Managing Chrome Pop-Ups

Chances are, you block pop-ups in your web browser. After all, many are intrusive and interfere with reading. However, sometimes you need pop-ups for regulatory notices or functionality. This happened to me when I was going through an online course. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to allow pop ups on Chrome or block them .

Blocked Exams

The problem started when I went to take an online JavaScript test. This course offers a written component and an online test area. Sure enough, when I went to the exam page, I saw the error below. Something was blocking popups and preventing the module from opening.

Chrome blocked pop-up warning dialog.Pin
Chrome indicating the pop-up is blocked

As a user, you can control what to display or block. For example, you can block a website, but this is outside of the browser. However, Chrome allows you to block notifications and popups. When it came to popups, I figured there were two possibilities for this alert.

I ruled out the Chrome extensions, which left my Chrome settings. As it turns out, blocking pop-ups is the recommended setting in Chrome.

How to Check Chrome’s Pop-Up Blocker Settings

  1. In Chrome’s address bar type:
chrome://settings/content/popups
  1. This is a shortcut that is faster than navigating the Chrome menu and drop-down menu settings.
  2. A new dialog appears with two main areas: Default Behavior and Customized behaviors.
Chrome Pop-Ups and redirects panel.Pin
Google Chrome Pop-ups and redirects panel

[A] The Default behavior section allows you to choose whether you want pop-ups or not. It’s a simple radio button selection. The default is to block these.

[B] The Customized behaviors section allows you to get granular. For example, I can explicitly tell Chrome to allow pop-ups on a domain basis. Conversely, I can block them too.

Note: If you have Google Chrome set up to Sync everything in your settings, your changes will be copied to other shared devices.

How to Allow Pop Ups on Chrome for the Current Site

The good news is that the process to allow a specific popup is easy if you’re on the web page. Although I was prompted by the vendor, my Chrome browser also provided a clue in the address bar.

Chrome indicator that a pop-up has been blocked.Pin
Blocked popup notification

You’ll see a small red square with an X overlaid on the icon’s lower right corner in the screen snap above. That red mark indicates Chrome is blocking something. And for a brief moment, the browser would show “pop up blocked.”

  1. If you click that browser icon you’ll get a small window with more details.
Chrome blocked pop-up dialog.Pin
Pop-up details with domain and options
  1. Select the radio button to Always allow pop-ups.
  2. Click the Done button.
  3. Within the Customized behaviors section, you’ll see the new domain listed under Allowed to send pop-ups and use redirects. Chrome will automatically append a colon and port number to the URL. Port 80 pages use HTTP, whereas HTTPS pages use port 443.
Newly added domain to Customized Behaviors.Pin
Domain and port number

How to Block Popups on Chrome for Specific Site

The process for blocking pop-ups using an exception list takes a couple of extra steps but is still easy. It’s very similar to managing Chrome notifications. The main difference is you have to know the web domains to block, such as unitedwidgets.com. You would use this process if you you changed your Default behavior setting to Sites can send pop-ups and use redirects.

  1. In Chrome’s address bar type:
chrome://settings/content/popups
  1. This is a shortcut to bypass some advanced settings and get you to the correct browser settings faster.
  2. Scroll down to Customized behaviors.
Add button to block pop-ups by domain.Pin
Button to add a blocked domain
  1. Click the Add button. A small window appears prefilled with an entry for example.com. The [*.] before the site or domain name is to declare a wildcard. This saves you from defining protocols (HTTP/HTTPS) or subdomains.
Add a site text box.Pin
Add a site with wilcard example
  1. Replace the [*.]example.com example entry with the one you wish to block. For example, [*.]unitedwidgets.com.

If you’re unsure what to enter, I’d suggest blocking all sites and going to the site in question. Chrome should block the pop-up, and you can use the method outlined in How to Allow Pop Ups for the Current Site.

How to Change a Site’s Setting

Sometimes, mistakes happen, and you might need to make a change to a previous setting. For example, you might have selected to allow a popup when you wanted to block it. Chrome understands the current setting and will provide an option for the reverse. For example, I could easily block the allowed domain below using the drop-down menu.

  1. In Chrome’s address bar type:
chrome://settings/content/popups
  1. Scroll down to the desired section such as Block or Allow.
  1. Click the 3 vertical dots (More Actions) to the right of the entry.
  2. From the menu, make your new selection.
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Additional domain options

Why Do Pop Ups Keep Appearing

If the Chrome pop up blocker is not working, there are several scenarios to explore:

  1. Try to determine if the issue is for one site or all sites. If it’s for one site, you most likely mistyped the domain when adding it to your exceptions list, or maybe you set it using an Incognito session. If it’s all sites, then perhaps your global setting got reset.
  2. If you’re using Microsoft Windows and Google Chrome is having multiple problems in addition to pop-ups, try Google’s Chrome Cleanup Tool
  3. You might have malware. If you suspect this, I would also check to see which apps have access to your Google account.

The bottom line is whether you want to allow pop-ups or block specific sites, Google Chrome has several ways to assist you.