Speeding up web browsing

In order to speed up my web browsing experience, I disable Flash in Internet Explorer. I've got nothing personal against Flash, mind you, but it's generally chrome. It's visually (and sometimes audibly) distracting, and it adds download time to each page view.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/09/speeding-up-web-browsing.html

IMHO one should use Firefox instead of IE for many reasons. One of the best reasons is the Adblock plugin, which allows you to selectively disable content from any site. With Adblock you can block Flash (or anything else) from ad serving sites, without disabling all Flash. Adblock effectively disables all chrome - images, Flash, javascript, you name it - without disabling good stuff.

One negative effect of not downloading ads is that the site’s owner gets no revenue while you do get his/hers content. So if nobody would download ads, some sites might start to demand money before you’re able to get the content.

I use Avant Browser for my day to day surfing. It’s a custom shell that adds features and functionalities to Internet Explorer, for instance optional Flash/Ads/ActiveX/Script-blocking. It has been around for long now, so it’s very stable, very configurable, and since it’s using the IE engine, all pages display as expected. Best of all, it’s donation-ware (try it, and if you like it, donate an amount you can afford).

a href="http://www.avantbrowser.com"http://www.avantbrowser.com/a

I’ve been very pleased with AdShield which blocks unwanted content, web bugs, images, etc. in IE.


It is similar, to AdBlock for FireFox.

I’m affiliated with AdShield only in that I used to work with the author of the product and I am a happy user of it.

I second the adBlock and fireFox recommendation.

I frequently block "a href=“http://someDomain.com/.swf"http://someDomain.com/.swf”/a and it works beautifully.

SP@…XP, right? That probably explains it. I’m using IE6 but the About screen shows SP1 plus a bunch of individual updates. I’m also using a 2000 Pro box at work (where I am now) and I know that I’m current with Windows Updates. I’m guessing that if I were using IE6 on XP with SP2, then I’d see the menu. I’ll have to check for it when I get home…just never noticed it before.

Thanks for the info!

For the most part, I tend to use Firefox. However, for your above example you refer to a “Tools Manage Add-ons” menu…is this IE7?

No, that’s in IE6, it came with SP2.

One negative effect of not downloading ads is that the site’s owner gets no revenue while you do get his/hers content.

Simply downloading the ad doesn’t result in revenue, does it? You have to actually CLICK on it to generate revenue for the site.

Of course if nothing shows up, there’s no way to click on anything so it’s kind of a moot point.

My goal isn’t really to get rid of ads. It’s the images/flash that I don’t want. I’d be fine with textual fallback ads like google adsense.

There is an explicit Flashblock extension for Firefox.


It has a play button as well, in case you really do want to see the flash.

Out of curiousity (I know this is a big 2 year bump)…but does anyone know what kind of performance implications are there with having a hosts file that big? Does the file get loaded and cached in memory when the os loads?

dunno about any slowdowns other than at the time you place/edit the hosts file. Occasionally I’ll edit one of the large ones by hand and W2K SP4 will slow to a crawl. Haven’t noticed that as much on XP SP2.

I used a group policy to blast out the large hosts file to about 50 PCs and I haven’t had any complaints about it.