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How Much Are Ad Servers Slowing the Web?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the but-not-for-firefox dept.

The Internet 363

vipermac writes "Most of the times I have a problem with a Web page loading slow or freezing temporarily, I look down at the status bar and see that it's waiting on an ad server, Google Analytics, or the like. It seems to me that on popular Web sites the bottleneck is overwhelmingly on the ad servers now and not on the servers of the site itself. In my opinion we need a better model for serving ads — or else these services need to add more servers/bandwidth. Are there any studies on the delay that 3rd-party ad servers are introducing, or any new models that are being introduced to serve ads?"

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use firefox and adblocker! (5, Funny)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263495)

problem solved.

Re:use firefox and adblocker! (2, Informative)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263587)

There are still ads on the internet? I sometimes forget, until I have to open up IE.

Re:use firefox and adblocker! (3, Funny)

Variorum (971955) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263929)

But if you use AdBlock your a thief! At least according to this /. article 6 []

Re:use firefox and adblocker! (4, Funny)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264269)

Well then, feel free to call me a rampant kleptomaniac.

Re:use firefox and adblocker! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20264471)

Kleptomaniac? Is the the KDE p2p app?

Re:use firefox and adblocker! (3, Informative)

Maniac-X (825402) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263639)

Or if you like ads (sometimes the google ones are amusing, or you want to support the website you're visiting), turn on HTTP Pipelining. It'll handle all of your requests simultaneously instead of one after the other.

Re:use firefox and adblocker! (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264317)

I thought pipelining was when you took one connection and used it for downloading multiple resources, saving bandwith and time on connection re-establishments.

I see what you are getting at though. There is no reason that you should load a websites resources in serial if they span multiple hosts. Not sure why web browsers do that. (making sure that there is only one transfer to/fro a single host makes it easier for the servers to manage their load - lower load over more time rather than spikes of large load)

Re:use firefox and adblocker! (5, Funny)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264369)

Pipelining? So Ted Stevens was right!

By the way, I set to 128. The googles, they do nothing...

Adblock + Pipeline simultaneously? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264385)

Can you use HTTP pipelining and Adblock? It doesn't seem like there's any reason why the two would be incompatible. Or is that not what you were implying?

After all, it's your computer that sends out the requests for the ads, and it can only do that once it receives the actual page ... so it seems like there's no reason why you can't install an ad-block and just prevent the requests for the ads entirely, but allow all the requests for the other page elements to be pipelined. Right?

Sheesh (3, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263499)

"Nothing for you to see here. Move along."

Must be 'cause I'm using Firefox...

Overstating the obvious (0, Redundant)

pedramnavid (1069694) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263509)

Who cares about ads when you have adblock?

Like slashdot? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20263515)

I probably would have had first post if slashdot did not serve up so many ads!!

Jokes aside, I do notice waiting for ads on slashdot quite often but it is one of the few sites that I allow more to get through.

Browser's fault? (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263519)

Is it possible for browsers to render everything *else* on a page while awaiting the ads to be served?

I realize this means performing some speculative page layout that may need to be re-done when the dimensions of the ads are served. But it sure would beat waiting tens of seconds to see the page's real content.

Re:Browser's fault? (2)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263649)

Is it possible for browsers to render everything *else* on a page while awaiting the ads to be served?

I've always assumed this was intentional, to buy the add more "eyeballs", or awareness, or whatever. Server teh add, wait 3 seconds, load the rest of the page. Make sure they get a good look at that ad...

Re:Browser's fault? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263679)

Its actually stupidly easy. I have a lot of business data driven web apps that do some heavy data mining and display them as charts, and obviously, that can be pretty slow if the customer wants their data real time (so no heavy caching allowed), so I simply render everything -else- first, then display the graphs and charts as they are rendered. I don't remember exactly how many lines of code it takes to do that, but it fits in one screen, thats for sure.

Re:Browser's fault? (5, Interesting)

dpu (525864) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264055)

Another option is to use the "DEFER" option in the script tag. Any script within the tags will wait until the page loads before executing. I wish ad companies would start using that *sigh*

Re:Browser's fault? (4, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264281)

They don't want to, obviously, because you may end up going away from the page (cuz you realised it wasnt the right one) before the ad loads, unfortunately.

Re:Browser's fault? (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264685)

that sounds like it would be a problem for ad scripts, which generally use document.write(). if the scripts executed after the page loaded, i imagine the ad would either be at the bottom of the page or would overwrite the whole page.

Re:Browser's fault? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20263873)

Is it possible for browsers to render everything *else* on a page while awaiting the ads to be served?

It depends how the ad is served. If it's served as an external piece of JavaScript (using a script element), then most browsers will reach the script tag and won't render anything else until the script has been downloaded [] . This can cause a delay if the ad server is slow or down.

If the ad is served using an img, iframe or object element, you generally don't have this problem, as the browser can leave a space for the advert and carry on rendering the rest of the page.

I work for an ad serving company and most of the ads we serve are in iframe elements. The growing popularity of script elements (they seem to be used for most third-party ads now) confounds me. Generally, I'm continually surprised at how much control over the user experience most websites are willing to give to ad serving companies.

Re:Browser's fault? (5, Funny)

pedramnavid (1069694) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264037)

I work for an ad serving company and
release the hounds.

Re:Browser's fault? (1)

vjmurphy (190266) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264073)

The defer attribute of the script tag should help with those Javascript-delivered ads, I'd think.

Re:Browser's fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20263965)

Unless the site uses tables. No rendering engine will draw the full table if the first part(s) are lagging.

So anyone who puts a "lazy" ad up top will force people to see it before the rest of the page. That's probably the biggest reason to push for CSS DIVs.

Re:Browser's fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20264451)

I'll push for CSS DIVs when I can use them to make a table (hint: CSS's new box model is utterly broken without the ability to specify or obtain the outer size of the box, I'd rather deal with quirks mode than have data tables that I cannot line up). Hell, the table tag is barely capable of it, as long as you're fine with the browser rendering the table differently every single time you look at it. God forbid you have an empty cell, and if the browser is going to load the entire table before rendering it, why not give me the ability to set the width of a column to the width of the widest cell, instead of setting it to 50px and praying nobody changes their font size, or 20% and having an enormous chunk of white space just for a single digit number.

Re:Browser's fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20264035)

How about taking care of everything coming off the real server's domain first, and then and only then, go ahead and contact the servers on the third-party domains?

Re:Browser's fault? (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264497)

this is especially bad in IE because, IIRC, IE doesnt display a table unless it can display the whole table. and many sites put all of the content inside one giant table for layout purposes.

but from a business perspective... (1)

Socguy (933973) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264643)

I'm sure it would be, but that would defeat the purpose of about 90% of todays web, which seems to be about using whatever lame content they can dream up to get you to see the adds, or better yet, click on those adds. It goes without saying that if the adds load first you have nothing better to do than look at them.

Re:Browser's fault? (5, Interesting)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264657)

Is it possible for browsers to render everything *else* on a page while awaiting the ads to be served?

Most ad systems seem to work by placing a <script> tag where you want the ad to appear which loads a script from the ad server that does a document.write() to insert the actual code. This is very bad practice (and explicitly disallowed for XHTML) but even Google do it (which sucks since I have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get AdSense to work on my XHTML site).

document.write() works by actually writing out HTML and feeding it into the parser and thus parsing the page must be suspended at that point until it's finished executing, so you can't render the page until the advert has loaded.

The _correct_ way to do this is for the ad-serving Javascript to actually modify the DOM tree. But that requires the ad server developers to not be lazy and have clue, which seems to be asking too much. (or alternatively, don't use Javascript at all).

0 slowdown for me (5, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263547)

For the reasons mentioned in the op I have several notorious slow adservers in my /etc/hosts. I don't know if they're still a problem, but doubleclick used to be horrible about taking 10 or 15 seconds to get their ad bits back to you. I'm not even particularly zealous about killing ads, but if you're stalling out my webpage then it's in /etc/hosts for you.

Abusers aren't satisfied with one kind of abuse. (4, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263937)

The people who make ads are a self-destructive bunch. Numerous times I've waited for a Slashdot page to load while some ad server took its time. Abusing me with abusive, dishonest ads wasn't enough, they wanted to abuse me by wasting my time, too. Mentioning the problem to Slashdot editors brought only temporary fixes, or no change.

So now I don't see the ads at all, thanks to Firefox's AdBlock Plus [] and NoScript [] add-ons. (I recommend NoScript only for people who don't mind fiddling with permissions for each new web site.)

I guess abusers aren't satisfied with only one kind of abuse. I can dimly remember some of the Slashdot ads. When they weren't misleading, they were generally stupidly written. People with no technical knowledge shouldn't work for technical companies.

Re:Abusers aren't satisfied with one kind of abuse (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264125)

Either I'm crazy, or something about noscript is very slow. Not as slow as loading all the ads, but it seems to do blocking work every time I go to a new site. Kinda irritating.

Re:0 slowdown for me (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263973)

Out of curiosity, do you point to on the hosts you add, or to localhost, or something else?

Re:0 slowdown for me (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264411)

Best to direct it to a local address that will explicitly deny the connection (rather than just time-out as "cloaked" ports do)

usually 'localhost' - which if course resolves to works, unless you are running a webserver on your host - then things cna get funny!

Or you could be a jackass and set it to a broadcast address on your subnet, like and be amused if the web browser actually follows through with it.

Re:0 slowdown for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20264211)

Care to share that list for the rest of us to add to our own hosts file?

Re:0 slowdown for me (4, Informative)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264387)

If you're interested in populating your hosts file, check out [] . There's a downloadable hosts file that's 406k, and was updated on July 31st, 2007. If you're running 2000/XP/Vista, be sure to read the Editor's Note about steps you must take to use a large hosts file.

Re:0 slowdown for me (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264637)

The problem with these big hosts list files are you don't know specifically whats been added and cannot reliably tell whether a server is not responding because of a host hit or a broken server.

When I find a slow ad site I add that single ad specific site to my blocked hosts.

I have a custom list of about 40 ad specific sites added at the moment and that generally handles it.

Re:0 slowdown for me (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264431)

Speed hasn't annoyed me enough to block anything yet, but ad servers sending content with a MIME type of text/plain did -- in Konqueror (at least, until I changed the option) every IFRAME with "text/plain" content brought up the "Save or open?" box, I have

since they were the main offenders. Since finding the appropriate setting in Konqueror I've not had this problem, I just get IFRAMES showing script .... most of the time.

no slowdown at all... (2, Interesting)

Endymion (12816) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263555)

...for me at least. Blocking Google Analytics, Doubleclick, etc, with noscript has made my browsing experience much smoother. Not only is it nice to not have the random pauses while it hits the ad-server, not running the javascript has helped the render time on some pages as well (even if you still run the javascript for the page itself!)

Here Here! (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263557)

Use FF and AdBlock Plus...

Re:Here Here! (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263605)

Better add Agent Switcher to the list... you'll need it when the web site owners see this discussion ;)

Re:Here Here! (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263793)

I am a website owner! I know there are better ways than ads to make money...that's what blackhat SEO is for! Ads and affiliate links on sites targeted at MSN users who don't know that they don't own a copy of "my internet" inside of their computer, which they think is only the monitor.

Re:Here Here! (1)

glop (181086) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264043)

Well actually, I was thinking that the Slashdot admins must be interested in what is said here. After all, it's a way to evaluate how people feel about ads, what they do about them and maybe figure out ways to convince most people to just let the ads display when they browse the web.
I have never used ad blockers because I was mostly accessing sites where they are not a pain in the ass.

Recently I have installed Noscript to (hopefully) enjoy safer browsing. A side effect is that I am no longer seeing most ads. Even the least intrusive ones. The Slashdot page I type this on as NO AD at all because of that and I feel slightly guilty about that.

But I really don't like the idea of allow GoogleAnalytics and Doubleclick's Javascript to run on my computer... So I am blocking ads without even trying to...

Use No-Script (1)

wal (56225) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263571)

No-Script [] does a great job solving this problem.

How much? nothing... at least for me (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263579)

I have not been bothered by ads since I installed AdBlock Plus (in Firefox) or Privoxy (using Opera). In fact it is really interesting (and cumbersome) to see the "real" internet whenever I have to browse the web in a computer that does not have such applications.

Other than that, this is a non story.

Nothing for you to see here, move along

Re:How much? nothing... at least for me (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264433)

What is even more interesting is that when you block adverts you can see the real page.

For example Fox News website something like 2-3 paragraphs is the story and the rest of the page is basically adverts or links away.

Display the page before the data's all loaded (2, Insightful)

mh101 (620659) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263625)

Yes, I had noticed it recently too, where the page isn't displaying because of waiting for a response from an ad server.

So why don't all web browsers start displaying the data they do have, rather than waiting for the ad server to submit it's data first? If there's a delay in downloading an image on the site or a style sheet it still starts displaying and when the image/stylesheet is downloaded the page is re-rendered to reflect that. So what is it about the page design that forces web browsers to not display anything if the delay is due to an ad server?

Re:Display the page before the data's all loaded (4, Informative)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263711)

Javascript is usually involved. Because Javascript is single-threaded and does in-order execution, if an ad uses Javascript, then waiting on that javascript to finish will hold up the rest of the page.

Re:Display the page before the data's all loaded (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264405)

Opera does it. For reasons unknown, neither Firefox nor IE do it.

opposite (1)

duranaki (776224) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263627)

I usually find that the ad's load and then the content comes along. Of course this could be by design and not because the content servers are slower.

Ads Not the Bottleneck (1, Insightful)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263629)

While the site may not fully load (See: Done) the sites contents loading should not dependent on the ad servers. Ad servers, as described in the summary, are not part of the site server, thus making it impossible for it to be the bottleneck of the site. Everything server side will load at its usual rate, and the calls to outside servers will be handled at the usual rate of the other server. One should not have an impact on the other unless something is designed that way, in which case it is the programmers fault more than anyones.

Sure I would rather have the quickest possible times to (Done), but if the only thing holding me up is an ad or Analytics, excuse me for not caring to much.

Re:Ads Not the Bottleneck (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264065)

Wrong. Ads *are* the bottle neck, especially on vanilla FF. How? Because these calls, made to google analytics from *my* computer, don't get responses. So the whole browser sits and waits, while I stare at a completely blank screen, watching the little bar at the bottom tell me what it's waiting on and where it's trying to get it from.

So, no. JavaScript enhanced advertisement services -do- slow the page rendering down, sometimes bringing it to a screeching halt. The only option is a: AdBlock + filter for google analytics or b: clicking refresh every 30 seconds or so, waiting for google analytics to come back (or a switch somewhere on my route to come back to life).

Although someone mentioned http pipelining turned on in FF. I just did that right now, hopefully it helps :]

High-CPU Flash Ads (5, Insightful)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263643)

What pisses me off are badly designed Flash ads. They use plenty of CPU power just to animate something completely useless. Last year Dell was running this ad on my local newspaper's site that took 80% of my CPU just to animate FALLING SNOWFLAKES. I complained to the website, and they took it down.

Some Flash ads barely take any CPU at all, and those are honestly fine by me, but some just hog my resources. The problem is that the people who DESIGN these ads typically have cutting-edge machines, so they don't know what it's like to run them on a shitty office machine. So, please, TEST your ads on a shitbox average computer before you force them on us!

Re:High-CPU Flash Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20263977)

More annoying are the movie preview ones that you can't stop. I went to a site with a vertical and horizontal flash banner with a loud preview, both for the same film. As they loaded slightly out of time with each other, it was horrible!

Re:High-CPU Flash Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20264311)

Video ads for a movie aren't so bad compared to having them used for an insurance company.

Re:High-CPU Flash Ads (1)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264351)

I would say that most sites' implementation of Flash is horrendous. Witness a site like Myspace, where if a person has a busy webpage, it's enough to cause my quad-core Mac Pro to seize up and require a restart (both Firefox and Safari put the machine into a state of deadlock). And lest one chalk it down to hardware or OS problems, I know other people with Core2 Duo-based machines (both OSX and Windows) who suffer the same problems. Probably what's happening is that people who have no business developing websites go into Dreamweaver and churn out monstrosities without any concept of what they're actually doing.

Re:High-CPU Flash Ads (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264361)

If the developers only test their sites against one browser, IE 7, what do you estimate the odds of them test against slow machines are?

Re:High-CPU Flash Ads (1)

Nezer (92629) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264375)

So, please, TEST your ads on a shitbox average computer before you force them on us!

And, whatever you might think is an average machine, divide it by at least two. Every large corporation I have worked for have been incredibly stingy with the hardware they issue. My last gig at IBM gave me a 7-year old laptop that I had to upgrade with my own RAM and hard disk to make it remotely usable (4 GB hard disk and 128 MB of RAM barly ran when it was new let alone last year). I fought tooth and nail to get that thing upgraded which they finally did the week I gave my notice.

My point is that companies are usually pretty cheap and will try to pawn off the shittiest hardware you can imagine on employees not realizing that the money they think they are saving is lost 10+ times over in lost productivity.

Re:High-CPU Flash Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20264419) [] will solve that problem. It makes sites much more enjoyable and quicker to load.

Definately a must if you use Firefox.

Re:High-CPU Flash Ads (1)

miskatonic alumnus (668722) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264629)

That reminds me of the time I had dialup with my home page set to Yahoo!. They ran this Flash Ad for SBC/Yahoo! high speed internet (with the little rocket ship) that took foreeevvvvveeerrr to download. Guess what? It worked.

I don't mind flashing ads on a web page... (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263645)

After all, the publishers probably want some revenue for their work. What I do mind are websites that stop loading when there's a problem retrieving ads.

Re:I don't mind flashing ads on a web page... (1, Insightful)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263989)

After all, the publishers probably want some revenue for their work. What I do mind are websites that stop loading when there's a problem retrieving ads.

I remember an internet before AOL and things were community driven. People published for the common good and there was no shortage of information. After AOL opened the floodgates of its business model, it took a crock of a Lawyer (C&S) to teach us what spam was about. If forced advertisements weren't enough, we now have lawmakers trying to apply their business models to what should be a simple network. What have we really gained?

Agreed (3, Interesting)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263661)

I run a few web sites and on some I have a geo-IP targeted ad that loads in an iframe. This particular ad is often a bottleneck so I wanted to solve it. My first idea was to run a wget on the server and cache the output to the hard disk so I can load the ad from the server instead of a 3rd party. This would also require one less DNS look-up.

Then I realized that it would completely fail because the ad is geo-IP. So the cache will always display the location of my server, and not the user.

The obvious solution is for ad companies to offer scripts to their affiliates that could be run on the servers hosting the sites. Of course that opens up new problems, like security issues. But if the code were open we could spot such issues.

In fact, that seems to me like such a simple and obvious solution. The only reason that ad companies don't do that (that I can think of) is that they want to appeal to people running on free hosts where they can't run server-side scripts. But there's no reason not to offer both IMO. I also thought that they wanted to keep things as absolutely simple as possible, and there's nothing simpler than saying "just copy/paste this into your html document". But any web master who rents hosting (shared or dedicated) knows how to upload a php script.

Re:Agreed (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264353)

I put some ads on my website using [] . They gave me four or five lines of PHP code (other languages were available). The PHP passes the requesting IP to the ad server (presumably for geo-location) and in return gets a block of HTML.

For people who couldn't run PHP, plain HTML was available, but they said you'd have to update it every couple of months.

Re:Agreed (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264647)

The PHP passes the requesting IP to the ad server (presumably for geo-location) and in return gets a block of HTML.

But that's no better than loading the script on their domain in an iframe. The only advantage I can think of is that the user's web browser doesn't have to resolve their server's domain. But if their server is down, or loading slow, your page is going to be slow. In fact, this could be worse than an iframe because at least with an iframe the rest of your page will load and only the iframe will hang. In the case of copying some PHP that calls up their server your whole page will hang at that spot. So unless it's at the very bottom of your page then you're screwed if their server goes down.

What a geo-ip ad company would need to do is give you an ip-to-country database to host on your server and a small script that resolves the geo-ip stuff on your machine. That way the only bottleneck is your server itself. If their ad servers go down or load slowly your site doesn't suffer.

Re:Agreed (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264477)

The fact is it is not a problem for the ad company. Why would they hire developers and support staff to handle an additional layer of complexity that would provide no significant increase in income. And like you said now there would be security issues on top of it. It would be a horrible business decision

That said, trust me when I say "any web master who ... knows how to upload a php script" is completely, utterly, and totally false. Back in my freelance days I can't even begin to tell you how many people got various levels of hosting without so much as a clue as to how a web page works. Feel free to try and explain what the scripts are, what ASP and PHP and whatnot are to someone who doesn't know what HTML is. They just fire up front page and drag pretty pictures and type on the screen and hit publish.

HOSTS File? (1)

ubernode (211798) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263683)

Me likey ABP but one can achieve the same effect via the HOSTS file: []

I noticed a major improvement in site load times upon using the MVPS file.


Re:HOSTS File? (1)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264141)

I prefer the HOSTS method as well. Doesn't matter what browser you use and it also gets rid of some of the ads in messenger programs as well.

It's amazing how much difference it makes.

javascript DEFER (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20263705)

DEFER is your friend. The scripts won't load until after the page loads.

Most of them only slow me down once (1)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263729)

Or as few times as it takes me to notice them. Anytime a new ad server is hanging me up, it winds up in my local named.conf. I've found that running an instance of named is a very efficient method of blackholing ad servers. It's also less hassle than trying to keep up with a hosts file or browser plugins on multiple machines. Plus, instead of playing whack-a-mole with the continuing onslaught of new subdomains ( is bad about this), you can just "disappear" an entire domain forever.

Google Analytics/Urchin has earned a spot in my dead zone file - for that damned .js they so love to serve up - along with countless others. And yes, it speeds browsing up to have that junk not load.

Re:Most of them only slow me down once (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264549)

I just installed the Google Load Time Analyzer from mozilla addons and now just flies go figure. Try it and see if your mileage varies, it's like they know your watching or something!

Adblock! (1)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263739)

like it, love it, live it

As the first post said.. use firefox :D (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263777)

Block the ads and no more slowness.

Why no studies will be done. (1)

gru3hunt3r (782984) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263789)

Nobody cares. (at least nobody that matters cares)

The fact of the matter is that the website operators who buys these products is technically illiterate, and their eyes glaze over when you talk about things like latency.

They don't realize that every piece of external javascript you reference slows down the site, and also decreases the availability (webpages that reference external scripts won't load if the script can't be loaded) -- and also introduce potential security xss holes if the remote site is compromised.

I spend my days in futility trying to explain this to business owners.
They don't care.

But I love the idea of writing a firefox plug-in that specifically blocks most analytics sites javascript from loading.. that's a darn spiffy idea.

Define Irony (1)

andrewtheadminguy (1053346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263821)

I just find it wildly hilarious that this story immediately followed the story about blocking Firefox users because of the ABP plugin.

Technological Darwinism (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263841)

I use Firefox, Adblock and Flashblock. The Intarweb isn't slow for me, or probably 1/2 the users on here. When it slows enough for Joe Mouthbreather on his Walmart $299 PC, people might start to care/redesign/etc. It's a self-correcting problem.

How to fix - browsing habits (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263843)

I know this problem exists, but through my browsing habits, I've found a work-around. What I do is open up three or four sites in tabs, and then open more in the background while I'm reading those. Because I spend upwards of a minute reading the first site, the others have loaded in the background before I finish reading the second or third page. So even if one or two pages have a long-load time, I barely notice.

Alternatively, use AdBlock.

they dont bother me at all (1)

Anonymous Admin (304403) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263863)


Re:they dont bother me at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20263979)

so is that like, localhosts neighbor? maybe we should just call .1 localerhost, and all the rest localishhost

Re:they dont bother me at all (1)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264525)

Why stop there. Block 'em all! []

They don't even get a chance.

Site Caches (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263871)

Maybe creating an ad model that locally caches the heavy part of an ad would be a good thing, ads could be updated with pushes or according to some schedule, but the main part of the add content could be served from whatever site is showing the ad.
In practice I don't really see slow ads as being a problem though.

Primary reason to block ads. (1)

BMonger (68213) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263877)

This is the main reason I block ads. Not because the graphics annoy me. Just because I hate waiting for the 8 ads on the page to load even though the main content has been served. I figure by blocking the ads I am doing a service to the ad company by reducing their bandwidth costs so they can be better utilized for people that enjoy clicking on ads.

Maybe if we all turned our ad blockers off for a day we could crash the ad servers due to the new high load? :)

Re:Primary reason to block ads. (1)

Axion22 (1144045) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264347)

Same here. Although I let NoScript handle most of the ad blocking. I do allow google-analytics, tho. What can I say? I'm ingrained to the Goog.

Re:Primary reason to block ads. (1)

Lookin4Trouble (1112649) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264395)

Maybe if we all turned our add blockers off for a day we could crash the ad servers due to the new high load? :)

Alternatively, why don't we re-set-up those oldstyle sites that when you open the page, immediately begins !REFRESH of every available graphic served out by xrandom(ad)server.

I'll have to search for the story, but I believe someone set one up for a crooked camera company last year, and brought them to their knees under a $X0,000 bandwidth bill

Let the slashdotting begin

what ads? (5, Funny)

ianare (1132971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263899)

What ads are you guys talking about, I see barely any at all. *turns off ad block plus, refreshes* Holy crap! How do you even go online like this? You might as well just watch TV.

I've never used Adblock. (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263903)

On the other hand I do use noscript. That way the sites that go out of their way to bombard me with obnoxious animated (or even worse: audio) flash ads never get any of my screen space, whereas the ones with a bit more respect for the user still show up.

Use Adblock with my subscription... (0, Flamebait)

JAB Creations (999510) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263921)

Use Mozilla Firefox... [] ...with Adblock Plus... [] ...with my filter subscription... p [] If you're seeing any advertising after using my subscription contact me and I'll be happy to update my list.

Re:Use Adblock with my subscription... (3, Insightful)

blueturffan (867705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264205)

I took one look at your website and immediately clicked away. No offense intended, but it didn't look like a site I would trust downloading anything from.

sloooooow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20263923)

day news
By the way: []
Blocking Ad's reduces bandwidth use at a company on a very large scale.

They Also Slow the Overall Computer (1)

CyberLife (63954) | more than 7 years ago | (#20263939)

I have problems with certain ads containing content that is so processing intensive it kills my computer's overall performance. I run a dual-headed configuration, and I tend to keep a browser running on my secondary screen for reference while playing WoW. Most of the time this isn't a problem, but certain ads on Wowhead cause a very significant drop in frame-rate. I know its the ads because if I refresh the page (same content, different ads) the situation goes away. If I keep refreshing until I get the offending ads back, my performance again falls through the floor.

Progressive loading (1)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264003)

Making sure your page renders well while it loads can help solve this type of issue.

Putting scripts at the bottom of the page, explictly specifying image heights/widths, and having a single stylesheet at the top of a page can all help.

Re:Progressive loading (2, Interesting)

SpankTheUser (1144053) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264329)

I work for a Very Large Online Publisher, and yeah, this is pretty much the key. There are few reasons for an ad or traffic counter to slow a properly designed page. In fact, displaying pages that render regardless of ads can turn out to be mission critical. A year ago, a story on one of our sites got Drudged, Slashdotted, Boing-Boinged, Dugg, etc. all at once. This is not totally unusual for us, and should not have been a problem for us to handle. However, the servers really started to slow down, and while the sites never went down completely, surfing our content got pretty painful. Culprit turned out to be an interesting interaction between users, ad servers, and our site. We had a slow loading ad that was appearing on most of our page. Because the HTML wasn't well designed, the page content wouldn't load until the ad appeared. Users presumably have figured this out, and would click re-load on their browser over and over again until the ad server finally responded to one of their requests. Result: actual number of requests to our servers grew by an order of magnitude over what we'd normally expect for a given number of actual users. We wrote up a presentation entitled "Slow ads + bad HTML = Company Left $XXX,XXX On the Table" and got the funding to re-code all our templates.

ComicGenesis experencing ad-related slowdowns (1)

strredwolf (532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264113)

I can say (being one of the admins behind CG), Comic Genesis is getting slowed down by ad service providers. While part of it is our end (how we serve the ads is a bit of a hack job), and we now wrap them in iframes just to get some speed back, they're still slowing things down.

And to those above: Firefox with Adblock plus does NOTHING because it has to load in some Javascript first to determine which ad provider to load in, and even then some ad providers chain to another one. Adblock has to wait until an image or flash is loaded up before it can hide it!

So yes, depending on the entire interaction and construction sites can be slowed down by ads.

Ads? or Webmasters? (2, Interesting)

Evets (629327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264143)

The big problem is that most webmasters design their sites in such a way that they are dependent on a third party product being available prior to their pages being rendered.

Google isn't always up. Plenty of times, I see issues because my comcast connection can't see the google servers even though everyone else can get to them just fine.

It's entirely feasible to write your page in such a way that it can display data before any other files are loaded. Serve up ads in an iframe, include tracking images in an iframe or as the last element of a page, etc.

But ads aren't the only thing causing page load problems. Third party widgets, crazy fat CSS and JS files, and pages with way too many images are still a problem.

That is the reason I use a filter (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264167)

Back in ages long gone, when firefox did not exist you had (still have perhaps) a company called doubleclick whose adservers would sometimes choke freezing the loading of the rest of the page. Why and how this happens? Do I look like someone who gives a shit?

I wanted it gone, and finally I bit the bullet and read up on squid and available plugins and setup my linux router to just filter all http traffic. Haven't looked back since.

Browsing without a blocker is like... well it just sucks. At times I am offcourse forced to browse the web without such blocking software and my god, the internet has become as bad as tv. Do they really think that if you saturate people with advertising to the point the original content becomes unusable people are really going to be more inclined to buy?

Apparently so. However not to me. This story offcourse neatly links to the story below about a site block firefox because of adblocker.

Well, who gives a shit. You went to far, now you gotta pay the price. If you don't get revenue from me, blame doubleclick and all those others who just pushed me over the edge.

At the moment I recommend bfilter to people who are fed up as well, it is browser neutral, works out of the box and does a lot more then just ad-blocking. Granted some flash bits require you to click them before they actually load but that is okay, because 99% of flash stuff I don't want to load.

So yes, ad-servers are slowing the net, by adding stuff to webpages I do not want. Can this be solved? It has been solved, not to the liking of those who depend on those ads being seen, but hey, fuck them. Do they care when I have to reload a page over and over again because some server borked?

Slow Ad Servers (1)

krskrs (886964) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264193)

I'm one of the few NY Times users who actually paid for extended access, yet on every every visit, the first story I click on (paid or not) stalls on the ad server. After 15 seconds or so, I close the tab and click on the link again, which immediately appears, presumably because the "viewed-ad" cookie is set.

SPLTH#%@T to them.

Blocked because I'm paying for the pipe (5, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264213)

My internet connection ain't free. If the ad folks want to use MY bandwidth they should pay me for the privilege.

I.... (1, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264243)

haven't... noticed.... slowdown.... personally.....

How about just fewer ads? (3, Insightful)

Mr. Fahrenheit (962814) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264333)

In my opinion we need a better model for serving ads -- or else these services need to add more servers/bandwidth.

I know that this doesn't speak specifically to the rest of your question, but IMHO, we need a better model than having ads. Just because we can have 'em doesn't mean we should all the time. It seems to me that the click-throughs, browser-tracking, etc., benefit the ad companies themselves far more than the individual content providers.

I realize I'm tilting at windmills here, but the current web ad-model has even city and local community web pages (like libraries) littering their pages with 'ads' for other parts of the same site, etc. It is really quite annoying.

/...and stay off my lawn!

A better model? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264377)

A better model for serving ads? My foot. How about stopping the ads in the first place? Problem solved.

adshow extension (0, Flamebait)

jmyers (208878) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264467)

How about a Firefox "adshow" extension that pops up every add in a separate window so they can all download at their own speed. Thats a lot better than been a crook and stealing content like adblock users.

ignorance, selfishness and jerkiness (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#20264669)

it is good when people are used to using free services from countless sites on the web, content on the web sites being free (as opposed to purchasing them or subscribing to them like in the printed press case), but when it comes to waiting for a few seconds more for an ad, they do not hesitate from blocking the entire mechanism that made the internet what it is today - ads.

please do so, morons. also preach others to do that too - so that majority of users can start doing the same.

so that way websites will be forced to go on pay to see/subscription models. what a fantastic way to go. from open, free internet to newspaper stand format.
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