Ad Blockers, as the name implies, are typically software products that block internet ads. With tons of websites and applications using ads as a monetization strategy, the emergence of Ad Blockers is somewhat of a natural progression.
Best Free Ad Blockers
Ad Blockers help secure your online privacy, reduce website clutter, and avoid malware-infected ads. Although paid Ad Blockers are undoubtedly the best options available, many free Ad Blockers can get the work done well.
Here are some of the best free Ad Blockers that you might want to explore:
1. Adblock Plus
The most popular free Ad Blocker available, AdBlock Plus is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, IE, Opera, Safari, Yandex Browser, iOS, and Android. It is open source and is, in fact, the primary source code for many other free AdBlockers.
By default, it blocks only ads that are considered to be invasive or potentially malicious. So, you’ll need to make some configuration changes if you want to block all ads, which includes autoplay video ads as well. Go to ‘Options’ and de-select ‘Allow some non-intrusive advertising’ at the bottom of the screen.
There is an Acceptable Ads feature that allows you to see only non-intrusive ads. Also, companies can apply to be whitelisted. This is accordingly free for small companies, but large companies will have to pay a fee.
Despite the substantial resemblance to its name, AdBlock has no relationship whatsoever with AdBlock Plus. AdBlock is deemed a top-notch open source AdBlocker that works on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE, iOS, and Android devices.
It is one of the most downloaded free Ad Blockers on Google Playstore and Apple Store. A noteworthy thing about Adblock is that it gives you flexibility and empowers you to decide whether to use the default filters, subscribe to others, or create your own, among many others.
This highly-trusted Ad Blocker allows you to block annoying ads, including pop-ups, autoplay video, cryptocurrency mining, and audio ads that are usually seen on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. It not only blocks all ads and pop-ups, including those on social media, it also allows you to customize your filter lists too.
3. Poper Blocker
A newbie to the adblocking scene, Poper Blocker is available for both Chrome and Firefox. This plugin is noted as the best pop-up blocker in the market by many. It is effective not only against pop-ups but also against website overlays, which are exceedingly common.
While others are removed automatically, this plugin allows you to right-click on overlays to get rid of them manually. For a newcomer, this is a pretty awesome tool as not only is it completely free, it doesn’t lock any of its features behind a paywall. There’s also no sign-up required.
However, Poper Blocker does collect and use data anonymized, but you can easily opt-out of this for more privacy. Users have commented that upon using this Poper Blocker, some pop-ups were successfully blocked each time after using the ‘remove overlay’ option, but this seems to not always be the case on specific sites.
Launched in 2017, Ghostery is another free and open-source extension built with privacy in mind. It uses smart blocking technology that optimizes your browsing experience by blocking ads, including pop-ups, other add-ons, banners, flash, and also stopping trackers. This extension is available for IE, Opera, Firefox, and Chrome.
They have a user-friendly interface that allows you to customize what you wish to block. Ghostery comes in both free and paid options. If you find the free option sufficient, there’s no need to put out any money for the paid option.
Also, it has privacy browsers for Android and iOS smartphones.
5. Stands Fair AdBlocker
Stands Fair is a Chrome-only low-impact AdBlocker plugin. It is a potent tool used to block literally all types of ads. The only limitation it has is that it’s exclusive for Chrome only. It works well to block ads, pop-ups, malware, and trackers.
It’s light and thus speeds up your browsing, saving you time. Stands Fair AdBlocker encourages users to whitelist certain ads from different sites.
It was found to block aggressive advertisements and other display ads, autoplay video ads, ads on Facebook, search ads on Google, and even ads on YouTube.
6. uBlock Origin
uBlock Origin is an open-source AdBlocker that relies on a curated list of servers. This is not to be confused with uBlock, which itself is another project. Being browser-based, this Ad Blocker focuses on simple, efficient blocking that typically prevents your browser from connecting to the servers that serve you ads.
The extension that works on Chrome and Firefox is lightweight and easy on memory. Still, it is loaded with several filter lists with advertising and malware source details. There are additional filter lists as well. You can read and create your own custom filters from host files too.
uBlock Origin blocks not only ads but also malware. You can choose to whitelist the websites that you don’t want to block ads on. This is an excellent option for those who don’t want to slow down their computers while using an Ad Blocker.
Take note that this service can be somewhat heavier by default. Also, NoScript does not block ads on videos, nor does it block most autoplay video ads. In short, this is great for blocking one type of ad but poor at blocking others. Anyway, if you’re a Firefox user, NoScript still does make your browsing safer.
8. Ad Muncher
As far as free Ad Blockers are concerned, Ad Muncher is deemed to be on par with giants like AdBlock Plus. It supports Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari. Being an independent AdBlocker, you’ll need to install this directly on your device.
The software has several filters, which you can configure at your convenience to filter out specific addresses, java, background music, plugins, wallpapers, and other contents of any web page.
9. Privacy Badger
This tool was developed by the non-profit parent organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking your online activities.
It supports Firefox, Edge, Opera, and Android (you’ll need to download Firefox on Android). This tool not only blocks unwanted ads but also automatically detects invisible trackers and blocks them as well.
10. Opera Browser
Opera is a free internet browser with a built-in VPN and ad-blocking add ons (you don’t need to install additional Ad Blocker apps or other extensions). It is available for desktop and mobile devices.
Its built-in AdBlocker, not only blocks almost every ad you come across, but it also gives warnings for malware, fraudulent pages, and links. However, it only blocks ads in the browser.
Simply put, if you’re looking for an all-inclusive ad blocking experience bundled together with a browser, Opera is a great choice.
AdLock comes as a free browser extension for both Chrome and Safari. AdLock also offers paid options – AdLock for Windows and Android. These come with more features as they block ads on Skype, YouTube, games, and other applications.
Unfortunately, you cannot whitelist any websites. On the whole, AdLock is a comprehensive ad-blocking software that blocks most forms of ads, including ads on YouTube, autoplay video ads, and pop-up ads, even those with malware and internet bugs collecting your personal information.
12. AdAway (Android)
Android device users with a rooted device can check out AdAway, an Ad Blocking mobile App. It is a free and open-source AdBlocker that works on the host’s file level. When an app or webpage makes a request to an ad provider, it goes to a blank IP (127.0.0.1) instead. This keeps you from being spammed by advertising.
AdAway also allows you to use host files from multiple sources with options to blacklist or whitelist specific addresses and add your own redirects. Since it is not available in Google Playstore, you’ll need to allow installing third-party apps, or you could download AdAway via the F-Droid App.
13. 1Blocker X (iOS)
1Blocker X, a pioneer in ad-blocking technology, is deemed to be a good AdBlocker on iOS. It is an overhaul, optimized for Safari. This App is designed to make browsing faster and more secure by blocking pop-ups, ads, trackers, and other online stuff.
Instead of blocking the content of a downloaded page, 1Blocker X works together with Safari’s content blocker API to inform the browser what to block in advance. This saves loads of time and resources.
1Blocker X is a free download, with premium features available as in-app purchases.
It features more than 115,000 blocker rules, custom regional ad blocking settings, and custom rules settings.
You should be convinced by now that there are many Ad Blockers catered to different needs and situations (the list above is not exhaustive). So, it can be pretty overwhelming when deciding which is the best one for you.
Although they come in different shapes and sizes, Ad Blockers are not perfect, so you’ll need to try them out to find the right fit. At the end of the day, always keep in mind why Ad Blockers are there in the first place.