No website or online business likes ad blockers.
But despite that, they have become an essential part of our toolset to safely navigate the world of the internet, especially in the last couple of years.
Ad blockers and their ilk have helped people to not only get rid of ads but also enhance their internet performance.
Not to mention that ad blockers also provide a little bit of privacy and security as well.
So where is this boom in ad block popularity taking us?
Well, for now, the huge demand has resulted in a hundred of these popping up on almost all platforms.
In fact, we have reached a stage now where it has become quite difficult to pick out the best ad blocker for a given user.
And without a doubt, that makes things way more interesting than the days when you only had Ad Block and Ad Block Plus.
Now, you have so many options and so many different options that sometimes you download an ad blocker and find out that it is not meant for users like yourself.
We are not going to ignore the fact that at one point or another in our lives, we have been fortunate enough to face the irritating and sometimes dreaded ads pop up.
We’re talking about nasty pop-ups that intrusively try to feed you a ton of advertisements.
On that note, we actually still have companies that deploy pop up advertisement techniques.
Most of the time, you will find that such companies have less interest in satisfying the reader of their site and more interested in making money off their visitors.
We would say the same for all those websites that make use of auto-play audio and video files
Some websites clutter the user’s display and fill it to the brim with text, audio, and animations.
In the end, all that does is it slows down the user’s computer system and inevitably eats up the given user’s bandwidth.
Both are nasty things that you should stay away from.
This is where ad blockers come into play.
Ad blockers are nothing but software applications that are specifically designed to assist consumers who want to stay away from brands manipulating them.
Ad blockers, as the name suggests, keep users away from advertisements.
They usually wipe them off the user’s screen and the user never even knows if there was an ad on the page that he/she is visiting.
Ad blockers provide the greatest benefit to desktop users.
More specifically, desktop users are able to see improvements almost immediately once they set up their ad blockers properly.
Most of the time, the improvements come in the form of fast webpage loading times along with less clutter and less chance of the user landing on a nasty website.
However, ad blockers have now started to perform even better on mobile devices as well.
Laptop users are not left behind either as they do can use ad blockers pretty much as easily as desktop users.
Not to mention, ad blockers also help users conserve the battery life of their internet-enabled devices.
We will forgive you for thinking that ad blockers only exist to block ads and maybe speed things up.
Modern ad blockers have a ton of more functionality than that.
Of course, because of their name, some users feel that ad blockers only block ads and do nothing else.
But if you sign up for the right ad blocker, you can actually get a lot more done than just block ads.
Ad blockers have capabilities that you would not even know existed.
As alluded to before, ad blockers are now good enough to protect online consumers from various forms of malicious advertisements.
These malicious advertisements are more commonly known as malvertising.
It goes without saying that cybercriminals utilize techniques such as malvertising to disseminate code which is not only harmful but also dangerous.
Most of the time, cybercriminals do so by having a website redirect the given user to another website which they have already compromised.
At other times, cybercriminals piggyback on stealth downloads.
This method works best on users who are unsuspecting.
Such victims can lose a lot of important information without ever performing a single click on any advertisement.
Today, ad blockers have managed to prove themselves as key players and have played an instrumental role in the never-ending battle for more security and privacy.
Websites have played their part as well.
They have done all that they can to siphon off user data to data centers of the highest bidder.
That is not something which excites most online consumers.
A growing number of companies publish advertisements that have become notorious for tracking each and every click that a given user makes in the online world.
Not only that, but these companies also build profiles on such online consumers.
These profiles have detailed information regarding the given user’s interests, likes, and dislikes.
The information that these companies collect on users include,
- The user’s friends
- And a ton of other stuff.
How many types of ad blockers?
Lots, let’s start with that.
As is the case with pretty much anything and everything, not all ad blockers are created the same.
Or in other words, different developers build different ad blockers.
In fact, various app stores and software websites have ad blockers that look nothing like their peers.
Some of you may still not realize this, but an ad blocker can come to you and live on your computer in a variety of different, but useful, forms.
It all depends on what do you want from your ad blocker.
There are a few ad blockers that have gained a huge amount of following compared to their competitors.
And that definitely plays a role when it comes to you making a decision about which ad blocker you should go with.
However, we usually recommend to users that it is rather imperative to take a step back and weigh up all the pros and cons when trying to determine which ad blocker is the best for them.
There is no single best ad blocker for all users from the simple reason that different users have different requirements.
Add to that the fact that despite what it seems like, plenty of users still do not use Google Chrome as their primary web browser and instead use alternatives such as Apple Safari and/or Mozilla Firefox.
Then you have to think about all the different operating systems that are out there in the open.
You have Windows users and then you have iOS.
Add to these Android users and Mac users as well.
Let’s not forget Linux users while we are at it either.
What we mean to say is that, since there is a myriad of different internet-enabled devices in the hands of consumers today, there can’t be one ad blocker to rule them all.
What about web browser extensions?
What about them?
Some of them do work if that is something you wanted to know.
Browser extensions predominantly come in two flavors.
There are those which are company-owned and developed such as those coming from Google itself for Google Chrome.
Or you can go with a piece of software that is more open-source in whatever it offers.
Almost all mainstream web browsers now come with a built-in ad blocker.
Or at least a feature that blocks ads.
This way users do not even have to move a muscle in order to avoid things such as adware.
The only unfortunate thing here is that most web browsers take such measures a bit too lightly and hence only come out with a limited toolset.
Because of that, most users like to turn towards web browser extensions in order to extract the maximum amount of benefit from a web browser’s ad-blocking capability.
Perhaps this is a good time to mention that pretty much the most common and popular kind of ad blocker is the web browser extension ad blocker.
Such an ad blocker is not only very easy to download and install but usually saves users a lot of time since it only requires a couple of clicks.
Moreover, ad blockers that work via web browser extensions also offer a good range of different customization options.
Our research shows that most modern ad blockers block ads by default without any user input.
Normally, users have to take the time out to manually blacklist or whitelist sites that they do not trust or trust.
Of course, some users may not make this about trust or anything like that but may simply want to support a given website by contributing to its revenues.
Not blocking ads is one way you can contribute to the growth of your favorite website.
Of course, as far as ad blocking web browser extensions are concerned, most of them are based on Chromium web browsers.
This is the type of web browsers for which most developers optimize their product.
Google Chrome, for better or worse, has managed to corner the majority of the global online consumer market.
And even though Firefox is still in the fight with its decent range of extensions, there is little support for various other web browser ad block extensions that make the browser secure.
In other words, if you want to have a lot of options to protect your privacy and online security then Chrome browser will make sure that you have that.
But web browser extensions are not perfect either.
Generally speaking, the more the number of web browser extensions you have installed, the more is the chance that one of them will turn out to be malicious.
So you need to strike that balance.
Many web browser extensions actually increase the risk that your web browser may stop working.
Some web browser extensions increase the user’s vulnerability to web browser fingerprinting techniques.
Users who make use of a lot of web browser extensions then need more protection via other extensions.
For blocking fingerprinting techniques, Mozilla Firefox currently offers users the Canvas Defender extension.
At first, you may feel like you truly live in a blessed land where you have access to a ton of web-based ad blockers that are absolutely free and provide you protection.
Unfortunately, that is not the case.
A good number of web browser-based extensions do not have the capability to provide users with a sufficient level of security and privacy.
Modern consumers expect more from free software.
But some developers seem not to understand that simple ‘fact.’
We also have ad blocker developers to make a good amount of money on the side by discretely not-blocking or whitelisting certain advertisements for various third-party companies which come to an agreement with the developer of the ad blocker to share revenue.
Other developers live off their ad blocker extensions by first collecting and then selling user data without letting users know anything about it.
Pros of using a browser-based ad blocker extension
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that you will get to experience by installing an ad blocker on your web browser.
- They are easy to download and install
- Most of them are user-friendly
- Most of them offer good customization options
- There is a large selection of free as well as paid ad blockers
Cons of using a web browser ad blocker extension
- Most of them do not work equally well on different web browsers
- They are vulnerable to techniques such as browser fingerprinting. Users do have the option of having extra protection in order to guard against that.
- Free ad blockers, at least some of them, do not provide the privacy that they promise when the user goes to their homepage.
Ad blockers and VPN services.
Just trust us when we say that in the modern world of the internet having access to a VPN or Virtual Private network is not only important but also vital.
If you want to make sure that your online privacy is preserved then you really have no other choice but to use a VPN service.
VPN services have this unique ability to hide the user’s IP address, online activities, and identity.
With a VPN installed and properly set up, no one can know what the user is doing on the internet.
This makes VPN services the perfect modern tool that online consumers should couple with browser-based ad blocker extensions.
Some VPN developers try to make things easier for online consumers by offering them ad blocking options within their VPN service.
This effectively takes out the middle man so to say.
Once the user is all done with a VPN and ad blocker, he/she can look forward to some quality private browsing time on the web.
Moreover, such users would have to spend less time searching for good security tools and more time enjoying the freedom of the internet.
Simply put, any VPN service that comes with an ad blocker feature is a one-stop shop solution for users.
They can reap all the benefits of a VPN service as well as an ad blocker without ever having to search for days and days for a decent enough ad blocker and a trustworthy VPN service.
And once a user has that combination, it becomes very difficult for any given adware to get on the user’s system and build up a profile.
Most of such VPN + ad blocker bundles come as a part of premium subscription packages.
This enables users to not only have protection on their primary device but also have the same combination of security tools and hence protection on almost all of their internet-enabled devices.
And that too at the same time.
With that said, we should mention that in the majority of the cases, you will find that a VPN would offer an ad blocker feature as a premium one.
In other words, you will have to pay the VPN service some extra money in order to use the ad blocker.
And to be fair, we should not judge security companies for offering their products in this manner.
After all, they too have to make money in order to survive.
However, this does not negate the fact that putting up paywalls around certain features do make them a lot less accessible than some of their equally capable web browser extension counterparts.
If you are interested in learning more about such bundles then do search more via Google.
On that note, perhaps you will benefit from a refresher guide on desktop ad blockers as well as router-loaded (and working) ad blockers.
We won’t discuss them here though.
Best ad blocker extensions you can get today.
And probably right now, right?
Best web browser ad blocker extension?
That is the answer.
We’ll be the first to admit that uBlock Origin does not have support for all mainstream web browsers.
However, it does have complete support for various desktop versions of web browsers such as,
- Apple Safari
- Microsoft Edge
- Google Chrome
- Pretty much all Chromium-based web browsers.
The good thing about uBlock Origin is that it is not only lightweight but also powerful.
Compared to the competition out there, uBlock Origin generates the fewest ad blocker detection messages.
So with uBlock Origin, you will rarely come across a website begging you to whitelist its URL.
This enhances the user experience, without a question.
Best VPN + Adblocker?
NordVPN is a great VPN service.
Everyone knows that.
But what most people still don’t know that it has a pretty good ad blocking feature as well.
It is not free though.
To sign up for the CyberSec security suite, the user usually has to subscribe to a NordVPN package.
Of course, NordVPN is a good value for money option if that is what you were wondering.
NordVPN has consistently ranked as the best VPN service in the world not just for security and privacy but also for unblocking streaming sites such as Netflix and others.
Add to that malware protection and ad blocking and you have the complete package in the palm of your hand.
Best desktop ad-blocker application?
Now, AdFender has stopped offering its free version.
But even then, our research shows that it is one of the most well-reputed and potent ad blockers for people using any Windows version from Windows Vista to Windows 10.
For a subscription package, you will have to pay the service around $19.95 per year.
That is cheap.
Many have tried and tested (rather well) AdFender on a variety of web browsers.
It even works with Pale Moon and Waterfox which are pretty much privacy-focused products.
Best ad blocker for the Android platform?
Give it a try.
It costs just $22 per year if you want to use it on your desktop machine.
For the Android version only, you only have to pay around $11 per year.
It is a treat really.
We have found out that AdLock is slightly more resource-intensive than some of the other browser-based ad blocker extensions, especially for the mobile platform.
But if we compare it to other standalone application, it is fine.
AdLock can block pop-ups and auto-playing videos for you in addition to general advertisements.
Do remember that Google does not allow ad blocking apps on the Google Play Store.
So you will have to side-load the adLock app on your device.
Best ad blocker for the iOS platform?
Check it out.
It is one of the first ad blockers that managed to find some fame among the iOS community.
Along the way, 1Blocker X has managed to improve year after year.
As a consequence of that, it is still able to wipe off advertisements from the screens of iPhone users.
It also supports iPad devices.
You should think of it more of an optimization tool rather than anything else if you are using it for Apple Safari.
And yeah, 1Blocker X does not work on other applications.
But since it only has 115,000 blocker rules, it is light on system resources.
You can download it from the App Store for $4.99 one-time payment.