How to manage ad blocking in Opera


Jack Wallen shows you how to take control of online advertisements in the Opera web browser, so you can stop worrying ads will take control of you.

December 21, 2021, Brazil. In this photo illustration the Opera logo seen displayed on a smartphone.
Image: Rafael Henrique/Adobe Stock

Ad blocking is a rather tricky subject. I recently covered the state of online ads and web browsers in my piece There’s a problem with online ads, and it’s not what you think, which highlighted the second biggest issue with online advertisements.

TL;DR: So many online ads are poorly written to the point they can either bring a web browser to a crawl or cause it to crash altogether.

This problem is rampant and shows no signs of going away. The problem is not only isolated to the actual ads, but also the web browsers themselves. I’ve yet to come across a web browser that doesn’t have issues. They all do. Given how web browsers and website technology are growing at such a rapid pace and neither seem to be able to remain in sync with one another, these are issues we’re going to be dealing with for some time.

SEE: Password breach: Why pop culture and passwords don’t mix (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Because of that, I’ve actually found it necessary to take control of ads in my browsers.

Recently, I’ve switched back to Opera and found many of the same sites that killed Firefox with a deluge of ads did the same with Opera. Something had to be done. Fortunately, Opera does make it very easy to manage ad blocking. Let me show you how.

What you’ll need to enable ad blocking

The only thing you’ll need is an updated version of Opera. I’ll be demonstrating with version 90.0.4480.54 running on my go-to desktop operating system, Pop!_OS. That’s it: Let’s get those ads blocked.

How to enable ad blocking in Opera

The developers of Opera have made this very easy. Open Opera and click the Settings icon in the upper right corner of the browser window to reveal the Easy Settings menu (Figure A).

Figure A

The Opera Easy Settings menu gives you quick access to popular settings.

In the Privacy & Security section (Figure B), click the ON/OFF slider until it’s in the ON position.

Figure B

Enabling ad blocking in the Opera web browser.

A pop-up window will briefly appear (Figure C), indicating ad blocking is enabled.

Figure C

Ad blocking is now enabled for Opera.

How to disable ad blocking for specific sites

Obviously, some sites — such as TechRepublic — are very careful with the ads they offer, and I’ve never experienced a problem with online ads run on the site. Because of that, I’ll allow ads to run for TechRepublic.

To disable ad blocking for a specific website, open Opera and point it to the site in question. Once the site loads, click the blue shield icon to the right of the address bar and then from the popup menu click Turn Off For This Site (Figure D).

Figure D

Disabling ad blocking for the TechRepublic site.

You can also opt to leave the ad blocking turned on and allow Acceptable Ads to be displayed, which is the default. Acceptable ads are those that adhere to a very strict set of criteria and don’t interfere with the functioning of the site.

One very nice thing the Opera developers have done is made it easy to not only block ads but block trackers. Both of these are independent of one another, which means you can allow ads but block trackers, block ads but allow trackers, allow both or block both. You might have to experiment with these two features on certain sites to ensure you get the best experience.

As I’ve said many times, a lot of websites depend on advertising for revenue. Because of that, I tend to allow ads to run and even click on those that interest me. But in some instances, a site is simply not viewable because of either a plethora of ads or poorly written ads. If you find yourself having to view such a site in Opera, you can wrest back control by disabling ads.

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