uBlock Origin pop-up interface
|Original author(s)||Raymond Hill (gorhill)|
Deathamns, Chris Aljoudi, Alex Vallat
|Initial release||23 June 2014|
1.17.0 / September 23, 2018
|Available in||18 languages|
Microsoft Edge extension
uBlock Origin ( "you-block") is a free and open-source, cross-platform browser extension for content-filtering, including ad-blocking. The extension is available for several browsers: Safari (beta), Chrome, Chromium, Edge, Firefox, and Opera. uBlock Origin has received praise from technology websites, and is reported to be much less memory-intensive than other extensions with similar functionality. uBlock Origin's stated purpose is to give users the means to enforce their own (content-filtering) choices.
As of 2018, uBlock Origin continues to be actively developed and maintained by founder and lead developer Raymond Hill.
uBlock Origin was initially named "?Block". The name was later changed to "uBlock" to avoid confusion as to how the Greek letter 'µ' (Mu/Micro) in "µBlock" should be pronounced. Development started forking from the codebase of HTTP Switchboard along with another blocking extension called uMatrix, designed for advanced users. uBlock Origin was developed to leverage community-maintained block lists, while adding features and raising the code quality to release standards. First released in June 2014 as a Chrome and Opera extension, by winter of 2015, the extension had expanded to alternative browsers.
Through April and May 2015, the uBlock project was forked by Chris Aljoudi, while uBlock Origin reflected the continuing effort by the original developer Raymond Hill. Since April 2015, uBlock Origin has been completely unrelated to the web site ublock.org.
Raymond Hill, the founder and original author of uBlock, continues to work on the extension under the name uBlock Origin, sometimes stylized as uBlock?. As of January 2018, the uBlock Origin Chrome extension has more than 10 million active users, and the Firefox version has more than 5 million active users.
A joint Sourcepoint and comScore survey reported an 833% growth rate over a ten-month tracking period ending in August 2015, the strongest growth of software listed. The report attributed the growth to the desire of users for pure blockers outside the "acceptable advertising" program.
Nik Rolls officially released uBlock Origin for the Microsoft Edge browser on December 11, 2016.
The project specifically refuses donations.
Shortly after the project division, Chris Aljoudi created ublock.org to host uBlock, promote the extension and request donations. In response, uBlock founder Raymond Hill stated that "the donations sought by ublock.org are not benefiting any of those who contributed most to create uBlock Origin."
Prior to the division, Safari and Firefox support was publicly introduced with versions 0.8.5.4 and 0.8.5.5 by the developer "Deathamns" who since left the project along with founder Raymond Hill. Firefox responsibility was transferred to developer Alex Vallat at Hill's request. Vallat has subsequently contributed code to uBlock Origin as well.
uBlock Origin and uBlock support the majority of Adblock Plus's filter syntax. The popular filter lists EasyList and EasyPrivacy are enabled as default subscriptions. The extensions are capable of importing hosts files, and a number of community-maintained lists are available at installation. Among the host files available, Peter Lowe's Ad servers list and Malware Domains are also enabled as default. Some additional features include dynamic filtering of scripts and iframes, and a tool for webpage element hiding. As of version 0.8.7.0, dynamic filtering in uBlock can act as a complete replacement of RequestPolicy, or similar add-ons.
uBlock Origin includes a growing list of features not available in uBlock, including a new mode to assist those with color vision deficiency, a new dynamic URL filtering feature, new logging functionality and interface enhancements including a DOM inspector, new privacy-oriented options to block link prefetching, hyperlink auditing, and IP address leaks via WebRTC (uBO-Extra is required to block WebRTC connections in Chromium). Site-specific switches to toggle the blocking of pop-ups, strict domain blocking, cosmetic filtering and blocking remote fonts were also added in recent releases of uBlock Origin. The Firefox version of uBlock Origin has an extra feature which helps to foil attempts by web sites to circumvent blockers.
Technology websites and user reviews for uBlock Origin have regarded the extension as less resource intensive than extensions that provide similar feature sets such as Adblock Plus. A benchmark test, conducted in August 2015 with ten blocking extensions, showed uBlock Origin as the most resource efficient among extensions tested.
uBlock Origin surveys what style resources are required for an individual web page rather than reliance on a universal style sheet. The extension takes a snapshot of the filters the user has enabled. This contributes to accelerated browser start-up speed when compared to retrieving filters from cache every time.