Opera browser and Opera GX are not blocking ads on YouTube

Many Opera browser and Opera GX users have reported that the program is not blocking ads on YouTube. Just to be clear, we are talking about the browser's built-in ad blocking option and not add-ons.

The complaints state that the browser allows the ads on the video streaming service, even when the adblocker's default lists are enabled. A little searching reveals that this has been a recurring issue in the browser, and for quite some time too. I have been using both browsers for a week, because I wanted to confirm whether the issue exists, it is real and slightly complicated. The browser blocked ads on all other sites that I visited, but when it came to YouTube videos, it allowed the ads to play.

Opera browser and Opera GX are not blocking ads on YouTube

Opera GX does not allow all three of its default blocker lists to be unchecked, you can only disable 2 of the three, which seems a little odd because I wanted to use custom lists to rule out issues with the default ones

Opera browser and Opera GX adblocker lists.

So I stuck to the default lists and used the browser primarily to watch videos. Opera GX doesn't seem to block 9 out of 10 ads. When I kept switching through videos in a large playlist, nearly every single video had an ad, but some didn't. This made me wonder whether it depends on the channel that has uploaded the video, because the ones without ads were from specific channels, and these were mostly big brand channels who were probably in it for the marketing, and not the monetization part.

I also noticed that if I kept watching videos for a while, I wouldn't get the ads until I exited the browser and came back. But this seemed completely random, one day it would work, the next day it didn't.

You may have noticed that I mentioned Opera GX so far. While ad-blocking in GX failed completely, the tests with regular Opera browser were a bit weirder. Some days it failed to block ads, sometimes it would load the ad and skip it in a split-second, sometimes I didn't get ads at all. And all these were with the block ads and block trackers options enabled.

Back to the issues with Opera, there is no explanation from the developers, even though an official thread (created by a moderator) exists at the browser's forums. The consensus among Opera GX users seems to be that something has changed on YouTube's end, which prevents the browser from blocking the ads. Well if that was true, then no ad-blocker should work, right? I use Firefox and Edge regularly every day, and also have Vivaldi and Brave on my computer, just to keep an eye on new features and changes. None of these browsers have an issue blocking ads on YouTube. One tech-savvy user on reddit mentioned that Opera's ad blocker is generic and that it does not work with YouTube's  script, specifically the Polymer framework.

That brings us to one of two workarounds for the issue. The easier way to fix the YouTube ad blocking problem on Opera is to just use an extension like uBlock Origin. This may seem like a no-brainer to experienced users, but there are a lot of people who don't know about the popular ad-blocking add-on. You can find the extension on the Opera Addons store and the Chrome Webstore. Install it, and it will take care of the problem for you.

The other way, is to add custom filter lists, which can be useful for people who don't want to install extensions, but want to block more ads. The uBlockOrigins uAssets Git Repo has a bunch of filters that you can add. Just copy the URL of each list, and paste it in the custom lists section of Opera's settings.

Let's hope Opera fixes this problem.

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Opera browser and Opera GX are not blocking ads on YouTube
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Opera browser and Opera GX are not blocking ads on YouTube
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Opera browser and Opera GX are not blocking ads on YouTube. The best solution is to install a third-party ad blocking extension such as uBlock Origin.
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Comments

  1. Poofta said on May 20, 2021 at 8:00 am
    Reply

    Aaaaaaand just like that, the main reason to use this browser is gone.

    1. Dumbledalf said on May 20, 2021 at 8:51 am
      Reply

      Opera had one thing over all other Chromium browsers – speed – it would load websites aggressively and it really made browsing and almost instantaneous and pleasant experience. But they ruined the browser:

      – now owned by a Chinese company
      – bloated with stuff like facebook or whatsapp
      – UI gets worse and worse and what made Presto Opera what it was – customization is not on the list of goals for this Opera
      – Opera GX is an useless joke

  2. FanboyNZ said on May 20, 2021 at 10:01 am
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    Unless Opera supports JS snippets, then manually adding uBlock assets won’t do much to counter Youtube ads.

  3. Steve said on May 20, 2021 at 10:02 am
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    I once installed it out of stupidity. Ok, to be fair to myself, it was because once upon a time I had a Nokia 6131 and Opera was the only browser for it. However, as a desktop app, it was like cancer. It had a sneaking loader app, and it wanted to access, modify a ton of registry entries to work.

  4. uBlock-user said on May 20, 2021 at 10:27 am
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    > The uBlockOrigins uAssets Git Repo has a bunch of filters that you can add. Just copy the URL of each list, and paste it in the custom lists section of Opera’s settings.

    Ashwin, please remove this ill advice, uBlock Origin’s lists are NOT meant to be used by any generic blocker, they make use of uBO syntax which is not supported by generic blockers and it will either break sites or result in un-defined behaviour.

  5. Lemegeton said on May 20, 2021 at 10:44 am
    Reply

    To the discussion:
    not many people know or have noticed, but in addition to the section with subscriptions (“manage lists”) of the built-in adblocker, Opera also has “white lists” section – resources on which ads are always shown (ignores built-in adblock). These lists include, for example, Facebook and other sites that are obviously partners in Opera’s monetizing. And these whitelists, even if you clear them, are sometimes replenished again (most often it happens with version updates, but it seems that not only).
    So you have to understand that the built-in ad blocker is made on purpose so that some of the ads are shown.

    P.P.S.
    > “You can find the extension on the Opera Addons store and the Chrome Webstore. Install it, and it will take care of the problem for you.”
    Also keep in mind that extensions (including uBlock Origin) in Opera Addons are often updated with a significant delay (even if the developers launch the publication on the same day).
    For example, right now uBlock Origin is several versions behind the version in the Chrome Store.

    P.S. Also, you cannot change the default search engine to any other search engine besides the ones in the predefined list (You can add more search engines, but you can’t set them as the default search engine).

    In general, for those who are concerned about privacy in browsers and when navigating the Internet, I would not recommend using Opera.

    1. Lernin Sterlin said on May 20, 2021 at 3:54 pm
      Reply

      Even uBlock has to whitelist stuff, some trackers and all that so the websites don’t get broken too much.
      I mean, it would be cool if you could just block everything and move on, but that’s not how it works on the web where some stuff depends on others if not website will not work, especially in multibillion companies that hope they will be able to force people to give them information one way or the other even if it is minimal.

      The reason the ads are not being blocked is because youtube, owned by an adcompany like Google, will fight adblockers and implement ways of forcing ads on people, just look what Twitch tries to do to people.
      The problem is Opera as others, have a crappy adblocker and don’t work on it but only hope pushing filtering lists will do everything, so people using these built-in “protections” deserve what they get, like no fingerprinting protection, crappy adblocking protection, no c-name filtering protection, no way to use heavy custom filtering to refine everything, etc etc. I mean, uBlock exists but the problem is what will happen when manifest v3 gets pushed? that will be the problem with these browsers and their built in adblockers.

      Opera has cool features anyway, if they weren’t owned by Chinese I would probably use them more, I only use the proxy feature (vpn they call it), just so I check some websites, because with my firewall I am only allowing the IPs that use the “vpn” feature. I block everything else, included all the Google IPs that get connected when you start Opera. But of course, most chromium browsers even if they promote privacy like Vivaldi don’t do anything about the Google IPs and then google gets your information either way.
      I guess that’s the reality about most Chromium browsers, it is now either Google or Microsoft IPs with Edge, but Opera, Vivaldi, and others do so little to “protect you” and really give you any privacy.
      Opera of course, doesn’t connect to any Chinese IP, but you never know what happens with your information when it hits the European servers that are not even in Norway.

      Yeah I can’t trust Opera but to be honest, I would use Opera more and not only for the vpn feature for couple websites, if I wasn’t using Brave. At least Opera doesn’t get political like other browser companies, so at least I will not get BS pushed when I am only trying to browse the web and do my stuff.

      1. Lemegeton said on May 21, 2021 at 8:46 am
        Reply

        @Lernin Sterlin
        > “Even uBlock has to whitelist stuff, some trackers and all that so the websites don’t get broken too much.
        I mean, it would be cool if you could just block everything and move on, but that’s not how it works on the web where some stuff depends on others if not website will not work, especially in multibillion companies that hope they will be able to force people to give them information one way or the other even if it is minimal.”

        Empty and meaningless pounding on the keyboard.
        Once again, they have whitelisted (excluded from adblocking) entire sites, such as Facebook. This has nothing to do with technical problems, but solely with how (from whom) Opera gets its money.

    1. Steve said on May 20, 2021 at 12:57 pm
      Reply

      I deal with YT shit using my own solution: a userscript that kills, clicks or skip ads, buttons and notices.

    2. FanboyNZ said on May 20, 2021 at 1:39 pm
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      Yes Ryuk, recently Youtube has been testing new ad insertion methods recently. Which is what I’ve been trying fix/debug. Currently, mostly sorted. The difference here is Opera is lacking js snippet features common to uBO and Brave, so until it’s implemented they’ll need use an extension or use a better browser :)

      /FanboyNZ
      Easylist, Brave Webcompat.

      1. ryuk said on May 20, 2021 at 11:41 pm
        Reply

        It’s the Ad Slayer himself! :)

        Thanks man, I admire and appreciate your work, keep it up!

      2. Ipnonymous said on May 28, 2021 at 12:01 am
        Reply

        Just want to say thank you for the amazing services which enable for “millions” an enjoyable web web based experience. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! Fanboy and gorhill

  6. Kerl Mex said on May 20, 2021 at 3:39 pm
    Reply

    and ad company working to fight adblockers? who would have thought /s
    Well, yeah, that’s what they do, just like amazon does it in Twitch, where the purple screen will popup saying how you are using a 3rd party tool so you can’t watch anything.

    And yes, even Brave has suffered this and they have been trying to fix it, and they also use whatever trick uBlock implements to block ads, unlike Opera or vivaldi or probably even Microsoft, that implemented a basic “adblocker” in their browsers and only hope the filtering lists will eventually fix the issue, they don’t do any R&D about adblocking, fingerprinting protection or anything, I guess they only depend on uBlock and other extensions to really do the job, but then you will have to hope they don’t implement manifestv3 if not they will have to either, work on the adblocker like uBlock and Brave and others do, or those browsers will block less and less.

    About youtube, I can’t say I care much anyway even if Brave supposedly displays ads still today (I am using nightly so the adblocking component gets updated without me forcing it) I use youtube-dl with my videoplayer so I get better performance than using a browser and don’t have to deal with all these dumb ads and if ads get implemented like on Twitch, for example, streamlink will filter the ads and then start playing the video.

    1. Lemegeton said on May 21, 2021 at 8:55 am
      Reply

      @Kerl Mex
      > “unlike Opera or vivaldi or probably even Microsoft, that implemented a basic “adblocker” in their browsers and only hope the filtering lists will eventually fix the issue”

      Vivaldi’s ad blocker runs on the uBlock Origin “engine” (in fact, it actually has uBlock Origin built-in, just with a simplified interface). A lazy but effective (for now) solution (although I would like something written in native code and working at engine level (Blink)).

      1. Mike W. said on May 22, 2021 at 3:55 am
        Reply

        @Lemegeton

        What are you basing the assertion that the Vivaldi blocker is built on uBlock Origin? I have seen no evidence of this and in fact, many uBlock Origin specific filters will not work properly with the built-in Vivaldi content blocker. The Vivaldi blocker is just a generic blocker like the built-in one in Opera.

      2. Lemegeton said on May 24, 2021 at 10:43 am
        Reply

        @Mike W.
        You can find uBO’s compacted code inside Vivaldi’s folder (along with his license). Requires a little digging and understanding of what to look for.

      3. Mike W. said on May 25, 2021 at 3:16 am
        Reply

        @Lemegeton
        That is strange because if the Vivaldi blocker is built on uBlock Origin it performs quite differently than uBlock.

        For instance, uBlock is able to prevent redundant filters from being used, whereas Vivaldi cannot do that. Vivaldi also does not seem as reliable or powerful as uBlock in cosmetic filtering prowess. For example, load the verge homepage with uBlock w/ annoyances filter activated and you will not encounter an anti-Adblock notification on the top of the homepage. Load that same page with Vivaldi and you do encounter that even with Fanboys/uBlock annoyances activate. That leads me to believe the Vivaldi devs may have used some of the uBlock code when building the built-in content blocker, but that it is not a complete copy of uBlock.

  7. Tom Hawack said on May 20, 2021 at 6:23 pm
    Reply

    My approach regarding browsers’ ad-blocking is,

    1- Don’t rely on a browser’s native ad-blocker;
    2- Avoid browsers that interfere in your ad-blocking settings;
    3- Choose an independent ad-blocker, OS-wide and/or as a browser extension.

    Generally speaking, as on a ship, as in a submarine, adopt the compartment approach, don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. That’ll allow you to make the omelette should the ship be torpedoed.

    1. bawldiggle said on May 21, 2021 at 5:35 am
      Reply

      @ Tom Hawack
      > 2- Avoid browsers that interfere in your ad-blocking settings;

      Some names and even links would be handy.

  8. David said on May 20, 2021 at 9:32 pm
    Reply

    A strange company. Even when it was not Chinese-owned it would create a “concept” browser and then shortly abandon it. It had/has quirky bookmarks, resolutely refuses to provide a Home button, and (now that it is Chrome based) still has more than the occasional compatibility issue with Chrome extensions. Their “free VPN” option turned out to be not all that secure, and now this apparent failure/self-sabotage of their own ad-blocking has sealed their doom. Opera is destined to eventually join Mosaic, Netscape Navigator, Pale Moon, Konqueror, Ice Dragon, Camino, Flock, Internet Explorer and countless others in the dustbin of history. Where it will be missed about as much as the aforementioned.

    1. bawldiggle said on May 21, 2021 at 5:38 am
      Reply

      @ David,
      So … which browsers, if any, would you recommend ?

    2. Peterc said on May 22, 2021 at 11:44 pm
      Reply

      @David:

      As a matter of policy, Pale Moon doesn’t natively support DRM (just via plug-ins like Silverlight), and it is facing challenges posed by sloppy multi-process coding practices (specifically, failing to properly mark garbage for collection on the assumption that a tab’s *entire process* will eventually be killed before the browsing session is ended, aka the baby-with-the-bathwater approach).

      But I wouldn’t necessarily write Pale Moon off just yet. It’s been seeing a new flurry of forked legacy-Firefox extensions and a somewhat slower growth in original extensions. I can still use it for 99% of my browsing and am still more productive in it than in other browsers.

      The biggest source of problems for me, *by far*, is YouTube, in the form of memory leaks, which I ascribe to the aforementioned baby-with-the-bathwater problem and to Google’s continually evolving efforts to defeat adblocking. Even so, with uBlock Origin and a decent complement of filter subscriptions, I literally can’t remember the last time I saw an injected YouTube ad. I haven’t been able to eliminate YouTube memory leaks entirely, but I *can* zap them before the orphaned zombie garbage they contain starts causing hangs, by restarting the browser one or twice a day with the click of a button. It’s mildly inconvenient, but not enough to cause me to jump ship just yet.

      I think a lot of “modern” browser users have forgotten (1) that they should expect privacy out of the box, without having to make and verify a lot of tweaks on a recurring basis, and (2) just how useful unneutered, full-powered extensions can be. But different strokes for different folks…

  9. ULBoom said on May 21, 2021 at 1:46 am
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    So, if some lists are added to Opera’s custom options, ads are blocked. Seems Opera could fix this in a hour. Good AdBlockers constantly update to address changes. If they’re really about blocking ads.

    I use a system level ad blocker, browser independent. The erratic ad blocking behavior is something I’ve seen with browsers that have been installed for a long time, about year, maybe and just updated. A full uninstall/reinstall (search for remnants after running uninstallers, profile backups can be locked and need to be removed folder by folder) with a new profile always fixes the issue. But what a pain to do!

    1. ShintoPlasm said on May 21, 2021 at 9:17 am
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      @ULBoom:

      Ashwin’s advice here is misguided, unfortunately. Opera’s adblocker is very basic and does NOT support uBlock’s specific syntax so the advice won’t help you. Browsers’ native adblockers are currently a hodgepodge: Brave and Vivaldi are probably the best of the bunch yet even they struggle with YouTube ads. Edge’s is not even a full-fledged adblocker. So the best advice remains: use uBlockO or AdGuard’s browser extension instead of native solutions.

  10. Anonymous said on May 21, 2021 at 2:32 am
    Reply

    I’m using uBO with other browsers and noticed that they no longer block ads.

    It’s just like the other person said, this is not only Opera’s problem. I wonder if the writer has a grudge with Opera?

    1. ShintoPlasm said on May 21, 2021 at 9:17 am
      Reply

      Maybe it’s Ashwin’s main browser and that’s where he noticed it first?

      1. Anonymous said on May 22, 2021 at 8:19 am
        Reply

        Well as a journalist shouldn’t he have done a research first? Now people are talking about this in uBO subreddit and he doesn’t even remove this article or make clarification.

      2. Anonymous said on May 23, 2021 at 10:26 am
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        I don’t see ads on youtube with ublock origin in Firefox nor anywhere else unless the site is
        whitelisted.

      3. Anonymous said on May 24, 2021 at 3:01 am
        Reply

        Some people are experiencing it, some are not. Firefox is affected too.

        This is top post in uBO subreddit
        https://old.reddit.com/r/uBlockOrigin/comments/nhy0rc/why_am_i_getting_youtube_ads/

  11. ryuk said on May 26, 2021 at 12:11 pm
    Reply

    To see how gross and greedy Google/Youtube is just take a look at this topic…

    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27281990

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