Seeing Ads on YouTube? Google is testing server-side ads that break adblockers

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 13, 2024

If you run an adblocker in your browser of choice and still see ads on YouTube, then you have been selected for an experiment on the popular streaming website.

Yesterday, the official X account of SponsorBlock revealed that Google is testing server-side ads on YouTube. The new ad delivery technique injects ads into the video stream. The makers of the popular service noticed that it is breaking it, as the timestamps were not correct anymore.

At about the same time, users started to report issues with ads on YouTube on sites like Reddit. Most said that they were now seeing unskippable ads on YouTube, even while they were using adblockers like uBlock Origin.

Reports suggest that Google is blocking controls of the video on top of that, so that features such as skipping ahead are not active while the ad is playing.

YouTube server-side ads

Extension developers are scrambling to gain access to this new form of ad delivery on YouTube to test their extensions against it and find ways around it.

It is too early to say if there will be workarounds.

Some users have suggested that checking for yt.config_.EXPERIMENT_FLAGS.html5_enable_ssap_entity_id in the browser's Web Developer console reveals if the experiment is running currently. The return of "undefined" means that it is not currently.

The future of content blocking on YouTube

Google is experimenting all the time to deliver ads to content blocking users of the service. To mention just a few:

The latest experiment adds a new dimension, as it introduces server-side ad injections.

While it breaks timestamps for now, that would be fixable easily by Google, as the company knows the playtime of ads.

It is too early to say if server-side ad injections will be Google's trump card against content blockers. Once extension creators get to experience the new system first-hand, they may find ways to deal with it again.

It is also unclear if extensions like Ad Accelerator or Ad Speedup that speed up or skip ads will continue to work.

It is a cat and mouse game that seemingly neve ends.

It will be interesting to see how ad-blocking uses react when advertisement cannot be blocked anymore on YouTube. Will they bite in the apple and endure ads? Will they subscribe to YouTube Premium? Or will they reduce their consumption of videos on YouTube?

Do you watch videos on YouTube? What would you do if ads cannot be blocked anymore on the site, if you block them of course?

Seeing Ads on YouTube? Google is testing server-side ads that break adblockers
Article Name
Seeing Ads on YouTube? Google is testing server-side ads that break adblockers
Google is experimenting with server-side advertisement on YouTube to break adblockers and force ads on users.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Thorky said on June 17, 2024 at 2:39 pm

    Though the adblocker and its filters are the same in both browsers, I see ads on Youtube in Edge Chromium but not in Firefox. Guess, which one is my favourite.

  2. gaylord gates said on June 16, 2024 at 12:33 pm


    “Do not use any Google product.”
    “They are far more evil than Microsoft.”

    (*snickers*) Thank you for your loyalty. — M$ Recall

    1. Tom Hawack said on June 17, 2024 at 3:49 pm

      Tracking is Evil, and should Evil be a damned trinity as Trinity is a holy one, who’d incarnate the father, the son and the spirit? At this time they’re all aiming to be the father as it seems.

  3. Dystopian YTNWO said on June 15, 2024 at 10:09 pm

    Today it started here in Finland too, no way to skip the ad.

    Noticed also a downloader extension for FF didn’t work anymore, it was useful also because it produced direct links for separate audio and video tracks one could copy and use to open a new window and for instance play only the audio track with the browser built in minimalist player.

  4. 6R1M0R4CL3 said on June 15, 2024 at 8:30 pm

    Do not use Youtube. Do not use any Google product.
    Block all Google cookies, websites and everything.
    They are far more evil than Microsoft. All the senior engineering staff at Google is either ex-CIA or ex-NSA. Google is sending EVERYTHING they collect and see to the NSA.

    At the NSA, Google is joked as being the “public NSA”.

    Do NOT use anything Google. Every single message is kept forever. Every email even deleted is kept forever. Every picture. Every single website you see using Chrome, every single download you ever do. This data is NEVER deleted. Tied to you.

    1. vitek said on June 16, 2024 at 1:30 pm

      Yep. Use only yandex or baidu, they don’t send your data to NSA ;D .

      1. Tom Hawack said on June 17, 2024 at 3:42 pm

        Indeed, they don’t sell it, they get it robbed :)

  5. rogue state said on June 15, 2024 at 1:52 am

    It’s getting worse, today I encountered for the first time while browsing with Tor a:

    “Sign in to confirm you’re not a bot”

    appearing in the video window, so could not watch the video, never happened before.

  6. EmpireFall said on June 14, 2024 at 10:52 pm

    the only time I have seen an ad on YouTube was a very long time ago in the country where I live

    in other words, companies just don’t bother advertising on YouTube here

    I recommend using a VPN and choosing the most remote, non-western country available for anyone wanting to circumvent ads on YouTube

  7. beep said on June 14, 2024 at 8:54 am


    “I spend as little time as possible in the YouTube/Google/Alphabet metaverse. I only use their sites when there is no alternative, and then only with appropriate counter-measures. I’ve been doing this a long time.”

    We know. Thank you for your loyalty. – M$ Recall

  8. Iron Heart said on June 14, 2024 at 5:35 am

    @Martin Brinkmann

    The uBlock Origin devs are already working on a fix, you may wish to include this in the article:

  9. Kaz Packman said on June 14, 2024 at 5:21 am

    I swear Google is on the right track of making YouTube end up like MySpace did a long time ago (anyone remember that site?). First they broke yt-dlp for some of its users by blocking IP addresses and even accounts that were associated with cookies passed onto it, which also broke frontends (like Invidious and FreeTube) for some people, and now they’re doing this?

    I’m glad I no longer watch YouTube videos on the site and now use alternative means of viewing them, though I have a feeling those won’t last long, and when those alternatives stop working for me, I’ll stop using YouTube altogether.

    I wish more content creators would abandon YouTube in favor of much better alternative platforms already.

  10. Anonymous said on June 14, 2024 at 4:23 am

    The reason why MOST people are seeing ads in Youtube wuth uBlock is because since 6 days ago, uBlock had to remove a rule for SSAP because it was creating playback issues for some users.

    This doesn’t affect people who are not logged in, only people who log in to Youtube.

    uBlock came with a ‘fix’ but it was also breaking some users’ experiences so they had to remove it again.

    So this is not the reason people are seeing ads, it will be because of the removed rule. If Google implements server side ads like twitch, then not much to do, and nobody will stop watching Youtube because of them.
    Of course, since Youtube is mostly a video service then it will be easier to deal than with live streams like Twitch, so it will not be the end of the world.

    People should go and check uBlock Origin reddit and github to get updates on the SSAP ads situation, but people should also stop pretending they can just login to services and expect no ads, and everything working 100%.

    Ads are still blocked for nonlogged users, so either watch in Embed or go private window or unlog.

  11. Kyra said on June 14, 2024 at 2:37 am

    Should there be non-blockable ads on youtube, I will still use the site for how-to videos when needed. I will not use it otherwise because I cannot enjoy a website with ads that contaminate my computer/device and offer me nothing positive. I would never make a purchase from a web ad, but as with Netflix for which I used to see ads before I knew how to block them, I have not at any time paid Netflix for anything. I do tend to remember certain of the ads, which reminds me of a negative experience and thus keeps me from supporting them in any way.

  12. igbof said on June 14, 2024 at 2:26 am

    I have never seen an ad on YouTube. Or, for the most part, anywhere else.

    I spend as little time as possible in the YouTube/Google/Alphabet metaverse. I only use their sites when there is no alternative, and then only with appropriate counter-measures. I’ve been doing this a long time.

    Currently FF ESR, uBlock Origin with many filterlists, Enhancer for YouTube add-on, and VPN (=Mullvad) level DNS filtering. Plus some other stuff. I value my privacy.

    YMMV. It comes down to how much time and energy you are willing to devote to fighting the encrapification.

  13. Scroogled said on June 13, 2024 at 11:17 pm

    I know this will never happen, but people need to stop uploading to YouTube and use alternatives. Google is evil and they keep ruining the platform.

  14. Anonymous said on June 13, 2024 at 9:28 pm

    I wonder if it would be possible for e.g. Russian companies to offer a VPN that filters out all advertising from US companies’ products and services. I will not subscribe to Youtube or any other service, but I would definitely subscribe to that.

    As soon as they get enough chumps paying for “Youtube premium”, the advertisements will come right back, even stronger than they are now.

  15. boris said on June 13, 2024 at 8:18 pm

    I spoke too early. I get a 15-second ad now before main videos. I click page refresh ASAP and no more ad next time, but still annoyance.

  16. boris said on June 13, 2024 at 5:42 pm

    YouTube blocked my IP. I am switching VPN servers every day to stay ahead. Native Brave ad blocker still works great.

  17. vgtz said on June 13, 2024 at 4:59 pm

    Google has billions of users… I tried many times to allow ads – after all I watched hundreds of videos without ads along the years – but the problem is that they are very badly implemented and of bad taste… They also break streaming sometimes and they can show at he end of a video.
    That’s made on purpose to annoy so you will pay a subscription and it’s a very stupid politic by Google who also doesn’t care about a few million people who will eventually leave YTube. All they mind is that little clicks of billions of people around the world, 24 hour a day, 7 days a week. With AI on the soup this will be a feast!
    I’m watching less each day, now maybe 10% of what I used to watch and signed with another’s media providers, including music (hifi) and paying a lot less than a ridiculous YTube subscription.
    I hope authorities in the US will realize that Google bought Ytube and has the monopoly…

  18. Tom Hawack said on June 13, 2024 at 4:45 pm

    One thing I linger to understand is how an ad that has force-fed a consumer can be productive.
    No valuable relation in life may be established by force. You’ve endured a product being advertised with others in a mad flow a-la YouTube : how in the world can you even be excited by the product, how can your reaction be anything else than moving your way when you see the product on a shelve, when you have in sight the product’s shop? Personally I have a Pavlovian reaction : I REALLY go on for another product, therefor advertisement force-feed is totally counter-productive as far as i”m concerned.

    Concerning the YouTube anti-adblocker hysteria (looks like it’s becoming obsessional), it’s been some time now that I don’t even “touch” their servers, so no idea of how their latest server-side ads wold be managed here with Firefox. I proxify, not with a VPN but with a dedicated front-end : Piped instances mainly and occasionally Invidious instances, but the latter are far less reliable then the former. Correctly chosen and options correctly set (especially for live streams) videos appear quasi instantly (anyway far more quickly then when accessed on YouTube servers themselves), no tracking, no bloat. Of course inability to write comments but those of others are displayed of course.

    I couldn’t make it, I could absolutely not bear viewing a video on YouTube in the reported massive advertisement + massive anti-adblockers on steroid. I’d have a nervous breakdown. Ads before, while and after a video is it? No, no, no, I think my fist would break the screen.

  19. anonymous said on June 13, 2024 at 3:28 pm

    No Google product is essential to anyone. Rathe, they are harmful in all the ways that have been reported for years.

  20. Benjamin said on June 13, 2024 at 3:16 pm

    Imagine a world without advertising anywere!
    Simply wipe out all that is advertising and screaming at your senses all the time.
    A substitute would/could be small plates at the front of buildings, public transport, public services with text all in the same design and size and perhaps the old litfass columns…

  21. FGoogle said on June 13, 2024 at 2:48 pm

    Google is going to push all videos into another platform. Or we will grab videos, remove the ads, and share them using bit torrent protocol. Enjoy your nice plate of fresh shit, Google.

    Google needs to be destroyed.

  22. M. Tyler said on June 13, 2024 at 2:25 pm

    Google is only forcing ads on viewers because of their ad contracts state that the ad buyer must get X number of views (full or partial) or else google gets less revenue. Google doesn’t care if you buy the advertised product, (if so, maybe they get a cut) only that you let the ad run. Google profits either way.

    I use a VPN and get blocked by a lot of websites, but not on youtube. I’ve encountered ads a couple times – then I just drop the video. As for websites, I get challenged a lot or blocked, then I don’t bother with the site again. Other sources out there.

  23. Bobo said on June 13, 2024 at 11:23 am

    The time when ads are not removable by any means on YouTube is the time when I don’t watch YouTube anymore. Something better will come along. I will not watch ads to fund a life of luxury of YouTubers. Ads are Satan. Yes, content creators should be compensated, but fairly. You should not be paid more than someone who has a real job. Someone who is contributing, not leeching. I will never ever pay Google to watch content they don’t own nor have created.

    1. Jonas said on June 13, 2024 at 5:51 pm

      Nothing better will come along because Google is almost a monopoly, and you need the same size of shareholders to launch something alike. All megacorps nowadays are about money, money, and nothing more than money, and scr*w the end user.

  24. TelV said on June 13, 2024 at 10:30 am

    I don’t watch videos on youtube directly, but rather filter them through Invidious. Also, I use Firefox or one of its forks, never a Chrome browser (you’re just asking for trouble if you use that).

    Also, never login to Google, or to youtube. It you can’t comment on videos, but you’re more likely to see ads if you do. Google only requires you to login to youtube once every two years to retain your account there, but that’s a piece of cake.

  25. Iron Heart said on June 13, 2024 at 10:27 am

    I don’t think they will be able to beat VPN set to countries where YouTube doesn’t have ads at all, Moldova, Albania, Russia etc. I remain calm and collected. Google still won’t see a dime from me.

    But yes, this could lead to issues for traditional adblockers and SponsorBlock.

    1. onu said on June 15, 2024 at 2:57 pm

      Moldova is not part of this list anymore.

  26. karlo2105 said on June 13, 2024 at 9:14 am

    I watch Youtube on Kodi at home. If everything which allows to bypass ads on Youtube stops to work, I shall move on to Odysee and Rumble for good.

  27. Gavin B said on June 13, 2024 at 9:01 am

    One way Firefox could put “skip” back in control of the user
    – would be to add an about:config option
    so that the html video element always switched on controls and placed them on top of any overlaying element.

    Unfortunately the basic video controls currently cannot be styled using CSS to bring them forward even using user scripts.

  28. Astral B said on June 13, 2024 at 8:52 am

    I use Fadblock with no problems.

  29. Ashwin said on June 13, 2024 at 7:33 am

    Not seeing ads yet on FreeTube. Well, even if this does stop ad blocker extensions, I think one can download the videos they want to watch. And if the downloaded video contains some ad segments, just fast-forward to skip them.

  30. Tachy said on June 13, 2024 at 7:25 am

    I still never see ads on youtube.

    I don’t spend much time on the site though and when I do it’s usually for educational purposes, not entertainment and always on a PC with a browser I have control of but…

    The kids watch it at times on the Samsung TV so of course they see ads. Recently there is often 2-3 seconds of black screen before an ad so this new system is not working very smoothly.

  31. Anonymous said on June 13, 2024 at 7:10 am

    This is like two different religions going at each other – scant regards for the beliefs of the other side.

    Meeting half way, I don’t mind the breaks. Just don’t fill them with rubbish I have no wish to see (advertising). I switch off mentally in any case: get food; get drink; pick up a book; web browse, chat etc.. anything other that watch advertising!

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.