if you don’t stop using your ad blocker, the platform will be unavailable for you. Then, when the pop-up did not really make people switch to the Premium subscription instead of using adblockers, YouTube slowing down was engaged.

What Users Say

According to the YouTube subreddit, users stated that “not only youtube video lagging, but I also can’t do anything: type a comment, load a video, while any other opened tab is okay and the speedtest readings are fine”. Some users also reported that YouTube livestreams have audio issues with adblockers enabled.

This was also confirmed by the authors of the original article. They stated that

 “YouTube looks sickly whenever an ad blocker is enabled. Videos buffer incredibly slow, previews refuse to load properly, and entering theater mode or fullscreen is impossible without refreshing the website”. (source: https://9to5google.com/)

Wondering which YouTube adblocker on iPhone is the best? Read our article to find out.

What YouTube Says

YouTube has denied that the latest performance downgrades and lags are part of its effort against ad blockers. The Google-owned platform also denied that it’s the artificial timeout hidden in its code or specific ads on YouTube that track adblockers to then slow down the performance.

And it’s even though back in November, YouTube has already pulled a similar move. What’s interesting about this is that reportedly only Adblock/Adblock Plus users faced the slowdown this time. According to the official info from the developers, the slowdown and lags were due to “the bug in the previous update that was the root of evil” and they are fixing this issue.

On top of that, uBlock Origin developer Raymond Hill sided with YouTube stating that “most likely it’s the Adblock’s bug, not the YouTube.”

We’re almost 100% sure that it is not the bug but rather YouTube ramping up its efforts against adblockers. We’ve tested different adblockers (including built-in ones) on different browsers and can confirm that this is the case. It is not an Adblock/Adblock Plus-specific issue. By the way, uBlock was also affected by slowdowns on YouTube but the effect was “brief” and devs rolled out an update addressing the issue almost instantly.

This time Adblock/Adblock Plus, next time uBlock users will complain about sluggish loading and bizarre CPU load. From our point of view, YouTube is testing the waters by implementing different techniques to then introduce some sort of uniform solution discouraging users from using ad blockers.

Does YouTube slow down with AdLock?

No, it does not. We’ve conducted research and tested all our products including all browser extensions and standalone products and the results are excellent. No lags, no slow loading, no nothing. On top of that, we’re constantly improving our adblocking techniques and algorithms to avoid possible conflicts or inefficient blocking. 

You should keep in mind that the situation may (and 100% will) evolve, and YouTube’s policies or practices might change over time. If you’re experiencing YouTube being slow with an ad blocker enabled, it could be due to various factors, including internet connection issues, browser settings, or updates to the YouTube platform. There are also known cases when for some reason an ad blocker not working on YouTube.

(Credit: National Geographic on YouTube)

For now, AdLock is the best ad blocker for YouTube that does its job excellently — you won’t experience slow YouTube on your device regardless of the operating system. Download it right now and see for yourself. 

Here’s how to block YouTube ads on Android

Final Thoughts

Although YouTube denies its engagement in the slowdown, this case has a precedent. What’s undeniably guaranteed is that YouTube will go on testing new approaches to the anti-adblocker battle throwing new jabs time after time. There will be new slowdowns and performance issues on YouTube for other groups of users with different adblockers. But will these measures make people drop ad blockers and purchase Premium? Most likely no, because there are YouTube alternatives without ads.

If it is the strategy YouTube is going to enforce against ad blocker users, then it’s tragic. This way, Google is ruining its video platform. They’ve shown how much they hate adblockers and waged an open war on them. But is making the platform almost unusable for anyone using an adblocker the way? 

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Fedor Lopatin

Fedor Lopatin

Proficient content creator, UX writer, Technical writer, Creative writer.!!! Fedor is a creative, enthusiastic, well-organized, precise, and diligent writer who can handle almost anything concerning writing. By saying almost, we mean sometimes his Muse asks for invocation, but when she’s pleased — buckle up.

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