A recently-discovered workaround allows browser users to watch YouTube videos without any advertisements.
All that is required is to add a period after the “.com” in the address bar and YouTube videos should no longer load pre-roll or mid-roll ads.
This can be done directly from the YouTube home page or on the specific URL of a monetised video that is currently open.
Navigating to other videos from within the same tab keeps the period in the URL, which means any other monetised videos will also be ad-free.
The workaround is possible on desktops and on mobile browsers, granted the website is being viewed in desktop mode.
Cause of issue
According to the Redditor, the bypass is supposedly possible because websites neglect to normalise the hostname.
This means the content is still served, but there is no hostname match on the browser, which breaks cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) and cookies.
Additionally, bigger sites use a different domain to serve adverts with a whitelist that does not contain the extra dot, the user explained.
YouTube is not the only site which is affected by the workaround, as it also allows for bypassing paywalls on certain news sites.
The Reddit post had over 4,700 upvotes at the time of publication, which means YouTube is likely already aware of the issue and could be working on a fix for the issue.
It should be noted that paywalls and video ads are an important way for online news publications and creators to earn revenue for their work.
The only legal way to watch ad-free YouTube is to pay for a Premium subscription, which is available in South Africa at R72 for individuals or R110 for families.