Many users think ads they see when online is only an annoyance, when in fact they can seriously undermine security and privacy.
When looking for ad-blockers, what is the best way to find one, because there are hundreds available that claim to offer the best? Here we will take a look at some of the best solutions which are known to work.
It should also be noted, many sites rely on ad-generated revenue to operate, so there needs to be an element of discretion when it comes to whitelisting your favourite websites and allowing acceptable ads.
Before looking at the best ad-blocker for your web browser, we will take a quick look at why it is so important to block these ads.
Why do we block online ads?
Performance: Ads suck up bandwidth, and especially if you are using a mobile device. It is shown ads can take up 79% of mobile bandwidth.
Not only is bandwidth consumed, but they can also drain CPU’s by excess resources being used. This really put a drain on your browsing experience.
We can improve page loading by using a lightweight ad blocker while putting a halt to troublesome ads.
Security: Malicious advertising is on the rise, and systems or devices can become infected by ads loading with web pages.
On most occasions, it would require a user to click, but those days are gone. This malvertising can inject ransomware or exploit other security holes to take over systems.
Privacy: We all know ads are a real pain. But carrying on from this they contain sophisticated tracking which delivers information back to third-party domains, and in most cases, these are advertising networks.
This tracking software builds up a profile and can contain browsing activity, interests, age, location and friends and members of your family.
With all this, these marketing firms are armed with all the info to target you with specific ads.
When we take a further look into these ads, they reach further than annoying ads and creep into other areas, these include pop-ups, pop-unders, and video ads if we are on YouTube or sites of a similar nature.
Best Free Ad Blockers
There are some paid for options when it comes to choosing an ad-blocker. However, there are plenty of free ad-blockers, and those are the three we will be looking at here. There is little reason to spend extra on something which you can get for free.
Saying this, to be fully secure and have ultimate privacy, there is one option you can use along with these free browser extensions, and we will run through this at the end.
In tests, this ad-blocker came top at blocking ads, but it slipped when it came to page loading times.
Most of this can because it prevented a higher number, but this is hard to gauge. It is available for almost all browser platforms such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer and Safari among a few other lesser known browsers.
With AdBlocker Ultimate you can easily enable the built-in block lists that can be found in the options page of the ad-blocker.
You can also add your own whitelisted domains and filters where you can choose what to block and what to allow.
During testing, this performed slightly behind the first option, but only by a narrow margin. With this popular ad-blocker, you can also subscribe to third-party filter lists as well as creating your own.
Entire domains can be blocked, and you can control how the extension is displayed in your toolbar.
Like many other reliable options, this is available for plenty of browsers which are not well known, along with Chrome and Firefox and all the other main browsers.
Adblock Plus lets users disable ad tracking and malware which can be present, and there are share buttons for some of the more popular social networks which can also be disabled if required.
There are many users who get Adblock Plus, AdBlock standalone blocker confused because the names are similar.
This isn’t a premium version, and both blockers come from different companies. The ABP history goes back to the time of when Google Chrome first came onto the scene.
It should be noted the AdBlock Firefox version was only released at the back end of last year.
UBlock Origin: Although all these browsers are free, UBlock Origin is free and open source. It is lightweight and uses minimal system resources while blocking a high number of ads. UBlock Origin is also liked due to its ability to block pop-under ads that users might not see.
You can also select an element on a web page and right click and block element, so if there is a page you visit frequently and one part is annoying, you can block this so it will never show again.
This ad blocker is available for most Chrome-based browsers and Mozilla Firefox based browsers.
The Best Ad Blocker
All of these free ad-blockers do an excellent job in improving your security and protecting privacy. But, they can only go so far.
There is one further option that can lock down your browser, and also protect you on a system-wide level. This is by using a VPN provider.
Using a VPN will encrypt your connection, and by doing this, there is no way any tracking can know where to target ads because your connection will appear to be in another location.
One thing to consider at this point is the number of sites who won’t show content to users with an ad-blocker enabled.
Using the ExpressVPN extension with your browser, you can browse these sites safely with your ad-blocker disabled, and still, have all of your privacy and security intact if not protected on another level altogether.
You can browse online with no worries about being tracked, or having to face annoying ads, and in a way, it is funny that the best ad-blocker for Chrome, isn’t an ad-blocker in the real sense.