The Web Sucks

09 August 2019

The web sucks. The internet is almost entirely bloated and has been for a long time.

Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I loathe advertising and commercials. I hate ads on the web because they draw attention from the reason I visited a page and sometimes even fly across the screen or cover it up.

Then you have tracking cookies on the web. Almost every website has multiple trackers and things running in the background to fingerprint you. They follow you across the web from website to website to build a profile on you to serve you ads. There is so much more privacy-related stuff to go into, but I'll save that for another post.

In addition to all that bloat, websites put all kinds of nonsense on them. Stuff like little pictures, fancy menus, and features are everywhere. The bloat requires javascript which consumes your computer resources and CPU cycles. All of that equates to longer load times as your internet connection has to bring all that bloat in and your computer needs to process it. Then the web browser has to process and load it too. All of that takes precious time, and it's also loading stuff that you probably didn't want in the first place.

The web is practically unusable if you try browsing it without any ad blockers installed in your browser or device. If you have any blockers at all, turn them off or disable them and try surfing the web and you'll see what a bloated mess it is. If you have a slow internet connection or computer, you may not be able to surf it much at all.

I'll digress slightly here and put in a plug for Pi-hole. Pi-hole is an open-source project that provides network-level ad blocking for any device on the same network. It's the best thing to happen to the bloated mess we call the web. I use it at home, at work and when away from both with a Pi-hole setup with OpenVPN. Pi-hole has helped me keep some of my sanity while online. It has done so by blocking over 3 million ads and other known malicious websites, trackers, crypto miners, and so much more. It's not 100% effective, but it's damn close.

Regardless of using Pi-hole, the web is still a bloated mess of javascript and useless images. Background frames are loading other content from different sites into the one you're on and so much more. Some websites are still painful to load even on my streamlined network.

I can't agree more with the ethos and philosophy of the folks over at suckless.org and particularly on their page about how the web sucks. I've felt this way for many years and contributed to it myself with Wordpress for a while. I used to serve some ads on my site about ten years ago when it was the cool thing to do. I made a few bucks at it, but it took several years to accumulate to anything significant.

Now I draw inspiration from suckless.org and another person, Luke Smith, who is a self-professed minimalist with his own life and software choices. I had a post on the old website about minimalism in my own life. I'll get it re-posted on this new website in time. However, I'm getting back to minimalism some areas, such as my computing and web life.

The web sucks, and that is why my new website, this one, is now text-only with no ads, no javascript or any other fancy crap. I'm doing this more for me than anyone else because I enjoy writing and reading. When I look at my website now, I love it and love how it loads instantly even on a crappy 3G cellular connection.