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Thanks to Reddit, you can now block YouTube ads without going through any hoops

YouTube Premium on a Galaxy S9
YouTube Premium on a Galaxy S9 (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A simple URL trick can allow you to bypass all ads on YouTube.
  • The nifty workaround was first posted on the r/webdev subreddit.
  • It requires you to add a period after the .com in the video URL.

While Google recently expanded its Premium service to 14 more markets earlier this week, what if you wanted to avoid all ads on the platform...for free? No, I'm not referring to adblocking extensions — though they certainly are one avenue to do that — or any other complicated workaround, for that matter.

Instead, as a Redditor recently discovered, avoiding ads on a YouTube video is quite literally as simple as adding a period to the video URL. Period. That's it. So, for example, instead of going to youtube.com/video, all you have to do is change the URL to add a period after the .com and before the forward-slash as follows: youtube.com./video. And voila! Your video will no longer display ads.

As the illustrious u/unicorn4sale explains:

It's a commonly forgotten edge case, websites forget to normalize the hostname, the content is still served, but there's no hostname match on the browser so no cookies and broken CORS - and lots of bigger sites use a different domain to serve ads/media with a whitelist that doesn't contain the extra dot

Even better, this trick works not just for YouTube but also for many other sites that have paywalls. The same Reddit thread cited The New York Times' paywall as yet another example of a website whose URL is not normalized.

And the trick works both on the desktop and on mobile devices, although for the latter, you will need to request the desktop version of the site for this trick to work.

Alas, you should probably enjoy the nifty little workaround while it lasts. Given how much publicity this has gotten. YouTube — and many other websites, for that matter — will probably be fixing this oversight sooner rather than later. Until then, enjoy your ad-free utopia.

YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium not only lets you access YouTube without ads, but it also gives you unfettered access to the company's YouTube Music library, as well as access to YouTube's original content. Besides, you also get background play on mobile devices and can download videos to watch them online.

9 Comments
  • That'll get fixed and short order
  • So it's okay to block YouTube ads, but it's not okay to block Mobile Nations ads? What's the word I'm looking for here.....?
  • Yeah, it's a bit odd that one company that relies on ad revenue and frowns on blocking ads promotes doing it to another company.
  • This. Where do I put the period on android central?
  • Adblock seems easier to me, so does paying Google for music instead of paying Spotify or Apple.
  • Adlock wasn't working for me on YouTube ads.
  • Or download YouTube Vanced on mobile devices. No ads and runs in the background all for free.
  • FWIW, YouTube Premium is absolutely great value. Google Play Music/YouTube Music as well as ad free YouTube and YouTube exclusives. An absolute bargain.
  • I use NewPipe instead of YouTube. No ads to deal with — period. NewPipe allows you to download videos as well as audio of the videos. For Windows 10, I use MyTube. However, videos downloaded with this app can only be viewed in MyTube AFAIK.