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HTTP based ad blocker for Mac OS X

No hacks, no instability
Upgrade Safari whenever you like, no need to wait for an upgraded hack

GlimmerBlocker is no longer maintained and should no longer be used as web sites have migrated from using plain http to using https (i.e. encrypted) which prohibits modification by a proxy unless you resort to install custom SSL certiticates on the client.

You should use a browser extension instead.

It was made as a hobby project during 2007-2008 by Peter Speck. It features both a custom http server and http client and a Mac OS X control panel.

GlimmerBlocker did not only block requests but also allowed for adding custom css and javascript to the pages. It also allowed for modification of the page html before the browser receives the html, which made some modifications much easier than DOM based modifications.

About filters

A few standard filters are automatically added when you install GlimmerBlocker for the first time. So out of the box GlimmerBlocker provides most users with sufficient suppression of flashy ads. See the bottom of this page for description of the standard filters. Some of the standard filters are not enabled by default.

There are 2 policies governing the standard filters in GlimmerBlocker:

  1. I don't mind ads as a concept. I just hate animated and flashing ads which remove my focus from the content on the site. So Google text ads are not blocked.
  2. I would rather block too little than block too much: I prefer to have some ads to get past the filters rather than making some web-sites non-working by blocking too much.

Many of the Adblock Plus filters use the opposite policy of #2: they use overly broad blocking which makes a lot of sites non-working. The filters try to repair the damage using a lot of white-lists, but this repair only works for sites known to the filter author.

I would like the standard filters in GlimmerBlocker to be such that you can install GlimmerBlocker on your moms computer without having her call all the time because her favourite sites stopped working.

I don't visit every site in this world so if you have created a set of rules that improves the standard filters and they adhere to the above rules, I'll be happy to receive submissions for inclusion in the standard filters.

Please add a comment to the rule stating which site that made you create the rule, i.e. the site that have ads blocked by the rule. Having documented the reason for adding the rule 1) helps in the future to verify the rule is still needed as some ad agency networks go in and out of business rather quickly, and 2) some rules might influence sites you don't use yourself and knowing the original site makes it easier to improve the rule instead of just resorting to delete it without further ado.

Enhancing sites

Please note that GlimmerBlocker supports two kinds of filters: not only allows it blocking ads but it too supports improving sites. The "iTunes Store" filter below is such an example: it doesn't block iTunes or any other ads, it just enhances the user experience for users who prefer to keep iTunes in the background when clicking on a store link.

The YouTube rules:

  1. add a download link so you can easily download the video to your computer. It uses the name of the video as the filename.
  2. automatically switch to high quality (because that's just so much nicer). If you have a slow internet connection, you might want to disable this rule.


  1. one site uses the same page title for all pages thereby rendering the "History" menu unusable. GlimmerBlocker changes the title to a proper page name.
  2. another site uses horrible line breaking (inside words, without any dash). The rule makes the site use normal line breaking.
  3. many of the Danish news sites are horrible on an iPhone/iPod (non optimized layout and very slow). Only a single site provides a nice iPhone experience. The filter changes the layout of some of the sites to better suit an iPhone. Using these filters require setting a Mac running GlimmerBlocker as the http proxy in the iPhone wifi setup.

How to get notifications of new filters


Submitted Filters

Title: Facebook 'Like' Disabler
Author: Adam Stamper
Description: This filter prevents autoloading of 'Like' buttons & other social gadgets from Facebook servers. Instead a link appears to let you enable each gadget, giving you control over how much Facebook knows about your web usage.
Title: Facebook 3rd party block
Author: (GlimmerBlocker author)
Description: Blocks 3rd party sites from accessing your information on Facebook. See for more info. BTW. If somebody else would like to create/maintain Facebook filters, I'd be happy as I don't use it.
Title: SSL:ify Sites
Author: Fredrik Arenhag
Description: Force certain websites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox and Google) to use SSL, even the ones that have a tendency to generate non-SSL links on their web pages. This in response to the Firesheep problem spreading on the interwebs.
Title: Israeli sites
Author: Yoav
Description: Some filters for israeli sites
Title: Chinese sites
Author: Fingster Kevin
Description: Suppress ads on,,,,,,,,,,,,, etc.
Title: More ad servers
Description: Description of what the filter blocks.
Title: iso50
Author: Jay Williams
Description: Cleans up and speeds up the site by removing the side column and unnecessary javascript.
Title: SafeSearch
Author: Chris Silverberg
Description: Enforces safe-search for Google, Yahoo!, Bing
Title: adsubtract
Author: Steven Jay Cohen
Description: Ported adsubtract filters to Glimmer Blocker (where they make sense). Original format at
Title: Search using DuckDuckGo
Author: Ingmar Hupp
Description: Redirect Safari search box requests to DuckDuckGo. This permits using the search box for any search engine (something not easily doable in Safari itself). Using DuckDuckGo still permits access to other search engines via it's !bang syntax (
Title: iPhone/iPod optimizations
Author: Peter Speck (GlimmerBlocker author)
Description: This filter dramatically changes the layout of a few sites so they fit better on the iPhone, and in some cases are faster. The modifications are made only for Safari on iPhones/iPods and not for Mac Safari.

If you have published a filter which you think is interesting for other users, please send a description of the filter.


How to subscribe to a filter

Unlock the settings by clicking on the lock:

Then select "Subscribe to filter..."

and enter the URL:

Beware that most filters require you to trust the author and enable the filter to modify content.


Filters included in GlimmerBlocker

Title: Ad-networks
Description: This filter stop ads from 'doubleclick' and other companies/ad-agencies whose only purpose is to serve ads.
Title: Site-specific ad removal
Description: This filter stop ads which are specific to the individual sites.
Title: Intrusive/fragile ad filtering
Description: This filter performs more risky filtering which may easily break when sites changes design. This filter is not enabled by default. You have to enable it yourself.
OBS: This filter is not enabled by default. You have to enable it yourself.
Title: Site enhancements
Description: This filter adds enhancement to sites such as download links and embedded display of attachments. This filter is not enabled by default. You have to enable it yourself.
OBS: This filter is not enabled by default. You have to enable it yourself.