Avoid Media Blocking by Firefox and Other Browsers

Recent versions of Firefox and other browsers sometimes block videos embedded in pages that are displayed in Pilot. There are some workarounds.

The problem is that videos from sites such as YouTube and Screencast may have URLs that aren’t secure. When those videos are embedded in a page in Pilot, which is secure, you get what’s called “mixed content,” meaning that some non-secure content is trying to be displayed in an otherwise secure page.

The culprit is a security feature, called mixed content blocking, which won’t allow content that’s not encrypted (the video) to be displayed within a page that is encrypted (the page in Pilot).

See: How does content that isn’t secure affect my safety?

Solution 1: Don’t Embed. Link Instead.

The simplest and safest way around the problem is to add a link to the video and make that link open in a new window. The link can be its own content item or it can be inserted into a page.

Content Item Link

In a content module, click the “New” button, then “New Link.”

Add a new link to content.

In the New Link box, provide the URL, the words that will be the link, and check the “Open in New Window” box. Then click “Create.”

Open in New Window

Link on a Page

You can insert a link on an HTML content page or anywhere else that you use the HTML editor, such as in a News item, a Quiz question or a Discussion description.

Click the “Quicklink” incon on the HTML editor’s toolbar.


Check “New Window” in the Quicklink dialog box.

Quicklink dialog box

Solution 2: User Option

When Firefox blocks mixed content, there is a small shield icon that appears in the Firefox location bar (just to the left of the URL). A user can click that shield and choose “Disable Protection on This Page.” Then the video will appear.

Disabling a content block in Firefox

The trouble is, that requires the user to notice that subtle little shield icon and know what to do with it. So you will have to include instructions in each course for Firefox users.

Unfortunately, there is no option to disable the blocking for a particular site. So users have to unblock each page they come to that has a video. In fact, even when you leave a page and come back to it, you have to disable the blocking again.

A user can disable mixed content blocking completely in Firefox. But it’s probably not a good idea to recommend that mess with their browser’s config options.

Of course, you could urge people not to use Firefox. But Firefox tends to be the best browser to use with Pilot overall, aside from the video issue. Plus other browsers are also implementing similar security measures.

Solution 3: Make the Videos Secure

With some videos, you can simply add https to the URL, or change the http to https, in the embed code and Firefox will no longer block it because it will be secure content and Firefox users will see the video without doing anything special.

YouTube embed code, for example, has a URL in it that starts something like


Find that in the embed and add “https:” in front of the two slashes:


Unfortunately, this does not work with Screencast videos.