"Users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using," Google explains after uproar from Firefox users over a 5-second delay when loading YouTube

YouTube running on Mozilla Firefox
(Image credit: Kevin Okemwa)

What you need to know

  • Multiple Firefox users have taken to social media to express their frustrations over the slow YouTube load time on the browser.
  • Google has confirmed that the issue is closely related to its recent efforts to crackdown on YouTube ad blockers that were preventing users from monetizing their content via ads. 
  • According to some Redditors, the video streaming platform spotted faster load times when spoofing Firefox as Google Chrome.
  • Google added that any user with an ad blocker installed can be affected by this issue regardless of the browser they are using.

Multiple Firefox users have taken to Reddit to raise their concerns, flagging YouTube's less-than-pleasing user experience. According to the users, when trying to stream videos on the platform, the webpage adds a five-second delay.

Youtube has started to artificially slow down video load times if you use Firefox. Spoofing Chrome magically makes this problem go away. from r/youtube

Strangely enough, the issue is seemingly fixed when switching to another browser like clockwork. Alternatively, changing the user agent using developer tweaks also does the trick, according to a spot by Foss News

Google's crackdown on YouTube ad blockers could be the poisonous fruit

Windows Central Channel on YouTube

(Image credit: Kevin Okemwa)

While it's easy to presume that the issue is related to a poor internet connection, this isn't the case (at least per the sentiments echoed by multiple users). The situation seems to be far more complex. According to a Redditor, there's a code buried in YouTube's webpage that features a “timeout” function in the script. The user further highlighted that the code is responsible for the five-second delay.

On the other hand, some users have indicated that the issue might be closely related to Google's recent crackdown on YouTube ad blockers. In the past few months, users have complained about the platform's user experience, especially after Google announced that it would start fastening the seat belt on ad blockers.

Google stated ad blockers breach YouTube's terms of service and prevent creators from monetizing their content. The company has indeed confirmed that the five-second delay issue is related to the ad blocker issue, further pointing out that users with ad blockers may experience "suboptimal viewing." Interestingly, the company pointed out that the issue might impact any user with an ad blocker, regardless of the browser they are using. 

To support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite content on YouTube, we’ve launched an effort to urge viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad free experience. Users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using.


Google's statement only clears up why users with ad blockers installed are experiencing a degraded user experience. However, it doesn't clarify why users spoofing Firefox as Google Chrome were able to enjoy faster load times.

I attempted to replicate the exact same results highlighted by users across social media, but the YouTube page loaded up within a considerable amount of time (similar to what I am used to when using Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge). Admittedly, I don't use Firefox. It's possible that more testing could uncover potential issues that might be prompting the slow load times.

Have you encountered this issue while using Firefox? Share your experience with us in the comments.

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry at Windows Central. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. You'll also catch him occasionally contributing at iMore about Apple and AI. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.