Opera browser nearly doubles load speed by integrating ad-blocking technology directly into the browser engine

Opera for computers is launching an integrated ad-blocking feature in its newest developer version, out today – the first major PC browser to do so.

Once enabled, the ad-blocking feature speeds up webpage load times by as much as 90%, compared to browsing with the option disabled.

The integrated ad-blocking technology also gives on average a 40% faster browsing experience compared to third-party ad-blocking extensions. The improved performance is possible since the filtering happens at the web-engine level, where the browser can fully control the loading process of the webpage – something extensions can’t do.

“Advertising fuels the internet, allowing for many services to be free for users. But, as our new research shows, most webpages today are significantly slowed down by bloated ads and heavy tracking. We don’t accept it – we want the web to be a better place for us all, as users,” says Krystian Kolondra, SVP of Engineering and Head of Opera for computers.

How the integrated ad-blocking feature works

Since the ad-blocking feature, available in the developer version of Opera for computers, is fully integrated with the browser, no additional download of extensions or plug-ins is necessary.

While browsing, users can easily choose to enable ad-blocking by selecting the dialog option.

In addition to the simple on-off button, the ad-blocking feature comes with a benchmark, so users, web developers and publishers can see how much ads and tracking software affect page-loading times. Users can also monitor their browsing by the day, week and total number of blocked ads.

About ad blocking

In recent years, the increasing number of online ads has become one of the major annoyances of web browsing, driving more and more people to use ad-blocking software. The number of people using ad-blocking tools grew by 41% worldwide and by 48% in the United States between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015, with 98% of those users being on PCs.

“Growing demand for ad-blocking tools tells us that the current approach to advertising is damaging user’s online experiences. It interrupts your web-surfing, slows down your browser, and, at Opera, we want to fix it,” Kolondra continues.

About the research

Opera tested the page-loading time of 66 popular websites, comparing the Opera browser with integrated ad-blocking technology to Chrome and Firefox, both with the Adblock Plus extension. Opera also tested the loading time on Microsoft Edge, but without an ad-blocking extension, as there was none on the market at the time of the tests.

The test measured the time needed for a browser to download the page and render it (precisely between the events navigationStart and loadEventEnd). The page-loading test was repeated 15 times for each page without cleaning the cache, to simulate regular usage. The test results may obviously vary depending on the hardware configuration and network latency (and actuals ads served). Opera’s test was conducted on a modern Windows 10 PC, 8GB RAM, SSD disk, and an Intel Core i7 processor on board. 

Read more about this release in our blog post.