In this post we discuss the benefits of installing an ad blocker extension to your browser.
Ads help pay for operating a web site, but many online ads have become intrusive, overbearing, and disruptive. Add “snoopy” to the list of adjectives, as many also contain web trackers that collect data on your online browsing, so follow-up ads can be served to you later.
Reduce online ads with an ad blocker extension to your browser
You can minimize online ads by installing an anti-tracking and ad blocker extension to your browser. We list some leading ad blockers further below.
What about the browser's native capabilities?
First, it should be noted that some privacy-sensitive browsers, such as Firefox, Opera, Safari, Brave and Cliqz, by default have some automatic anti-tracking and ad-blocking features. However, some complementary third-party ad-blockers will usually block more ads and give you greater control over what ads are considered acceptable.
Which ad-blocking and anti-tracking tool should you consider?
The four articles, to which we provide links at the bottom of this post, review leading third-party ad blockers, which are extensions to the browser you use. Many are free and should address most user needs, but some of the more advanced tools are fee-based. They differ in some features, such as in whitelist vs. blacklist handling, block all ads vs. use of a default "acceptable ads" list, browsers and operating systems for which they are intended, and more.
Some web sites that depend on ads, such as a news site, may ask you to make ad-blocking exceptions for them, which most tools will allow. You’ll need to decide which sites deserve such exceptions because you wish to support their reliance on ad revenue.
Some ad blockers run on only their designated operating systems or browsers, indicated below, current at present to the best of our knowledge.
The third-party tools reviewed by the four articles below span the following, listed alphabetically (links are provided to their sites for convenience, but we do not endorse any one in particular, and we receive no commission from any of these vendors).
Adaway - Android
AdBlock - Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Android, iOS
AdBlock Plus - Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Yandex Browser, and Android.
Adblocker Genesis Plus - Google Chrome
AdBlocker Ultimate - Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Yandex
AdGuard - Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Yandex Browser, Android, iOS, Mac, Windows
AdLock - Android, Windows, Apple Safari, Google Chrome; Mozilla Firefox and Opera promised "soon"
Trustnav Adblocker - Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox
Disconnect - Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Samsung browser
Ghostery - Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Cliqz
NoScript - Mozilla Firefox
Privacy Badger - Google Chrome, Opera, Firefox on Android
Stands Fair Adblocker - Google Chrome
1 Blocker X - Apple Safari
Reviews of ad blocker extensions to your browser
The following review articles overlap, but by skimming them you’ll discover that they all have positive comments about several ad blockers:
Comparitech, 10+ best free ad blockers to remove ads and popups, reviews 11 free ad-blocking tools.
Tom’s Guide, Best Ad Blockers and Privacy Extensions provides, provides reviews of 15 ad blockers
Security Gladiators, 6 Best Anti-Tracker Browser Extension Options: How To Stop Tracking, pares down recommended choices to six top tools, AdBlock Plus, Disconnect, uBlock Origin, Ghostery, Privacy Badger, and uMatrix.
ProPublica, an article titled Privacy Tools: How to Block Online Tracking examines ad blockers Disconnect, Ghostery, and Privacy Badger.
I have been using Privacy Badger for a couple of years, and the volume of unwanted ads has been vastly reduced, but after reviewing the above evaluations, you may feel that another ad blocker works better for you. You should notice a reduction in the number of ads you see.
In addition to improving privacy, reducing ads improves workflow by removing disruptive ads and improves web page loading times by preventing the display of many ads.
Notwithstanding improvements in privacy-sensitive browsers such as Firefox or Safari in fighting web trackers, install one of the third-party ad blocking extensions for your browser for greater ad reduction and more control, and then make selective site exceptions.