The internet's a wonderful thing, but it can also be a royal pain. Fortunately, there's help. We've rounded up the 15 most annoying things about the web, and how to work around, ignore, improve or fix them.

Every day, it seems as though there a new type of web annoyance to deal with.

In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to worry about auto-playing video ads, leaping pay walls to read the news, fake emails phishing for our bank details, or Farmville spam from Facebook. Sadly that's not the case.

Here are the 15 things we find most annoying about the internet, and how to work around, ignore, improve or fix them.

You must register

Impressive as it as that sites can track your visits without any sign-in process, asking to cough up money after a limited number of articles - I'm looking at you, Financial Times - is silly if you're not a regular reader.

The fix
Some sites, such as the Wall Street Journal, will let you in via aggregators like Google News.

So if you're blocked, try a Google News search on the subject. You can also try snipping some of the text and plugging it into a search engine, in quotes, to see if another site has quoted or summarised the article.

Social networking overload

Between Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and now Google Buzz, there are just too many social networks to keep track of.

Sure, you could pick one and stick with it, but then you might only be paying attention to some friends while neglecting others. It's the worst kind of information overload.

The fix
Use a program that aggregates several social networks into one interface, such as Digsby or Meebo.

You might not get the full functionality of your favourite network, but at least you can keep an eye on status updates with minimal effort.

This ad is a video

Is it just me, or have websites with auto-playing video ads become more prevalent lately?

Congratulations, advertisers, you got me to listen to your pitch by sheer force. Only now, I hate your brand, if only I could remember what it was.

The fix
Here's a neat piece of Windows software called FlashMute.

It installs to your system tray and can deny Flash access to your audio hardware. Just click the icon or hit Ctrl-Alt-M to switch it on and off.

Note: Anti-virus programs tend to flare up when visiting FlashMute's download page.

The developer says it's because FlashMute uses the same method of hooking into your browser as some types of AdWare, but it's only intercepting sound from Flash and other web sources. Fair warning.

Broadband speed test

NEXT PAGE: I don't care about Farmville

  1. We show you how to fix them
  2. I don't care about Farmville
  3. Junk sites in search results
  4. This website is bogus