Internet Communications

How do pop-up ads slow down your Internet connection?
Answered by HowStuffWorks
  • HowStuffWorks


  1. If a Web site uses pop-up advertising, the parameters for the ads are embedded into the site's pages. When your browser requests one of these pages, the code triggers a launch of the advertisement right in your face on the screen. The pop-up ad may or not be rich in content. It may be a simple image or it may be a window that pops up with video. As the content gets "heavier," the greater its demand will be on your bandwidth.

    All of that said, things have changed quite a lot since the mid-1990s, when pop-up ads were as ubiquitous as mosquitoes in a swamp. For one thing, content that hogs bandwidth is a bit harder to come by on the average Web page, because so many people today have high-speed Internet connections. For another thing, today's browsers almost universally employ pop-up blocking code that does exactly that: suppresses pop-up code from ever being able to launch a new window on your screen. It's all thanks to a man named Xavier Flix, who created a pop-up blocker called "PopUp Killer." The rest, as they say, was history. Pop-up blockers are now part of every Web browser's feature set.

    Pop-up blockers have gotten so good at their job, in fact, that many sites don't even bother employing them anymore. At least, they don't employ them for advertising terribly often. Some pop-ups are still very useful for activities such as filling out online forms and relaying quick tidbits of information. Forms and sites may, for example, ask a certain question or employ a new feature that they know people might have questions about. Often times, the questions can be answered by adding a "What's this?" link or a "Why do we need this information?" link that becomes a quick pop-up window that contains the answer. The user can digest the information quickly and close the small window at her convenience. Some "intelligent" pop-up blockers can tell the difference between "good" and "bad" pop-ups. For example, they may block only those pop-ups that are programmed to open when the Web page loads. If you click on a link intentionally, the intelligent blocker will not perform deactivation of that pop-up.

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