uBlock Origin Suggested Settings

uBlock Origin

See the change log at the end for a complete revision history.

Introduction

First and foremost, use only uBlock Origin (uBO) by Raymond 'gorhill' Hill (here's the uBlock Origin page on the Firefox Add-ons website). While there may be some legitimate forks, there are also many ripoffs out there and i would highly recommend avoiding them.

uBlock Origin is not simply an ad blocker as many might assume, rather it is a powerful content filter, similar to a firewall, that is capable of both dynamic and static filtering. In addition to blocking annoying content such as ads, it can also block JavaScript, frames, images, 3rd party fonts and more, as well as help to prevent tracking and malware. For even finer grained control, uBO can be used in conjunction with uMatrix by the same developer, however in this case it should be configured in its easy mode with the appropriate static filters enabled while uMatrix is used to handle the dynamic filtering.

So what is the difference between static and dynamic filtering you ask? Static filters are filter rules which are provided by the various filter lists. Essentially you have no control over the filters provided by these lists; they are either enabled or disabled. Static filters filter out content like ads, malware, tracking technologies, annoyances and more. Static filter lists are enabled from the 'Filter lists' tab of the uBO dashboard. Dynamic filters are controlled from the pop-up interface when you click the uBO toolbar icon. Here you can create temporary or permanent filter rules to control images, JavaScript and frames and the rules can be applied globally or per-domain. Dynamic filtering only becomes available after you enable the 'I am and advanced user' option in the uBO settings and it is crucial to read the uBO wiki before enabling this option.

Following are my personal preferences for setting up uBlock Origin. The configurations in the 2nd and 3rd columns of the table are intended to be used with the The Firefox Privacy Guide For Dummies! and the Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs, respectively, the former of which does not rely on uMatrix and the latter of which does. In both cases the advanced mode of uBO is disabled because i felt it would be too overwhelming for 1st time users and followers of the 'dummy' guide and it isn't needed for followers of the advanced guide since all dynamic filtering is handled with uMatrix which offers more granular control. Keep in mind these are my personal preferences and by no means do i claim they're the best possible for every use case, however i like to think they are generally sensible.

Regardless of which guide you are following, it is essential that you read the uBlock wiki with the exception of the Advanced-user-features section. If you are not following either guide and not using uMatrix, i would highly suggest enabling the advanced mode option in uBO in order to leverage its dynamic filtering capability and reading the Advanced-user-features section of the wiki. The suggested configuration for this scenario is in the 4th column of the table.

Once uBO is installed, click its toolbar icon to reveal its popup user interface, then click the little sliders icon to reveal the "secret" Dashboard (i say "secret" because apparently quite a few people don't know it exists). These are the settings i recommend:

'Settings' tab settings

Settings not shown here are optional.

 

Setting name
'Dummy' guide settings (without uMatrix)
Advanced guide settings (with uMatrix)
Advanced usage (without uMatrix)
Hide placeholders of blocked elements 1disabledoptionaloptional
Show the number of blocked requests on the iconenabledoptionaloptional
Disable tooltipsdisabledoptionaloptional
I am an advanced user 2disableddisabledenabled
Privacy:
Disable pre-fetchingenabledenabledenabled
Disable hyperlink auditingenabledenabledenabled
Prevent WebRTC from leaking local IP addressesenabledenabledenabled
Block CSP reportsenabledenabledenabled
Default behavior:
Disable cosmetic filteringenabledenabledenabled
Block media elements larger than [50] KBdisabledoptionaloptional
Block remote fontsdisabledenabledenabled
Disable JavaScript 3enableddisabled 4optional 4
Footnotes

[1] If you are new to uBO and content filtering, you should not enable this option. Not enabling it will sometimes provide a visual indication when something is blocked in a webpage in the form of an empty space.

[2] This option should not be enabled if you are using uMatrix to handle dynamic filtering. If you are following the The Firefox Privacy Guide For Dummies! and not using uMatrix, or otherwise using uBlock on its own, then it may be enabled only after reading the Advanced user features section of the uBO wiki.

[3] Enabling this option disables JavaScript globally by default and causes uBO to honor <noscript> HTML tags. The problem with this is that some page elements that might have been displayed had the <noscript> tags been ignored, may not when this option is enabled. Also some websites may display a JavaScript disabled warning message, though this can be beneficial for novice users. If you are following The Firefox Privacy Guide For Dummies!, i suggest enabling this option since you won't have to enable and fool with uBO's dynamic filtering, however if you are following the Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs, i recommend disabling this option and controlling JavaScript with uMatrix.

[4] For anyone concerned with their on-line privacy, JavaScript should always be disabled globally and then allowed only for the websites where the functionality it provides is necessary. If you're using uMatrix to handle dynamic filtering then you should allow JS with with uBlock and disable it with uMatrix. If you are not using uMatrix then you can either enable the 'Disable JavaScript' master switch in uBlock's settings, or block inline, 1st party and 3rd party scripts from the toolbar popup.

 

Next we want to temporarily enable the 'I am an advanced user' option after which a little gear icon will appear to the right of the "I am an advanced user" text. Click the icon to display some advanced settings and change suspendTabsUntilReady to yes. Although there is no guarantee, when you start Firefox uBO will attempt to delay network requests until it is fully loaded. This is most useful if you exit Firefox with open tabs and have it set to restore your previous tabs on restart. If you are following one of my Firefox guides, don't forget to return to the Dashboard and disable the 'I am an advanced user' option.

'Filter Lists' tab settings

Filter lists:
Auto-update filter listsenabled
Parse and enforce cosmetic filtersdisabled
Ignore generic cosmetic filtersenabled
Network filters: 
My filters​​​​​enabled
Built-in:
uBlock filters​enabled
uBlock filters – Badware risks​ 1enabled
uBlock filters – Privacy​​​​​enabled
uBlock filters – Resource abuse​​​​​enabled
uBlock filters – Unbreak​​​​​enabled
Ads:
AdGuard Basedisabled
AdGuard Mobile Ads​ 2disabled
EasyList​enabled
Privacy:
AdGuard Tracking Protection​disabled
EasyPrivacyenabled
Fanboy’s Enhanced Tracking List​enabled
Malware domains:
Online Malicious URL Blocklistenabled
Spam404enabled
Annoyances:
AdGuard Annoyances​enabled
AdGuard Social Media​disabled
Anti-Facebook List​disabled
EasyList Cookieoptional 3
Fanboy’s Annoyanceenabled
Fanboy’s Socialdisabled
uBlock filters – Annoyances​​​​​enabled
Multipurpose:
Dan Pollock’s hosts file​disabled
MVPS HOSTS​disabled
Peter Lowe’s Ad and tracking server list​disabled
Footnotes

[1] Optional for Linux users

[2] Enable if using Firefox on a mobile device

[3] Enabling this list will hide a lot of those idiotic cookie notices

 

Don't worry about the 'Regions, languages' section unless you browse sites in languages other than English in which case you'll want to enable those languages.

As of this writing you can find over 12 million filter lists on the FilterLists website, however i strongly advise to be very careful about what ones you add, if any. In my experience the default filter lists offered by uBO are quite sufficient for general web browsing and adding more will use more memory, slow things down and potentially break more webpages.

'My rules' tab settings

If you are following the Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs or otherwise using uBO on its own, and are not using uMatrix, and you have enabled the 'I am an advanced user' setting (there's no reason to enable this setting if using uMatrix to control dynamic filtering), you can, optionally, replace the default behind-the-scene rules on the 'My rules' tab with the the following, however understand that they can break some websites for which you may need to add exceptions:

no-large-media: behind-the-scene true
behind-the-scene * * block
behind-the-scene * 1p-script block
behind-the-scene * 3p block
behind-the-scene * 3p-frame block
behind-the-scene * 3p-script block
behind-the-scene * image block
behind-the-scene * inline-script block

If you are using the LocalCDN add-on you will need to add some rules to the 'My Rules' tab in the uBO Dashboard. The rules can be found in the preferences section of the LocalCDN add-on from where you will copy the rules specific to uBlock Origin. After copying the rules, paste them on a new, blank line in the 'Temporary rules' section of the 'My Rules' tab after which you need to save and commit the changes. When adding the rules, be sure to remove any conflicting rules for the same domains if there are any (there won't be if you're starting fresh).

Dynamic filtering

If you are running uBO with the 'I am an advanced user' option enabled in order to activate dynamic filtering, i recommend setting the following rules in the 'Global rules' column of the popup interface:

uBlock Origin - suggested dynamic rules

Setting the 'images' item to gray (noop) will allow all images everywhere, but still subject them to the static filter lists which may remove some annoying ones. All of the rest you should set to red to block these resources globally, then allow them (noop/gray) as needed per domain in the local rules column.

Revisions

Click to expand...

24-Oct-2020

  • fixed formatting and made minor change to the 'My rules tab settings' section
  • added missing settings for 'images' and '3rd-party' rules
  • rewrote the 'Dynamic filtering' section
  • minor edits

23-Oct-2020

  • edited information regarding remote fonts
  • added a footnote for the 'Disable JavaScript' setting
  • reversed order of change log items (newest first)
  • minor edits

5-Sep-2020

  • updated the information for the behind-the-scenes rules\

30-Aug-2020

  • updated 'Filter Lists tab settings' section - credit to reader '512Kb' for reminding me :)
  • removed link: Blocking Web Fonts for Speed and Privacy | InfoSec

26-Jul-2020

  • minor edit: expanded instructions for adding LocalCDN rules to uBO

5-Jul-2020

  • edited unclear/incorrect information
  • added a 4th column to the 'Settings tab' section for advanced users not following either of my guides and using uBlock Origin without uMatrix
  • misc. minor edits

4-Jul-2020

  • minor edits

1-Jul-2020

  • corrected an error in the 'My rules tab settings' section - thanks to commenter 'Hash' for notifying me

6-Jun-2020

  • removed information regarding the CSP (Content Security Policy) issue since this is fixed with Firefox v77

2-May-2020

  • replaced reference to Decentraleyes with LocalCDN and added additional information

24-Apr-2020

  • changed 'I am an advanced user' setting from 'enabled' to 'disabled' for the 'Advanced guide settings' - i don't know why i ever had this set to 'enabled', especially for those using uMatrix, which is the case in the advanced guide
  • removed filter lists no longer included with newest version of uBO - thanks to 'theltalpha'
  • minor edits

24-Mar-2020

  • removed Adblock Warning Removal List (thank you 'someone')

7-Jan-2020

  • updated filter list settings
  • minor edits

1-Dec-2019

  • removed cnameAliasList from uBO settings (depreciated)
  • minor edits

22-Nov-2019

  • changed value of suspendTabsUntilReady from true to yes
  • separated settings according the Firefox guide being followed
  • added a table of contents
  • misc. edits

20-Nov-2019

  • added info regarding cnameAliasList option

6-Nov-2019

  • article first published

Comments

Note that both reader and my comments, while they may have been accurate at the time, might be inaccurate today. This is a highly dynamic environment so please verify the accuracy of comment content should you wish to utilize it. Failing that, ask me and i'll give it a crack.

69 thoughts on “uBlock Origin Suggested Settings”

  1. Hello. I tried looking at the uBO wiki but couldn’t find an answer (at least in plain view, I’m still a newbie) so I ask you: what does “no-large-media: behind-the-scene true” do and should I set it to true if I have the “Block media elements larger than …” option enabled?
    Thank you and keep up the good work.

    1. from the wiki…

      Behind the scene network requests

      This wiki page is out of date and in need of revision. When this documentation was created, the behind-the-scene network requests uBlock Origin was able to see and filter originated from many places, such as those from other extensions or from various browser operations (ex.: real-time search suggestions).

      Since then things have changed: uBO no longer can see network requests from other extensions, and behind-the-scene network requests are now quite less frequent. Furthermore, the webRequest API now provides more context to event listeners, such that it is often possible to still filter properly even when it’s not possible to know from which exact tab a network request originates.

      Because of this (and other reasons which will eventually come to light – the “Who Left Open The Cookie Jar?” vulnerability), starting with uBO 1.15.20, the behind-the-scene scope will no longer be on the Trusted sites list by default, meaning network requests from the behind-the-scene scope will be subject to filtering by default.

      […]

      The filtering of behind-the-scene network request is available to advanced users.

      What are behind-the-scene network requests

      Behind-the-scene network requests are network requests which uBlock cannot associate with a specific tab in your browser: these requests come from somewhere, but uBlock is missing information to report exactly from where.

      All network requests without a specific origin are classified as behind-the-scene.

      i’m really not sure how to advise regarding this setting – i have it set to ‘false’ for potentially less breakage, but that may not be necessary

      behind-the-scene stuff is, as it says, requests that uBO can’t associate with a tab (doesn’t know where the request originated) – the ‘Block media elements larger than’ option is for media elements that CAN be associated with a tab – this sets the default for the per-site switch on the main pop-up, ‘click to block large media elements for this site’ – so if you don’t want media elements larger than ‘x’ to be loaded for a given site, you can specify a size and then use the per-site switch

      personalty, i wouldn’t bother unless you need to conserve bandwidth – most all this stuff will be blocked by default anyway if you have blocked JS globally (which you should) – then you can allow JS per-site or certain JS (such as for youtube) globally

      also see…

      No large media elements

      1. Actually I have it enabled not for bandwidth saving but because I have an 11 years old laptop running Win7 (can’t install a Linux distro on it thanks to the graphic chip…) with only 4gb of ram and I thought that would help in terms of performance. Dunno if this assumption is correct though.
        I guess I’ll have to start getting used to disable js and whitelist sites I uses regularly.

        Another thing: I dumped LocalCDN because I read it’s basically redundant with the arkenfox user.js (and also because like I said the less stuff I have installed the better) but I noticed I have to whitelist a lot more stuff in uBO now to make sites work (Cloudfare mostly), so do you think I should go back to it or keep whitelisting them as I use said sites?

        1. Linux is great for older machines i’ve heard (over and over) – as far as the graphic chip, you *should* be able to use the open source driver at least

          i don’t think (really not sure though) blocking large media will help performance wise, but pages with large media might load faster

          > I dumped LocalCDN because I read it’s basically redundant with the arkenfox user.js …

          true, but sites relying on CDNs will likely take a bit longer to load since that content is no longer loaded locally

          > … do you think I should go back to it or keep whitelisting them as I use said sites?

          totally up to you – personally i still use LocalCDN for speed reasons and because i don’t think the redundant privacy hurts anything

          1. I reinstalled LocalCDN after all and started getting used to hard blocking mode + JS disabled, it’s actually pretty comfy, pages finally load faster. Sure, the ‘My rules’ panel is loaded with lines now but it can’t be helped I guess.

            Off-topic:

            >Linux is great for older machines i’ve heard (over and over) – as far as the graphic chip, you *should* be able to use the open source driver at least

            I know, I have an even older netbook with Bunsenlabs on it and it goes like a true champ. Unfortunately the laptop I use regularly (and has a bigger screen too) is “infected” with the SiS Mirage 3+ 672 graphic chip and the 2 solutions I found (1: https://gist.github.com/fevangelou/46a2885233c45011ad5c8752f18eac73 , 2: https://linux-sis-driver.weebly.com/linux-ubuntu-distros-and-the-infamous-sis-chips/linux-driver-for-infamous-sis-671-672-771-772-717) don’t work no matter how many times I try… Oh well.

            1. > JS disabled, it’s actually pretty comfy, pages finally load faster.

              sure do, also most tracking and fingerprinting (and malware, pop-ups, etc.) require JS

              so you’re using uBO without uMatrix i take it?

              1. >sure do, also most tracking and fingerprinting (and malware, pop-ups, etc.) require JS

                Well they load faster because there’s nothing left to load most of the times, hahaha

                >so you’re using uBO without uMatrix i take it?

                Yeah, I’m still at the stage of constantly learning how to use uBO properly. Also from the little I’ve read uBO can actually do a fair amount of the things uM does, so I feel comfortable using just one right now.

                A question: have you ever thought of making a uMatrix setup guide just like this one? I know you basically already did in the Freaks Firefox guide but having a separate one would be nice.

                1. > uBO can actually do a fair amount of the things uM does

                  it can, but if you want granular control uM is easier to work with IMO – actually i think it’s easier period, but it might be a good thing if you stuck with uBO for a bit and learned how to use it well – the wiki is a great resource and it actually covers some stuff that’s missing in the uM wiki

                  > have you ever thought of making a uMatrix setup guide…

                  i recommend uM in the advanced guide only, so no – i broke out the uBO guide from both config guides only because a lot of the stuff was redundant and i got tired of having to edit both guides every time i changed stuff for uBO in one of them

                  1. Fair enough.

                    Last question: what’s the rationale you used on selecting these Filter lists? For example, the uBO wiki recommends the “Peter Lowe’s Ad and tracking server list” enabled for medium blocking mode and higher but you have it disabled in your guide?

                    1. that’s a hosts file list and they can be problematic for some reason – this is even discussed in one of the wiki’s i think – my choices are based on my experiences and pretty much never give me any trouble

  2. Hi!

    I did scan my ~/home dirrectory with clamscan and it find:
    extensions/uBlock0@raymondhill.net.xpi: Urlhaus.Malware.191095-8836388-0 FOUND

    I did remove uBO, clean everything and was okay. After add uBO back there is the same find.

    Thank you.

    1. as long as you downloaded uBO from AMO or github, i’m sure you can ignore that – it’s almost certainly a false-positive

      also i’m not sure that clam is worth using on a Linux system – at least i was told it wasn’t from people more knowledgeable than myself

      i would also highly recommend NOT using any of the big name A/V’s on Linux either since they essentially are malware, and potentially very dangerous

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