Disable AMP in Firefox and Chrome with the Redirect AMP to HTML extension

For some, AMP is one of the worst things to happen to the internet. Google launched its cached lazy loading tech for the web about 2 years ago stating that AMP’s intention was to make the Web faster. Opponents of AMP fear that Google is using AMP to get even more control of the Internet than it already has.

AMP is an open project but just like Chromium, it is heavily controlled by Google. More and more sites started to adopt AMP because it is beneficial when it comes to a site’s representation in Google Search. Other search engines have started to display AMP links as well on mobile devices.

AMP was designed to make pages load faster on phones which are on mobile data networks by minimizing the amount of code that is used; a bare-bones version of the site is the result similar to sites that were processed with readability services but with ads and some other scripts supported.

While AMP works on mobile devices, there is an unfortunate side effect. Links which are AMP (accelerated mobile pages) enabled, open the mobile version of the page even when you access them on the computer. AMP links may be shared via email, chat and published on the Internet, and it will become more common that desktop users run into these links.

AMP pages look horrible on most computers especially if you have a large monitor. And you’re visiting the version of the page that is hosted by Google not the publisher’s website which is a privacy concern for some.

Sometimes media content (videos or images) may not load correctly. Need another reason?  I have even seen some RSS Feeds use AMP links.

If you’re familiar with SEO terms like responsive design, you should know that a website should scale correctly to the aspect ratio and resolution of the display that it is accessed from. A page’s rank in Search may be influenced by this; if it does not display correctly on mobile devices or the desktop, its rank in the search engine may be impacted negatively by it.

Of course, Google never really played by its own rules when it comes to its own properties. Should not AMP pages redirect automatically to the “real” page when a user using a desktop device opens them?

Redirect AMP to HTML

redirect amp to html

Since this is not the case currently, it is necessary to fix this using third-party tools. Redirect AMP to HTML is an install-and-forget sort of add-on which un-AMPs pages to deliver the actual URL, i.e., the article hosted by the publisher website. It is a web-extension which works on PC and mobile (Firefox only as Chrome mobile does not support extensions) It is open source and the latest commit was made a few months ago.

The add-on is available for Firefox and Chrome.

Does the add-on work flawlessly?

It worked perfectly on the links I tried. I ran searches on my mobile device and shared the AMP links so that I could access them on the computer. You can share using email, instant messaging, or any other share option that gives you access on your computer.

Note: The add-on will create a Cloudflare cookie. This is an “opt-out” cookie that is used for websites which support the Cloudflare viewer. It tells the website not to load the page in AMP, even before the add-on comes into play.

Can’t I just delete “amp” from the URL?

Sure that works, but not all websites use amp at the end of the URL like example.com/amp. Some websites use amp as a prefix instead of WWW (amp.example.com), others may have amp somewhere in the middle of the URL. It may take a few extra seconds to spot the amp tag, especially it is particularly lengthy.

There is currently no way to disable AMP completely using about:config in Firefox or other methods. It isn’t a protocol that can be toggled, it’s a framework that is implemented by webmasters on their websites. And like I explained above, each admin may implement it using a different method. Don’t forget to check Martin’s article about disabling AMP on mobile devices.

Google search results aren’t the only way you will come across AMP links. Any shared link may be an AMP link; in fact, some links posted to sites like Reddit are AMP links. About 30-50% of the links I get from friends/work contacts are either mobile versions (for e.g. m.example.com) or AMP links (mostly news websites).

I believe that a lot of mobile apps that use Chrome’s WebView component for their built-in browser use AMP as well. Telegram has its own Instant View which works better since it is restricted to the app. AMP on the other hand is independent and hence universal. Earlier this year, Google announced that it is testing AMP pages which are hosted on the publisher’s domain. But this has been restricted to Chrome.

Hopefully one day we will be able to block AMP completely.

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