Blocking Web Fonts for Speed and Privacy

The developer of a website has two options for selecting a font in which he or she would prefer you to read the site’s text. They can choose from a set of “web safe fonts” that are assumed to be locally installed on most of their visitors’ devices, or they can direct the visitor’s browser to download a custom web font before rendering the page. Since the selection of fonts that are available by default on substantially all devices is so narrow, most developers with any desire for consistent and quality design will opt to use a web font.

While a designer can go to great lengths to tweak how a site looks for the visitor, like anything else on the internet, the final power is up to the visitor and his or her browser configuration. You have the choice of allowing your browser to download web fonts; and, since downloading web fonts can have some negative impact, I choose to block many of them. If you care to do the same, the rest of this piece will explain why and how.

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