LibRedirect loads privacy-friendly sites automatically when you load YouTube, Search, TikTok and other sites

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 16, 2022
Firefox add-ons, Microsoft Edge
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23

LibRedirect is an open source browser extension for Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge. It is designed to redirect the loading of popular destinations on the Internet automatically to privacy friendly websites.

libredirect privacy friendly redirects

The extension supports the redirecting of YouTube, YouTube Music, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Imgur, Reddit, Wikipedia, Search, Translate, Medium, Send Files, Pixiv, and Maps. All redirects are enabled by default, but it is up to the user to disable some or change the available redirect targets, if available. YouTube alone has five redirect targets to choose from.

Redirecting requests to privacy-friendly alternatives improves user privacy. Extensions like LibRedirect, or the recently reviewed Privacy Redirects, automate the process. While it is possible to load alternatives manually, it is not a solution when clicking on links or encountering embedded content on websites.

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The extension is provided for Firefox and for Microsoft Edge officially. A Chromium crx extension file is provided on the project's GitHub page, but it may be difficult to load it in certain Chromium-based browsers as it is not officially available on the Chrome Web Store.

Once installed, LibRedirect works automatically. A click on a Twitter, Reddit, or Instagram link will open a privacy-friendly alternative instead. New users may want to check out the settings on first run to configure the behavior. Depending on the service, one or multiple redirects are provided. For some, additional options are available.

libredirect preferences youtube

For YouTube alone, users may switch from the default redirection service Invidious to Piped, Freetube or Material. The YouTube configuration is extensive, as it supports redirections for direct links and embeds, and to configure a good dozen video related options such as the preferred video quality, whether comments should be displayed, or whether the playback position should be saved.

Most service preferences have fewer options, but all include an option to run using Tor and a list of default instances, which may be checked individually.

The general settings include an option to create exceptions. Settings may be exported and imported, and there is a button to update the list of instances, as some may no longer be available.

Redirects won't work if the instance is temporarily or permanently down. There is no option to remove the instance directly from the "not found" page; you have to open the preferences, find the instance using the displayed URL and disable it so that it is not used anymore.

Closing words

LibRedirect is a useful extension for Firefox and Microsoft Edge users who use at least one of the services and want it to be redirected to a privacy-friendly alternative. It needs to be noted that the privacy-friendly instances may not support account-related features. The experience is read-only for the most part.

Now You: do you use any of the official services or the redirects?

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LibRedirect
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Comments

  1. i would not trust it said on March 16, 2022 at 9:27 am
    Reply

    IMHO there’s too much among the “privacy” instances: https://github.com/libredirect/libredirect/blob/master/src/instances/data.json

    There should be a single most reputable alternative for each service. Trusting some random website on a low reputation TLD is a recipe for disaster. What if these get hacked/sold to a malicious third part/not extended and taken over? Going to that website with uMatrix/NoScript set to trust it could end in a disaster.

    1. Tom Hawack said on March 16, 2022 at 10:30 am
      Reply

      I basically agree, which is why I’d advise to test redirection instances separately and keep only the ones we consider viable in terms of security and efficiency : from there on check those only in LibRediirect and uncheck all others : this is easily done.

      We see an increasing number of redirection tools — none of which, for those I know and at this time — may inspire a doubt of their honesty. These tools, because developed in a community approach, offer their code to instances which may be or not as honest : hence, caution, testing before giving them rights on redirections, in LibRedirect as well consequently.

      LibRedirect is very flexible : switches everywhere, take/keep accordingly. No explicit/implicit obligations, it’s all up to the user’s choice… and responsibility. You can even add an instance which wouldn’t be provided in LibRedirect, instances which moreover are “updatable”. I mean, really, you can’t ask for more when it comes to respect of users’ choices.

      1. Anonymous said on March 16, 2022 at 5:34 pm
        Reply

        @Tom Hawack

        You might disagree but has a good point, too many instances you don’t know if have modified resources, Searx for example tells you about those, Nitter doesn’t, so you try to find the one that seems to work more stable, gives less trouble and sometimes you might want specific IPs to avoid EU censorship.

        You might think people have all the time to turn off all instances and go to github pages and find the github instances list and then find it on the list and turn it on. Maybe you do, but I guess it would be just as easy to have a list of trusted instances in a notepad and replace the url when necessary.

        I mean, the extension does what it promises it redirects, but when half Nitter instances are useless, then it makes the extension useless of the box and what’s what you don’t understand, only because an instance exist, doesn’t mean it will work, sometimes they work and don’t display any tweet on people’s profile, sometimes they “reach” their max allowed people on them, sometimes they are outdated.
        But then, maybe I just would rather switch instances myself and don’t deal with the extension, it is a nice extension but since I only use 1 or 2 instances (depending if I need a US IP based instance, to avoid censored content) then I guess I would rather do it manually myself and don’t deal with this extension that will redirect so many sites, I will have to check if each site will give a decent instance and not one that will be worst than the Big Tech disease.

        You have a point and the person has a point too, so I guess it is easier not to use this extension than having on, especially on Chromium browsers where you have to sideloaded it or it will eventually stop working apparently (Edge) because of manifest v3.

      2. Tom Hawack said on March 16, 2022 at 9:02 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous, we have developers who have worked to deliver a free application, an extension and I’m often surprised how some of us react as if we were obliged to use it, as if the developer had to bend and implore our agreement. What the heck? Does anyone have to convince anyone else to try, maybe use an application, an extension? It’s up to everyone! What we can do, as users, is to share our experience. Personally I’m not entitled to convince anyone : as you like it, I don’t give a damn!

      3. Tom Hawack said on March 16, 2022 at 11:22 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous, to be a bit more explicit and explain why your approach bothers me :

        > “You might think people have all the time to turn off all instances and go to github pages and find the github instances list and then find it on the list and turn it on. Maybe you do, but I guess it would be just as easy to have a list of trusted instances in a notepad and replace the url when necessary.”

        1- “[…] just as easy to have a list of trusted instances in a notepad and replace the url when necessary.”
        Trusted on what base? Who decides what instances are worthy? Not to mention an instance’s reliability.
        I don’t think it’s the developer’s problem to decide of an instance’s trustworthiness. If he did and a user faced an issue he’d be crucified! Man : the guy does the code, indicates all available instances, then it’s up to you to work a little bit if you think it’s worth it, we always find time when we’re motivated. But asking that everything be brought to you without a minimal effort on your side is surrealistic.

        2- “You might think people have all the time to turn off all instances and go to github pages and find the github instances list and then find it on the list and turn it on.”. Well then, don’t even bother with an extension which may contribute to your privacy if you can’t even consider finding the time to invest a minimum of time and efforts to fine tune, and take your part of responsibility, in choosing instances comform to your aspirations.

        > “[…] so I guess it is easier not to use this extension than having on”
        Easier, certainly. But there’s even easier than that : avoid all privacy related extensions that require a minimum of time and effort to be used optimally.

        What disturbs me are these assisted mentalities that flourish everywhere nowadays, especially stunning with Freeware, mentalities which seem to wait that everything be brought to them, set&go, and if they have to share some time to fine tune then the product is quickly noted as craps. I mean : be res-pon-si-ble.

        That was to explain why I wrote above that I don’t gibe a damn.

    2. ark48 said on March 16, 2022 at 10:55 am
      Reply

      @i would not trust it

      Precisely among the sites is kavin.rocks, which for a while its instance of invidious and bibliogram did rickrolling.

    3. LibRedirect said on March 16, 2022 at 11:57 am
      Reply

      All the listed instances are fetched from the official lists of every service/frontend. Ex, invidious instances are fetched from the official invidious list: https://api.invidious.io/
      We have no control on the list and it’s completely based on the official lists. It may be really really long now as we’ve added all the public PeerTube instances to get them redirected to SimpleerTube instances, there’s like a thousand of them.

      The script that fetches and creates the list is this one: https://github.com/libredirect/libredirect/blob/master/src/instances/get_instances.py
      It gets automatically updated every 3 days using GitHub Actions. Even if the development stops, this will complete on updating.

      We can make all the redirections based on ex: https://pussthecat.org/ This server is really reputable and one of it’s maintainer is the Project Manager for invidious: https://github.com/TheFrenchGhosty
      Problem is that we will just kill the server with DDoS attacks. Most of these servers aren’t that big and some are even hosted from homes.

      Further more, Shuffling between instances is a good idea for not giving the whole context to just one instance, We do that too with SimplyTranslate Mobile:
      “Auto selecting a random instance (default mode) each request will obfuscate and spread your data more between instances so nothing will be linked easily as it’s not in a centralized database.”
      This can somewhat be compared to how Tor works, not much though.
      This concept may not apply to every service, though it applies really nicely on SimplyTranslate.

      At the end, you should only use the instances you trust. You can modify the list as Tom Hawack said.

  2. jynhfDC said on March 16, 2022 at 10:06 am
    Reply

    Thank you very much for this! I needed to test it for less than a minute to decide to uninstall privacy redirect, this addon is dramatically superior in everything.

  3. Tom Hawack said on March 16, 2022 at 10:10 am
    Reply

    LibRedirect is IMO the must in terms of redirecting “the loading of popular destinations on the Internet automatically to privacy friendly websites.” in one package.

    Even though each redirection may be disabled, given I redirect far less than what is offered with LibRedirect I perform bypassing with the ‘Rediector’ extension for YouTube to Piped, Reddit to Teddit, TikTok to ProxyTok and Twitter to Nitter.

    My YouTube redirections are elaborated ; videos redirected to [https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/VIDEOID?autoplay=1] and youtube-nocookie.com is cookie blocked (otherwise no cookie as such but localStorage is filled nevertheless) : display is instantaneous.

    YouTube embedded videos are never redirected (too many issues, whatever the redirection server) but YouTube being then 3rd-party and 3rd-party cookies blocked here means no cookie/localStorage/IndexedDB.

    YouTube channels always redirected to Piped. That’s the base, with further Redirector fine tuning. Also, [music.youtube.com] videos are handled as [www.youtube.com] videos and redirected as well as such….

    I’ve added TikTok redirection to ProxyTok, not because I’d be a TikTok fan (to put it mildly) but in the case I encounter a TikTok link (which I did, hence ProxyTok).

    I use the ‘Redirector” extension for far more than above mentioned and it’s one of those add-ons I’d consider in the top 3 favorites (together with ‘uBlock Origin’ and ‘LocalStorage’). What a helpin’ hand that extension is!

    1. Klaas Vaak said on March 16, 2022 at 1:54 pm
      Reply

      @Tom Hawack: hi there, Tom, long time no speak. I understand Macron is giving you guys a break from the vaccine passport and masks. I guess 10th April is not far off anymore so “il faut qu’il pass la pomade”?

      Anyway, from your comment I understand you like Libredirect, but you prefer Redirector, correct? So, you use the latter rather than the former?

      You state “I perform bypassing with the ‘Rediector’ extension for YouTube to Piped, Reddit to Teddit, TikTok to ProxyTok and Twitter to Nitter.” But Libredirect does that too. So, what is the strategy?

      1. Tom Hawack said on March 16, 2022 at 2:33 pm
        Reply

        @Klaas Vaak, hi there! — LIFO (Last In, First Out), referring to your questions :=)

        > “You state “I perform bypassing with the ‘Rediector’ extension for YouTube to Piped, Reddit to Teddit, TikTok to ProxyTok and Twitter to Nitter.” But Libredirect does that too. So, what is the strategy?”

        Indeed. But I have a special treat for YouTube. LibRedirect allows to choose Embedded YT videos / Non-embedded / both. I go a step further with a redirection which handles separately YT videos and YT channels; also, I redirect [music.youtube.com] videos to [https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/VIDEOID?autoplay=1] because any YT music video ID is viewable as a plain YT video…

        > “Anyway, from your comment I understand you like Libredirect, but you prefer Redirector, correct? So, you use the latter rather than the former?”

        It’s not that I “prefer” Redirector, but that I’d use only a small part of LibRedirct’s redirections : I would not bother myself editing redirects with Redirector if, 1- I used all LibRedirect’s redirections, 2- I had not a particular attention for YouTube videos (see above answer). I like both. But Redirector of course can be used for much more given its fed by user input : it’s amazing all you can perform with it.

        > “I understand Macron is giving you guys a break from the vaccine passport and masks. I guess 10th April is not far off anymore so “il faut qu’il pass la pomade”?”

        About everywhere the masked ball is coming to an end. Perhaps the masks at least given the beast (COVID) isn’t dead yet (See China, i.e.). I think most French don’t tie the evolution of health requirements to politics, hence a President Macron’s zeal in view of next month’s French Presidential election isn’t an hypothesis for at least most of us. No “pommade”, at least in the area of lowered health protection requirements. This said, personally, I carry on with what has always been my COVID policy : no one around, no mask – leading towards a group, in a group (stores, movies and son on) : mask. Independently of official permissions/requirements. Until the beast has vanished, totally, everywhere on this planet.

        Read you later :=)

  4. alfa said on March 16, 2022 at 1:51 pm
    Reply

    I’d really like it if this review told me what this extension does that Privacy Redirect (which has 4x the users and 1/10 the code) doesn’t already do.

    1. Tom Hawack said on March 16, 2022 at 6:24 pm
      Reply

      @alfa, LibRedirect handles many more redirections to “the loading of popular destinations on the Internet automatically to privacy friendly websites.” than Privacy Redirect. It allows as well finer tuning.

      About Privacy Redirect : [https://github.com/SimonBrazell/privacy-redirect#about ]
      About LibRedirect : [https://github.com/libredirect/LibRedirect#libredirect]

      Privacy Redirect is older than LibRedirect, which contributes to a higher number of users, for the time being anyway : LibRedirect’s audience is increasing rapidly. LibRedirect’s code weighs more than that of Privacy Redirect because it handles far more redirections, because these are more elaborated and because the Option’s page has to handle all those settings.

      Privacy Redirect is a great extension, it’s really the initiator of a packaged multi-redirection add-on; it’s the ancestor with its glory… and LibRedirect is simply an enhanced version of the former, very well built, as intuitive though with far many more settings, and, overall, I’d say, a true improvement.

      Try both (not simultaneously!) and compare by yourself.

  5. kl said on March 16, 2022 at 4:17 pm
    Reply

    >A Chromium crx extension file is provided on the project’s GitHub page, but it may be difficult to load it in certain Chromium-based browsers as it is not officially available on the Chrome Web Store.

    Homepage : https://libredirect.github.io/
    Github page: https://github.com/libredirect/libredirect
    .crx file : https://github.com/libredirect/libredirect/releases

    open chrome://extensions (or 3dot menu > more tools > extensions), enable developer mode
    drag the downloaded .crx file into the open extensions tab

  6. anonymous said on March 16, 2022 at 4:46 pm
    Reply

    @LibRedirect, looks great! Is there, or will there be, a version for Pale Moon?

    1. LibRedirect said on March 16, 2022 at 9:45 pm
      Reply

      I really didn’t think of that. If the browser API is similar, then yes. If no, then it might be another story.

      1. Anonymous said on July 28, 2022 at 6:22 pm
        Reply

        I had the same question, would much appreciate if it comes!
        Palemoon is a FF fork after all, so the API will be more than similar to a FF, the question is rather, how much FF changed it during the versions.

  7. user said on March 16, 2022 at 10:26 pm
    Reply

    @LibRedirect
    It’s broken in invidious, never applies the settings and seems to have other problems. I did a little test on a new profile and found the culprit (or one of them), it’s a very basic privacy and security setting: privacy.firstparty.isolate

    1. LibRedirect said on March 17, 2022 at 11:41 am
      Reply

      The new version 1.5.4 fixes many issues about invidious settings. If you face any problem, please report it on GitHub or in our matrix room.

    2. Richard said on June 18, 2022 at 5:21 pm
      Reply

      Just saw it on reddit, pretty good stuff, well done +

  8. Anonymous said on March 16, 2022 at 11:56 pm
    Reply

    Interesting but I rather do this using host files or uBlock to block these useless sites. I don’t need them redirecting to alternatives.

    1. Jörg Barth (HH) said on March 22, 2022 at 3:16 pm
      Reply

      I do the same.

      I don´t use hosts files, but use dns redirects or dns blocks for those third-party libs. In 95% of all cases those libs are not needed. google and youtube urls can load whatever they like if those links point to google.

  9. Jason Brock said on July 27, 2022 at 6:04 am
    Reply

    Open-Source Alternative Redirector and Privacy Redirect seems to be good alternatives to Libredirect.

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