Close annoying website overlays in Chrome and Firefox

Martin Brinkmann
May 25, 2017
Updated • May 25, 2017

BehindTheOverlay is a browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers to close annoying website overlays.

HTML5 Overlays are the new popups, they have been for quite some time now. They are used on a lot of sites to throw newsletter signup forms or special offers on the screen.

What makes them problematic is that they block access to the underlying page. Most come with close buttons in one form or another, but some make it mandatory to interact with the overlay, usually by entering an email address or other information, before the page can be accessed.

Most popup blockers, those integrated in web browsers and those offered as browser extensions, don't block these overlays.


close website overlays

BehindTheOverlay is not an automated solution, but it is the next best thing. It adds an option to Chrome that allows you to close overlays that are displayed on the screen with a click on its icon, or by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-X.

The extension works similarly to Overlay Blocker, a Chrome extension that is available as a free and paid version.

A quick test on a dozen or so sites that throw these annoying website overlays at you showed that BehindTheOverlay managed to identify and remove them all.

I cannot vouch that it will do so for all incarnations of these overlays, but it has a great track record on the system I tried it on.

The browser add-on is available for Firefox and Chrome. The Firefox version is not yet a WebExtension, and it is unclear whether it will be made into one. This could mean that the extension will stop working when Firefox 57 gets released.

Update: A fork, called Behind the Overlay Revival, has been created which is a WebExtension and will work in Firefox 57 and newer versions.

It would not be too difficult however to port the Chrome WebExtension to the Firefox web browser to add the functionality again to it. The Chrome extension itself works in Firefox already. You need to use Chrome Store Foxified to download the Chrome extension and install it in the Firefox web browser. It works exactly like the Firefox legacy add-on from this point forward.

Closing Words

BehindTheOverlay is a useful browser add-on, especially if you happen to visit sites regularly that throw these overlay popups at you when you visit them. While automation would be more useful, it is not too difficult to click on the extension icon or use the shortcut to close the overlay. Again, this may not work on some website overlays, but it should work on most right now.

Downside is that the add-on is from 2014, and that it has not been updated since. This means that it may not be able to deal with new overlay technologies that were introduced after the release.

Extensions like uBlock Origin may assist you in dealing with overlays permanently. You can check out our guide on removing elements on websites permanently in uBlock Origin to find out how that is done.

Now You: Do you encounter website overlays regularly? How do you deal with them?

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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