Is it just me, or does the internet seem slow to you? I have a 100-mbps internet connection at home, 300-mbps Wi-Fi, and it still takes tens of seconds to download and display various websites in Safari.
What’s the problem? Why does the internet seem so slow these days?
The answer is two fold. First, in general, the public internet– defined as the websites most of us visit– seems to lumber along at somewhere between 8-mbps and 15-mbps regardless of how fast your connection is rated (worse if you’re on a cell phone). Second, websites themselves are larger than ever with more graphic elements, dozens of tracking scripts, and packed with advertising. All that extra weight slows down page loads and that makes the internet seem, well, slow.
Let’s call it web bloat. How can you combat sluggish web page load times and speed things up?
What happens to Safari when using either or both apps is simple and straightforward. They block ads, tracking scripts, analytics tracking, and much more– so you control what you see from each website. A blacklist blocks tracking and ads which reduces the size or weight of a web page which speeds up the download. A whitelist lets you control which websites and ads are available (ostensibly so you can support websites you like because, well, advertising makes the world go around).
Most Mac users prefer to use Safari but Ghostery, AdBlock Plus, and other tracker controls work on Google Chrome and competing browsers, too. 1Blocker is an ad blocker for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Install either one in Safari on your Mac and test the difference in how long it takes the browser to download and display a webpage; first unblocked, then blocked.
The difference can be astounding; and that saves you time (you don’t have to wait as long for a webpage to render in the browser), and saves you bandwidth (the text on most pages usually runs less than 200-kb vs. more than 2,000-kb or more on many websites with ad tracking scripts) which means you pay less.
Click Here to view my site’s score on the Web Bloat Score Calculator (then try it with other websites you frequent). Here’s the same webpage from my site scored on GTMetrix from Google’s PageSpeed calculator and Yahoo!’s YSlow test. Some Apple-centric websites, like iMore.com, are so loaded with tracking ads they cannot even be scored in the Web Bloat Score, and send as much as 7.5-megabytes per page (GTMetrix score).
There is no easier or faster way to speed up webpage downloads and reduce tracking scripts and ads. The real question is this, “Is it ethical to block advertising and tracking websites which are free to view?” There is an implied contract between websites and readers. Content is free to view because revenue is derived from advertising. At what point, though, does the advertising and tracking on most webpages become onerous?
I think we’ve reached that point.