Are targeted ads stalking you? We agree; there are too many ads online. And they're too intrusive. Here's how to make them stop.
Don't you just hate those pesky ads that keep popping up and ruining your web browsing experience? I mean, all you're trying to do is check out your buddy's perfectly-filtered avocado on Instagram. But you have to watch that downright bizarre fly swatter ad for the umpteenth time.
News flash: It's time to install an ad blocker. But what's an ad blocker? It's exactly what it sounds like – it's software that removes or prevents ads from displaying on the content you want to view.
So, are all ad blockers made equal? Nope! Ad blockers vary on price and effectiveness. Today, we've hushed out some of the best ad blockers you can find this year. Here are the tools we'll be reviewing:
- uBlock Origin
- AdBlock Plus
- Adaware Ad Blocker
- AdBlocker Ultimate
- Poper Blocker
- CyberSec by NordVPN
And now you're wondering, what are some of the reasons for installing adblockers? Let's get right to it.
Reasons for Using Ad Blockers
Adverts are not inherently bad. After all, they educate, inform, and raise awareness. But ads can also become a nuisance, and most times, they are. If you're tired of dealing with intrusive ads that sully your browsing experience, you might want to invest in an ad blocker.
Besides keeping ads at bay, ad blockers also help protect you from phishing, spyware, malware, and pop-ups. Some ad blockers can also help you speed up your browsing experience and even avoid being tracked.
The Best Ad Blockers For 2020
Enough yammering, let's get back to what brought you here:
uBlock Origin (uBO) is a free and Open Source cross-platform adblocking tool with some effective anti-tracking features. The browser-based adblocker focuses on blocking ads with as little resource overhead as possible.
uBlock comes with filters for known advertising and malware sources. It also allows you to create custom filters. The tool is easy even for beginners to use. But it also gives loads of depth to those wishing to execute greater control over their browsing experience.
uBlock Origin is hands down one the best free ad blocker on our list.
- Lots of features
- WebRTC leak prevention
- Low resource consumption
- Sometimes blocks additional content
- No mobile or desktop app
AdBlock has a track record of over a decade. This tool is an extension for Chrome that blocks ads on both video sites and static web pages. If you're looking for the best ad blocker for Chrome, then this is it. The tool allows you to set up whitelists of sites and ads you'd like to allow. This way, only ads you like are displayed while you're browsing.
You can also use AdBlock to remove other undesirable aspects of web pages you visit. For example, you can block social network links and protect yourself from potential malware attacks.
AdBlock participates in the "Acceptable Ads" program. This means that there are ads that meet a certain threshold that it will allow through. But you can always disable this feature.
- Great interface
- Malware protection
- No WebRTC leak protection
- No desktop app
3. AdBlock Plus
As far as adblocking software goes, AdBlock Plus is the granddaddy. The app is still as popular today as it was when it first took the internet by storm many moons ago. It combines blocking technology that takes social networking ads, banner ads, and pop-ups out of your browsing experience.
AdBlock Plus comes with an easy to navigate interface that allows you to customize the ads filter. You can choose which ads you want to see and those you wish to block. The whitelisting feature allows you to tag your favorite sites so you can view ads uninterrupted.
- Anti-circumvention filter list
- Simple interface that's easy to understand and navigate
- Easy manual whitelisting
- WebRTC leaking
- Hidden Advanced option
AdGuard is a lightweight Chrome browser extension capable of blocking most ads across video streaming sites, static web pages, and even social networks. It also keeps pop-unders and pop-ups at bay. The extension allows you to block the tracking and installation of malicious software such as adware, dialers, and other malware.
One of AdGuard's biggest claim to fame is the ad blocker's ability to speed up your browsing experience. It does this by cutting back on needless clutter that comes with ads. This dramatically reduces the amount of bandwidth consumed by fluff content.
- Malware and phishing protection
- Stealth mode
- WebRTC leak protection
- Doesn't come with Google Analytics and Yandex metric scripts
- Blocks desired content in some sites
This stand-alone ad blocker is available for download on various devices. It also comes as a browser extension for both Safari and Chrome.
AdLock blocks most types of ads, malware, and malicious websites. And that's not all – it also removes ads on YouTube, apps, and games. Moreover, it stops sites from tracking you to protect your privacy.
One of the most outstanding features of AdLock is that it can by-pass ad blocker detection. This is something that website owners use to prevent commercial content from being blocked.
The AdLock browser extension is available for free. Windows and Android users, however, have to pay a subscription fee for the stand-alone app. A plan allows you to protect up to five devices concurrently. You can test it out risk-free with a free 30-day trial.
- Powerful and fast
- Block all sorts of ads
- High protection
- Saves Traffic
- Can block internet access completely
- Somewhat Expensive
- Little Functionality
Ghostery is primarily a tool for blocking analytics tools and web trackers that harvest information about you. Nonetheless, it's an effective ad blocker as well. The most appealing feature of Ghostery over other tools mentioned in this post is the detailed information about ads and trackers.
With the information that you get, you can remove specific elements or make wider sweeping unblocks. The only downside to using Ghostery is that you need to spend a bit of time to tell it how to work.
- Block more than 3500 trackers
- Comes with privacy protection features
- More than 18 languages available
- Doesn't block some video ads
- Monthly subscriptions only
- Mobile version is only available for Cliqz browser
- Not much added value in the premium plan
Adaware Ad Blocker is a simple process extension for Firefox and Chrome. It is one of the best ad blockers on our list. It blocks ads, including banners, video ads, and pop up ads.
It comes with additional security features that protect you against spyware, phishing sites, malware, and trackers. And the best part is, it doesn't slow down your browser.
- Simple and easy to use
- Comes with added security features
- Comprehensive ad blocking
- Doesn't have a mobile app
- Comes with too many default exceptions
AdBlocker Ultimate comes with both free and paid products. The free products include browser extensions for Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, and Edge. There's also a free browser for Android, referred to as Adblocker Ultimate browser. iOS users can use the Safari app on mobile. The Android browser comes with advanced premium functions.
The paid service is an app for Windows PC that allows you to block ads throughout the system, and not only on the browser. AdBlocker Ultimate helps you to block all malicious websites, trackers, and ads.
- One of the best ad blockers for YouTube
- Doesn't comes with a list of acceptable ads
- Free and Open Source
- Options are usually confusing to non-tech savvy
- Slows down your browser
- No app for Mac
Popup Blocker is a non-blocking browser extension for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers. It's a powerful ad blocker that automatically and effectively blocks all pop-up ads, new tab pop-ups, and pop-up overlays.
By using Poper Blocker, you get a cleaner and smoother browsing experience. Unlike other ad blockers on this list, Poper Blocker is focused on blocking pop-ups, overlays, and pop-unders. As a result, you might want to use it in conjunction with another ad blocker for effective ad-blocking.
The tool uses powerful algorithms to identify when a pop-up opens without your authorization. This makes it perfect for sites that have too many pop-up ads. It's the best free ad blocker for Chrome if you want to get rid of pop-ups.
- Free to use
- Effective at blocking pop-ups
- Only available for Chrome browser
- Not a comprehensive ad blocker.
Bonus Solution: CyberSec by NordVPN
NordVPN CyberSec is an internet filter and ad blocker created by NordVPN. This ad-blocking tool helps users block unwanted pop-ups and phishing websites. It checks every request coming from your web browser or computer against a list of blacklisted domain names and IP addresses. If there's a match, the request is rejected.
NordVPN Cybersec protects you from unwanted ads, malware, online tracking, botnets, and dangerous domains. But this only works when a VPN connection is established, and CyberSec is activated.
CyberSec comes with a NordVPN subscription. It's not an optional feature or an addon. It's available on Windows, Linux, and macOS. If you're an Android user, you can download the app from the NordVPN website.
- One-step solution for malware protection
- Limited settings and customization options
Types of Ad Blockers
So, how many types of ad blockers exist, and how do they work? Let's find out below.
- Browser Built-In
This is an ad blocker that comes in-built into a browser. For instance, Opera has this feature. You have to turn it on and manage the exclusion list before you can start using it.
- Browser Extensions
These are extensions that add ad blocking functionality to your browsing experience.
- Desktop Programs
This refers to apps to download and install. They're used in Mac and PC.
- VPN With Built-In Ad Blocker
A Virtual Private Network allows you to browse the web through an encrypted connection. But it will only prevent tracking. Ads still show up. A built-in ad blocker can help stop annoying ads.
- Network Ad Blockers
You can filter ads at the computer network level. It's easily achievable by blocking certain domain names at the DNS-resolution host file level or using a proxy. This type of ad-blocking requires some technical skills to implement, so it may not be a great choice for most people.
Benefits of Ad Blockers
So, should you get an ad blocker? We have compiled a few reasons why you might need one. Here goes:
Attackers often buy up space on popular websites and load them with malicious ads. This can harm your computer and your data. The fastest and easiest way to stop this is to block online ads from showing up at all. Reduce the chance of a malvertising attack by getting your hands on an ad blocker.
Stop Ad Servers from Tracking You
Other than delivering ads to your browser and servers also track your activity and collect all sorts of personal information about you. This information is sold to third parties and used to send you even more ads. Some ad blockers can stop our servers from tracking you.
Faster Page Loads
Ad blockers stop the text, imagery, and analytics code that comes with online ads from loading. As a result, your browser loads content much faster with fewer disruptions.
Save Money on Data Plan
If you like browsing using your mobile device, ad blockers can help you save money. Research shows that over half of your data is chewed up by ads. So, an ad blocker can be good news for your pocket.
Declutter Your Browsing Experience
The best ad blockers help you get rid of clutter. With no ads showing up, you get cleaner websites without annoying pop-ups and unwelcome sound effects. These ads are replaced by pleasant reader-friendly white spaces that give you a more user-friendly browsing experience.
How to Choose the Best Ad Blocker
We get it; you're spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting an ad blocker. Here's how to go about making the decision.
- Free vs. Paid
You have free ad blockers and others like AdLock with a subscription fee. You need to determine whether the fees charged are worthwhile. Does the app meet your needs? Does it deliver more for the money than what you'd get with a free ad blocker?
- Assess Your Needs
Narrow down your choices by coming up with a list of features that you need. This will largely depend on what you're trying to achieve with the ad blocker. For example, if you primarily want to stop pop-ups, then a tool like Poper Blocker should come in handy. Figure out what you need and grab the tool that ticks off all the right boxes.
Most pop-up blockers usually come with additional features. These might include the ability to create a custom filter to allow for non-obtrusive ads. Make sure to check out these features when choosing an ad-blocking tool.
You might want an ad blocker for a specific device or one that works across multiple devices and platforms. Go for what works best for you.
- Ease of Use
Go for an adblocker that's user-friendly and easy to use. You don't want to spend hours trying to configure a tool. You want an ad blocker that's easy to configure and works straight out of the box.
Take each ad-blocking tool for a test drive. You want to establish whether it's effective at blocking the kind of ads you want to get rid of.
Best Adblocker Apps FAQs
Which is the best free ad blocker?
There's no one answer fits all. You see, it depends on what your needs are. But based on our assessment, uBlock Origin gives you the perfect balance of functionality and features. It's the best free ad blocker on this list.
Are ad blockers safe?
Legitimate ad blockers are 100% safe. But there are plenty of scam ad-blocking tools that collect data about your browsing habits. They may even change the behavior of your browser.
What is the best free ad blocker for Chrome?
If you're looking for the best Chrome ad blocker, you should give AdBlock a shot.
Which is better AdBlock or AdBlock Plus?
Both AdBlock and Adblock Plus are great options for catching ads. After all, they made it to our list. But Adblock Plus is the faster one of the two. You might want to go with Adblock Plus if speed is an issue.
Are ad blockers easy to use?
Luckily, you don't have to be tech-savvy to use most ad blockers. The tools on this list are relatively easy to set up. It will be a breeze.
There you have it - a list of the best ad blockers for 2020. The thing is, ad blockers can do a lot for your browsing experience. They also protect you from dangerous websites, malicious adware, and trackers. You can't go wrong with our picks. Cheers to an ad-free year!