Ad blocking

Ad blockers fulfill a legitimate need to mitigate the significant downsides of advertising from tracking across the internet, security implications of third-party code, and impacting the UX and performance of sites.

At Read the Docs, we specifically didn’t want those things. That’s why we built the our Ethical Ad initiative with only relevant, unobtrusive ads that respect your privacy and don’t do creepy behavioral targeting.

Advertising is the single largest source of funding for Read the Docs. To keep our operations sustainable, we ask that you either allow our EthicalAds or go ad-free.

Allowing EthicalAds

If you use AdBlock or AdBlockPlus and you allow acceptable ads or privacy-friendly acceptable ads then you’re all set. Advertising on Read the Docs complies with both of these programs.

If you prefer not to allow acceptable ads but would consider allowing ads that benefit open source, please consider subscribing to either the wider Open Source Ads list or simply the Read the Docs Ads list.


Because of the way Read the Docs is structured where docs are hosted on many different domains, adding a normal ad block exception will only allow that single domain not Read the Docs as a whole.

Going ad-free

Gold members may completely remove advertising for all visitors to their projects. Thank you for supporting Read the Docs.


Previously, Gold members or Supporters were provided an ad-free reading experience across all projects on Read the Docs while logged-in. However, the cross-site cookies needed to make that work are no longer supported by major browsers outside of Chrome, and this feature will soon disappear entirely.

Statistics and data

It can be really hard to find good data on ad blocking. In the spirit of transparency, here is the data we have on ad blocking at Read the Docs.

  • 32% of Read the Docs users use an ad blocker

  • Of those, a little over 50% allow acceptable ads

  • Read the Docs users running ad blockers click on ads at about the same rate as those not running an ad blocker.

  • Comparing with our server logs, roughly 28% of our hits did not register a Google Analytics (GA) pageview due to an ad blocker, privacy plugin, disabling JavaScript, or another reason.

  • Of users who do not block GA, about 6% opt out of analytics on Read the Docs by enabling Do Not Track.