How To Block Newsletter Popups From Blogs

Anyone who reads this blog knows that the biggest issue I have with many blogs these days are newsletter subscription popups. Although I hate them with a passion, I didn’t mind as much when they showed up at the bottom of the content. My gripe was always that the popups came without giving us the opportunity to even know whether or not we wanted to subscribe to any of the content, and my solution had been to try to never go back to those blogs ever again.


NoScripts menu

That turned out to be futile. I like sharing other people’s content but when you’re on Twitter, you’re rarely sure where a link is taking you. So I’d often end up on blogs I said I wasn’t going to visit again because of the popups, which was irksome because the topics seemed like they’d be really good.

I finally have a solution, it works every time, and I’m going to share it with you. The thing I want to tell you up front is that you have to be willing to either do some work on the back end or just ignore a few things here and there, but it works, it works every time on every blog or website… at least if you use Firefox, and probably on Chrome also.

What you have to do is add an extension to your browser called No Script. It blocks javascript, Java and other plugins from working on your browser, which in effect means no popups or ads or anything else you’re not in the mood to deal with. You can override the extension by adding the website to a whitelist, or you can temporarily allow a website to show everything without blocking it so you can see the types of things that might be on the site.

What happens is you go to a site and you see the content but nothing else that’s javascript related. At the bottom of the page you’re on will be this yellow bar that will tell you how many scripts are being blocked automatically by the extension. At that point you can decide a couple of things.

One, you can decide to either temporarily allow a site or permanently block it. You can always remove the permanent block in the extensions settings but I’d think hard before doing that. I’m only blocking a few sites, those being Forbes & Inc, which makes you turn off your Adblocker before they’ll let you see their content. I figure I’m not doing that, so why even keep me on their sites, right?

Two, you can decide you want to whitelist a site because you visit it often and trust it. In that case you highlight the address in the address bar, go to the extension in your browser and click on the options button, go to the whitelist menu, paste the address in and push Allow. When you go back to the site you’ll see the page as you expected to see it.

Of course there are some sites automatically whitelisted. Those include Google and Facebook. You can decide to remove those if you wish but why would you unless you’re never going to use either of them. 🙂

The one thing I’m still researching is whether there’s a way to allow certain javascript items to show on sites you visit. For instance, it blocks are share buttons visually on sites and blog pages, although if you’re astute enough to find them and click on them they’ll still work.

This extension is only for Firefox. Chrome has its version of the same extension called No-Script Suite Lite, and it does the same thing as No Script does for Firefox. The only reason I’m not adding it to Chrome is that I don’t use Chrome that often, and the only time I actually do is when I want to see some Flash content that Firefox won’t show (I removed Flash from my computer last year) and, for some reason, Chrome shows it. However, if you add this script you might have to either temporarily or permanently whitelist the site so you can view Flash content.

It took me a while to find this but I finally did. I’ve been talking about this irritation since 2008 when popups were in their infant stage and now I can breathe freely once more. Some people might say this is an inconvenience and yet many people are using Disqus or other inconveniences on their blogs which includes Captcha and moderation of comments; this proves we all have our bugaboos. If anything, this will allow me to share more content because now I won’t know which sites have popups on them, so it won’t be my problem anymore, and it won’t be anyone else’s problem if they decide to add either of these extensions.

24 thoughts on “How To Block Newsletter Popups From Blogs”

  1. This is awesome, Mitch.

    And I silently chuckled when I saw that you’d written about this because I know how you feel about pop-ups. I don’t like them either. Some don’t bother me as much, but others – like the ones that take up the entire screen and prevent you from seeing anything else are intrusive. The ones that show up as you’re reading disrupts my flow and breaks my concentration.

    The only ones that don’t annoy me are the ones that show up when you’re about to leave. As far as Forbes, I’d noticed that as well, so I have no issues just not spending any time on their site.

    Thanks for putting this together. I’ll have to re-examine everything and use the tool when I have more time to play with it.

    1. LOL; thanks Dana. I’m with you, if they stayed at the bottom of the page I probably wouldn’t be so irritated. Thing is, everyone says “my popup only shows up the first time you come” and that turns out not to be true. Since popups are the thing I hate the most, this is a perfect solution for me. It’s easy to add websites to it that I don’t normally have issues with so I’m good there also. All around I’m feeling it’s a win! 🙂

  2. Good on you for telling us about this browser extension Mitch. Too bad that I use Safari. I must have a look though because I’m sure that have something that will do the same job.

  3. Very cool, Mitch! You’re offering a solution to those who eschew popup subscription intrusions!

    As for me, I just click the “x” to move them out of the way. I find it interesting to see what is written in the subscription boxes. Different sites approach it differently!


    1. Thanks for commenting Terri! The problem is that sometimes you can’t find the X, and even there it doesn’t stop those popups that drop from the top when you think you’re about to be able to read the content. Ugh; all these suckers grind on my “last” nerve, and I don’t have a lot of them left. lol

  4. I hate those popups when I reading a blog or a website. I usually close those popups immediately without looking at them.

  5. Hi Mitch,

    A good solution for stopping the popups.

    Even though it may help to get notifications and updations. Sometimes it will lead to irritation since we are working it makes us distract. If we want that, we can do by our own subscribing.

    Thanks for the nice article.

    1. I don’t believe “updations” is a word. lol As for the other part, if people still want to get those updates all they have to do is whitelist the site and they can get those & popups to their hearts desires.

  6. Thats a great solution for blocking those irritating popus..

    Really informative one!!!

  7. No problem Darrell; I know there’s lots of folks who are irked by these things, and we were all hijacked by them if we still wanted to see their content. No longer; I feel free! lol

  8. Newsletter popup is great way to increase the subscribers but it is also very annoying that you are forcing the visitor to subscribe. This post is helpful and you have done a goo job. But Optin Monster will hate you for this.

  9. The popups seem to be so popular it is crazy. Mainly many businesses use them to get you to sign up for newsletter. Some very high authority websites use them. I will never use it on my site.

    1. Me neither. Just this morning I was trying to look at something on my phone and this huge popup showed and didn’t have a way to close it without subscribing; ugh!

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