JavaScript Off

I’ve been browsing the web with JavaScript off by default lately.

I find it both great and sad at the same time. It’s great because the cookie banners are a rarity (I also browse with cookies off with a few exceptions), newsletter popups are no more, and most sites load FAST. And a lot of sites, with a growing number of exceptions in a JavaScript-powered world, still work well without JavaScript, minus a few menus and images/font delivery.

It’s sad because the web has gotten so cluttered with JavaScript garbage I feel that I am forced to turn off JavaScript to get anything usable.

Adblockers alone don’t cut it anymore, detectors are too widespread and I find myself playing whackamole with frankly offensive popups demanding my email address, my deactivation of my adblocker, or telling me I only have 1 article left to read (I try not to visit those sites).

Yes, I still have to enable JavaScript for a lot of sites. The difference is, it’s my choice, and the irresponsible ones don’t get to throw popups at me and change the page when they want to.

If you would like to experiment with browsing the web with JavaScript disabled by default, uBlock Origin is a great option for most browsers (except Safari). Just hold down Ctrl and click the script icon in the uBO menu when you are on a site you want to permanently enable JS for.

Other alternatives include Brave, which actually has a great built-in menu which you can manage per-site scripts. Brave is filled with crypto-coin ‘features’ and some sponsored content though, it will take a few minutes to disable all the cruft.

On Safari you are left with the nuclear option - you can only disable JavaScript globally.