Online Security

The Pros and Cons of Disabling JavaScript on Your Browser

Story Highlights

  • How Does JavaScript Work?
  • Disabling JS: Positives
  • Negatives of Disabling JavaScript
  • How to Disable JavaScript
  • Restore JS in Your Browser
  • Wrap Up

As some computer savvy individuals have noted, there is a whole new internet out there once JavaScript is disabled. This programming language is responsible for several small inconveniences that come with scrolling the web. That includes regular ads, modal and pop-up windows, and scrolling long pages.

Turning off JavaScript sounds dreamy, but there are future elements that you need to consider before you take that plunge. For example, JS, although responsible for irritating ads, is also what gives webpages much of their appealing appearance. Also, do you have the know-how to deactivate it without affecting your browser and internet experience?

Therefore, you must consider the pros and cons of disabling this programming language, as well as what to do if you change your mind. 


Content Overview

How Does JavaScript Affect Your Browser?

JavaScript is one of the simplest programming languages designed for the internet. You can find it on webpages and popular browsers like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari. Your mobile phone’s web browser supports JavaScript as well, which can be annoying when you get tons of pop-up ads as you’re trying to navigate the page.

However, despite these annoyances, one of the primary purposes of using it is to create a user-friendly experience that other programming languages can’t provide.

Some new uses include updating webpages to new and friendlier formats; and enhance user interface (menus and dropdown boxes, 2D and 3D graphics, interactive maps, and video players). You can even produce and upload animations.

You might have heard of this kind of usage since it is called client-side JavaScript. Developers of browsers and webpages use it to create dynamic content. Unfortunately for them, you don’t always want to see it. 

“Any app that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.”

Jeff Atwood, software developer, co-founder of Stack Overflow 

Pros of Disabling

Disabling Javascript can be quite beneficial as it allows you to improve your online activity and browsing speed.

  • Security: The biggest issue with JavaScript is suspicious webpages. Furthermore, client browsers can insert malicious code that directly affects your computer.
  • Browser Support: Not every browser is capable of running JavaScript effectively because each one interprets the code differently. This can result in inconsistencies when it comes to functionality and the overall interface.
    By disabling the programming language, you ensure that your browser can to read and load pages accurately, especially if you like to visit older websites.
  • Disabled Plug-ins and Cookies: A significant concern for many computer users is that companies can track internet usage and then sell that data to other businesses. When JavaScript is disabled, many of the cookies responsible for monitoring your personal user information no longer function. This reduces how much companies can track you and definitely improves peace of mind for the average user.

Cons of Disabling

There are some disadvantages you need to consider before you deactivate JavaScript in your browser. Bear in mind these will vary based on your personal preferences, but they can have a significant impact on your browser’s functionality.

  • Confusing Presentation: One downside of disabling JavaScript is all of the shortcuts, bullet points, and other organizing information disappear. This can make webpages confusing or difficult to read. 
  • Fewer Media Access: Another issue is you can lose access to the images, videos, maps, and graphics present on webpages, which potentially limits media access and visibility.
  • Less Maneuverability: JavaScript always refreshes websites and searches to make it easier to scroll through the information. Once it’s off, you will have to flip through tons of “Next” links to see images or content.

How to Disable JavaScript

If you decide to disable JS after carefully reading the pros and cons, here’s what you need to do. You can try it out temporarily without making too many alterations to the browser’s functionality. The process differs depending on each browser, so make sure you know which one you’re using.

How to Disable in Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer isn’t as popular as it once was, but it is still quite common. If you’re tired of using JavaScript, do the following:

  1. Click on the “Gear” icon to open Options, followed by “Internet Options.”
    IE options
  2. Then, hit “Security,” and “Custom Level.
    IE security
  3. Next, scroll to “Scripting” and choose the box that says “Disable.”
    JS IE disabled
  4. Congrats, you have successfully disabled JavaScript.

Deactivate JavaScript in Google Chrome

Google Chrome has rapidly become the most popular web browser. But if you’re not too fond of JavaScript on Chrome and you wish to uninstall it, click on the icon that looks like a wrench.

Then, pick “Options” > “Under the Hood” > “Content Settings.” Now, click on “JavaScript” from the dropdown menu followed by “Do not allow on any site.


How to Turn off in Firefox

Firefox is easy to use, and unblocking JavaScript is even simpler. All you need to do is head over to “Tools,” and then press “Content.” From there, uncheck the button that says, Enable JavaScript.


Disable in Opera

Not many people use Opera anymore as their default browser of choice, but the process to turn off JavaScript is still simple and easy to understand. You should click on the Menu icon, pick “Settings,” and then select “Quick Preferences.” You then uncheck the box that says, “Enable JavaScript.


Turn off JavaScript in Safari

If you wish to turn off JavaScript on your Safari browser, it won’t take much of your time. Just click on the “Settings” icon > “Preferences” > “Security.” You then uncheck the box that says, “Enable JavaScript.


How to Restore JavaScript (if You Change Your Mind)

We can sometimes take a lot of things for granted, and JS is undoubtedly one of them. But don’t dwell on any possible misjudgments and take action to rectify what you did. If you wish to re-enable JavaScript in your browser, the process is as easy as pie. Simply follow the above steps depending on which browser you’re using.

But this time, instead of clicking Disable” or unchecking “Enable JavaScript,” you must do the opposite and turn it back on.


Conclusion

JavaScript is not for everyone. This programming language has been around for over a decade and serves to create a user-friendly experience. But the pop-up ads are annoying, and potential security risks are downright terrifying for many people.

If you’re one of those users, and you’re not worried about the overall flow of webpages, then disabling JS should be beneficial. Just remember to weigh all of the pros and cons before making a decision. And you can always reactivate it in case you change your mind about the whole thing.

Is JavaScript disabled in your browser? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

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Ralph Peterson

Ralph was bitten by the tech bug from an early age. Today, he is a cybersecurity geek who is obsessed with online privacy. Peterson is also a hardcore streamer of the latest TV shows and sports tournaments. We constantly hear him shouting at his screen whenever there's a live Premier League match (or a bad ending to a TV series like GoT).

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