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Why YouTube is so slow in Microsoft Edge (and how to fix it)

Microsoft's Edge browser has a lot of challenges in the modern web world, not the least of which is Google's Chrome browser, which is still top dog for preferred browser usage. Microsoft, though, for its part is playing by the rules – that is, adopting open and agreed upon web standards to make its browser the friendliest.

Nonetheless, if there is one complaint we all hear about (and have experienced) is the YouTube website taking what seems like forever to load in Edge. Today, we'll explain why that is and how to get around the problem to make Edge behave just like Chrome.

The problem is Google

Recently, Chris Peterson, the technical program manager at Mozilla (who oversees the Firefox browser), finally gave a detailed analysis and confirmation of what we all have experienced: YouTube is slower on Firefox and Edge.

https://twitter.com/cpeterso/status/1021626510296285185

Google's recent redesign of YouTube, which is named Polymer, uses the "Shadow Document Object Model (DOM)" version-zero API, which is a form of JavaScript. It's that dependency on what is an older version of Shadow DOM that is the issue. Even Polymer 2.x supports Shadow DOM v0 and v1, but YouTube, ironically, has not yet been updated to the newer refreshed Polymer.

Google is using outdated APIs while the rest of the web world has moved on to adopt current standards. Since this is encoded in YouTube's page coding, it causes issues for other browsers that are complying with modern standards.

As to why Google would do this, Peterson wrote, "I assume Google has metrics showing that the Polymer redesign increases Firefox and Edge user engagement more than the slow polyfills hurt it." That is certainly a generous interpretation.

According to Peterson, this decision by Google results in Edge and Firefox being up to five times slower than Chrome – specifically with comments and related material seemingly taking forever to load.

For it's part, Kyle Pflug, who works on Edge for Microsoft says this issue will be sorted in time between the two companies:

See more

To make matters stranger, Google serves up the pre-Polymer YouTube website to Internet Explorer 11 by default. That means Google could do the same for Firefox and Edge, but it chooses not to ...

So users complain that "Edge sucks" even compared to Internet Explorer 11 for YouTube. The problem is at Google's feet, however. Here's how to fix it.

Following the observed behavior that YouTube serves up a pre-Polymer YouTube experience to Internet Explorer 11 but not Edge, we can modify the saved cookie on the computer to spoof YouTube.

This trick was noted by Reddit user hamzah77, and it's very easy to do. Just follow these steps:

  1. In Edge navigate to any video on YouTube (so the player loads).
  2. Open the Edge Developer Tools using the "Ctrl + Shift + I" shortcut.
  3. Navigate to the Debugger.
  4. Double tap Cookies to expand the sub-menu.
  5. Double-click watch.
  6. In the middle area where values are displayed, find PREF.

  1. Under "Value" for "PREF," replace whatever is there with al=en&f5=30030&f6=8.
  2. Close Edge.
  3. Navigate back to YouTube. (Videos should now load instantly.)

The downside with this approach is two-fold:

  • If that cookie is wiped or deleted, you need to re-do the process.
  • This method reverts YouTube to pre-Polymer, so it looks flatter and less modern than the current redesign.

Those downsides are more than acceptable given the resulting performance gain. YouTube is now just as fast as it used to be before Google futzed with things.

Solution No. 2: Tampermonkey script

The alternative to the above is to run Tampermonkey in Edge (or Firefox). The extension is a popular userscript manager that lets you auto-run scripts on specific websites.

Twitter user @hypertextc0ffee links to the Pastebin script that you can copy and paste to Tampermonkey. That script then runs anytime you land on YouTube and does the same as the trick above; it reverts to the old version of YouTube.

  1. Download Tampermonkey from Microsoft
  2. Go to PasteBin, where you can access the "youtube disable polymer" script.

  1. Copy and paste that script using the "Create new script" function.

The Tampermonkey version has a few advantages over the editing the cookie:

  • It persists even if you wipe your cookies.
  • It's easy to undo or pause by controlling the extension for Edge.

The downside to Tampermonkey is Edge will load YouTube and then reload the page again with the script running. The result is not as fluid and a tad slower than using solution No. 1, but it still delivers the desired result.

Bonus solution: Use MyTube!

Finally, a third unofficial solution to this Edge and YouTube mess is to use something like MyTube! on your PC.

MyTube! has been around for ages and is one of the best YouTube clients available. It includes many advanced features, such as working on Xbox One, support for 4K video, mini-window, and picture-in-picture, and it has a modern, Fluent design.

See at Microsoft

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

80 Comments
  • Google is basically Microsoft twenty years ago. Glad MS changed a lot.
  • Google​ is evil
  • Mytube is great! But together with this recommendation you should post instructions to associate YouTube links to open on mytube by default.
  • Alternative solution:
    When you copy a YouTube video link then open MyTube, it'll offer you an option to open the link from clipboard in the app.
  • It does, it's very nice, thanks
  • That's all I use is MyTube the Dev for that App is great he post's messages at the top when he's having an issue to let know what's up. I donate ll the time to him for the good work he does.
  • I did the Tampermonkey thing and it works , it's way faster now .I'll miss the dark theme though :P
  • Same here, more convenient than modifying the cookie and has the added advantage that even if the cookie is removed the script will still work.
  • Nah... Losing the dark theme in YouTube is kind of too much of a deal breaker to me and my delicate eyes to perform such a hack.
    I'm also too lazy to toggle frequently between Edge and an App like MyTube just to have the best of both worlds...
  • Pardon my french, but this sounds assbackwards. Why not use Enhancer for YouTube in Edge (free extension) in addition to the cookie trick? You get Dark Mode/dark themes and you won't get osteoporosis waiting for your video to load.
  • lol you said ass. 😂
  • Thanks for the tip on the enhancer extension Daniel. Works awesome. Now my youtube loads fast and is dark as well!
  • NP, it's a solid extension. Almost too many options, but greatly improves YT.
  • Yes it’s really good. Having a dark theme on YouTube with the “fix” done makes for a much better experience. Thanks again!
  • Osteoporosis xD
  • Awesome. Next --> Facebook!!!!!
    Any solutions for that? Problems loading, scaling, stuff jumping up and down, auto refreshing back to top, etc...
  • That is just facebook and that happens on every browser and every app.
  • I read this yesterday and tried the change. Sure enough the website changed to an older looking style but to me the load performance seemed basically the same. The site was a little slow loading (in different ways) under Edge with both the old and the new styles. So I just left things unchanged. Edge has pretty slow DOM anyway. Great Javascript but slow DOM. Hoping Microsoft continue to optimize things but it's my browser of choice and these days is actually the most solid it's been in, well forever.
  • I love mytube and wish there could be one for my android phone
  • There's YouTube Vanced over there. It gives you an AMOLED Black mode, painless ad blocking, and background playback. It's great, actually.
  • I dont look at YouTube
  • I still can't decide if I want to stick with edge. I use my Surface as a tablet most of the time and it has two massive issues...
    1) when you tap a textbox it refuses to register and move the cursor, which infuriates me. 2) there is no x in the main search box. So you have to frustrate yourself with closing a link. EvilChrome has zero issues. But I hate everything google (if it wasn't for Microsoft, I would hate my android phone). Does Firefox have these issues? I need a better solution. Edge is starting to piss me off.
  • Regarding the cursor behavior you are experiencing: that is *not* normal behavior for Surface or Windows 10. Does this happen in all apps, or in a specific one?
  • Edge, only. Edge freaks out with touch input in text boxes. Excel for example works perfectly, when loaded with data.
  • I understand the technical explanation. But this is going to start looking like Google forcing their own browser by purposely causing competing browsers to run slower. It's not like Google is broke and doesn't have the resources lying around to fix this problem.
  • Thanks Daniel. I did the cookie modification and YouTube is now usable again for me in Edge :-).
  • Been saying for a while now: Chrome is the new IE6
  • And shhhh: I get no ads in myTube!!! 🤞
  • I don't get ads on YouTube either. One word: adblock. It's even available for Edge.
  • I'll let ads in the background though, I never see them by using the YouTube video player in MyTube
  • Don't be evil... Removed...
  • Thx for the in depth explanation.
  • if (Browser !== Chrome){
    InsertLongDelayToMakeBrowserLookBad();
    }
  • Thanks for letting us l know what was causing this issue. It’s a shame Google haven’t sorted this issue yet. They can definitely sort it out and it feels they are purposely choosing not to to make other browsers look bad. It reminds me of when Microsoft created an awesome YouTube app for Windows Phone but Google revoked the developer key making the app unusable.
  • Something that I'll never understand since I got my Surface Pro 4. Youtube on Edge brings THE WHOLE DEVICE to a crawl, because running a video in Edge will lock the CPU speed to 800 MHz. I don't know if this a particular Surface Pro 4 issue, a Skylake issue, an Edge issue or simply an old driver issue at this point given the iGPU Skylake driver on SP4 being from March 2017. And combined with the "design decision" regarding Youtube, makes using Edge with Youtube an incredible pain.
  • I'm still using a YT pwa made from some guys in Brazil. Which is not anymore in the store.
  • Is YT even PWA? Maybe you mean, a webview app / wrapper?
  • I would like to understand the Google side....because they are so fast to put Microsoft's products glitches on the web.
    Since when could they fixed? Since when the new version is out?
    Or is it just Google being Google: killing competition and being evil?
  • That's all interesting and all, but...any normal sane person will simply use Google Chrome, and not have to worry about any of that non-sense, in the first place. Also, why would anyone use a 3rd party client when you can just pin the site to your taskbar using Chrome, and having a perfectly working REAL YouTube app, right on your desktop.
  • I tried that and I also have the official Youtube app on my Android. They are weak compared to myTube.
  • That way of thinking caused the IE6 plague... people never learn.
  • Have you ever used myTube? It is like the pinnacle of all youtube apps available on all platforms combined.
    1. No Ads! 2 min silence for those who sees those pathetic ads whenever they browse youtube anywhere else.
    2. Save videos offline in standard mp4 format that can be transferred anywhere. Also can be played into myTube itself from the saved section.
    3. Private mode for browsing privately.
    4. Seperated history for myTube and youtube.
    5. Sign In with multiple accounts and switch between them at will.
    6. Stellar developer support. Live tiles that show new videos from your subscribed channels.
    7. If you only love music in a music video don't need the video part. You can only save audio part offline or just stream audio online.
    8. Support casting to wireless displays too.
    9. PEACE OF MIND.👼👼👼
  • You got me at 3, i will give myTube a try.
  • All hail myTube dev.!
  • you forget one thing and that is huge one. mytube can run video/audio in background too don't have to keep app open.
  • This is a top reason I keep hearing for MyTube, which is funny because I never use it that way, but some swear by it.
  • The EU should slap another $10B fine on Google for their YouTube/Chrome's anti-competitive behavior... and require them to change their practices under 10-yr Google-funded supervision by EU commission. That's the only ultimate solution.
  • I did the cookie thing. Not a huge difference for me (I'm on a Surface Pro i5/4GB) but I was using Ghostery which was already speeding things up nicely. I think I'll just stick with myTube, which is good when it comes to speed.
  • Really good to know, and thanks for posting this article. This problem is not contained to YouTube as many commercial websites fail to comply with modern standards, The difference is that Google is doing this deliberately w Youtube.
  • Hmmm..... So why would a company as "forward thinking" as Google implement a new site redesign using a deprecated API if not to do something hinky? YouTube isn't done until Firefox and Edge won't run!
  • How much, if any of this applies to Edge on Win10 mobile? It's pretty slow there too.
  • Copy the link
    automatically get saved to myTubes clipboard.
  • Edge works slowly for many other websites, not just YouTube or other Google products.
  • Ha ha ha ha... No it doesn't...
  • Shhh... Don't come in here with facts! This is clearly a conspiracy by Google. That's what justifies Edge s*cking. Get on with the narrative!
  • Conspiracy or not the evidence and explanation was laid out in detail hear versus your snark missing any facts what so ever. Also, your faith that Google operates in good faith these days is adorable.
  • Good ole myTube. Love that app!
  • Yeah me too... Works great and no ads...
  • So to enjoy videos on the Internet, I have to be computer scientiest? Interesting... Also Edge sucks on many sites, not just YT!
  • Just like everybody else, a computer scientist wouldn't be using Edge. Most people just use Chrome and wouldn't notice any issue.
  • Stopped Trolling. Adrian S
  • Ha ha ha... American tech companies... Aren't they great...
  • Thanks a lot! That's better! :)
  • Anyone reported for this issue to YouTube support?
  • thanks for the solutions, i will just bear with it,. i like edge as much as chrome, so i switch between them, so far so good. a little bit slow loading is fine for me.
  • Google has been pulling these intentional BS moves for quite sometime. I only use YouTube when I am forced to these days. A better fix would be to block YouTube at the ISP. Blocking the entire Google domain would be an even better alternative.
  • There's a lot more websites that don't work well on Edge. Let's not blame it on anyone else. Everyone knows Edge is inferior to other browsers.
  • Let's not change the subject either. We're talking about YouTube specifically. How Edge works for you when you're on PornHub is really not my business.
  • Haha, nailed it
  • I've never heard of Tampermonkey 'til now. Thanks for the information!
  • Tampermonkey is what I use to write my enhancements, go mouse free, automations and to block things I don't want to see.
    A great app!
  • This is a really useful article, however, it doesn't help explain why YouTube is still a better and smoother experience on Firefox than Edge.
  • I don't know about you but whilst it's **** that Google is being so evil - AGAIN! - waiting an extra 1 or 2 seconds to see a video is not worth the hassle shown here.
  • The Tampermonkey script solution blue screened my laptop. Has anyone encounter the same issue?
  • Same old Scroogle.
  • I did the cookie trick, and somewhat reluctantly reinstalled Enhancer to get the dark theme back. I had tried Enhancer before, but didn't find it worthwhile, and mainly didn't like to see the extra controls on the screen. But the dark theme is worth it. No one has mentioned it, but this fixed a bug that I had with Youtube that probably started the same time that things slowed down. Whenever I was in full screen mode on Youtube, if I did something to see another app on my Surface Pro 3, such as, I think, windows key or 3 finger swipe up, the full screen would go white, and not be able to go back unless I closed Edge. The sound would still be playing along with the white screen.
  • Fixed my issue
  • It's not just YouTube, countless other websites local and abroad are extremely slow. Is this also because of this polymer SDOM API? I have seen Edge becoming slower and slower in performance and stability, compared to Chrome on windows 10, especially these last 3 months. Issue started last december, despite my devices being up to date on all updates on official windows 10.
  • Haha! Wevenhuis, I seem to run into you everywhere :) Anyway, I agree with you. I really want to use Edge, just because I think people have been bashing Microsoft, Windows and Edge enough (for starters). But it is really hard to stick to Edge.
    Really annoying: I tried to type a reply here in Edge... guess what? I got this error:
    An AJAX HTTP request terminated abnormally.
    And in Chrome there is no issue.... just an example. When it comes to YouTube. I do not necessarily see an issue in starting up... on one of my computers running in Edge YouTube spikes the CPU every 5 seconds and I get all sorts of glitches and blocks in the video. The same happens when using MyTube, so that is absolutely no solution. So, buy a new computer? No, just use Chrome! In Chrome, I see the CPU usage go to about 80-90% and then it just sticks there running the video just fine. How is that possible?
  • I just use Chrome, I have tried Edge several times over the course of Win 10 releases and I always just go back to Chrome. Yes, I agree its become the next IE in many ways but with Edge at single digit market share I find many sites don't bother with tweaking site to work well with Edge. With Chrome market share so high, and Edge so low I cannot find any good reason to switch from Chrome.