Imagine this: You’re last-minute shopping for friends and family. You’ve got several tabs open as you compare prices, features, and specials. Then, you hear it.
Music. Loud, blaring, obnoxious music.
You can’t figure out where it’s coming from. You check your Spotify or Pandora. Nothing out of the ordinary there. You search your tabs until you find the one with the little speaker on it.
You click the tab, confused because it was a consumer comparison blog. Then you see it. The pop-up, unskippable video ad that was the source of your music woes.
Knowing how to block ads is a crucial skill for maintaining sanity in our constantly-online lives. Not sure how to prevent these annoying, intrusive, and sometimes virus-carrying ads from showing up? Our guide will show you how.
Block Ads With Browser Extensions
This is, by far, the most common means of blocking annoying ads from your web browsing experience. Search ‘browser extension ad blockers’ in Google, and you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands, of viable results.
So, how do you determine which one is best for your needs? It depends on what you’re trying to block.
Some ad blockers will come with tracking blockers and other security measures. Some may only block pop-ups, but not embedded ads. Others can’t handle videos.
Different ad blockers also have different levels of configuration. Some only block ads from sources in their database, where others let you filter sites in and out. Which ad blocker you use depends on what you need for your browsing experience:
What Browsers Can Use Ad-Blocking Extensions?
Pretty much any of the mainstream browsers, like Safari, Edge, and Chrome have access to a variety of extensions, including ad blockers. Some of these are more accessible than others.
However, certain browsers, such as Opera, come with AdBlock enabled by default. If you don’t feel like configuring or installing a third-party extension, one of these might be your best bet!
Sites Keep Telling Me to Disable AdBlock – What Gives?
Since many sites depend on advertisement revenue, you’ll find that they often have messages requesting that you whitelist them from your ad blocker. Some even go so far as to prevent you from reading the content you visited the site for if you have one enabled.
If you want to prevent this, you can learn how to browse the web with undetectable adblock. It’s a tricky process, but once you get the hang of it, your browsing experience will be all the better for it.
Block Ads With Applications
Browser extensions are all well and good, but what if you’re on mobile, and can’t use them? Or, what if you’d rather have ads blocked across multiple platforms, rather than having to configure multiple ad blockers individually?
That’s where ad blocking applications come into play. Some applications are mobile phone exclusive, while others provide multi-platform experiences.
The only drawback to most ad blocking applications is that they tend to be premium or subscription services. Granted, many of those subscriptions are $50 or less per year, but it’s worth considering before investing:
Can You Trust Ad Blocking Applications?
As with any application you download from the internet, verification is important. If you choose from the list of the standard, recommended, or best ad blockers on the market, you can trust that it will block ads safely.
However, if you go for something out of the mainstream, the thing to keep in mind is customer reviews. Look at the number of downloads and average customer reviews on the app store or software website. Cross-reference with other review sites to get an idea of the app’s performance. Then, once you’ve done your research, download at will.
Block Ads With VPN
Browsing with a VPN, or virtual private network is the holy grail of ad blocking and online privacy. VPNs shroud your IP address, making your online activities all but invisible.
Why is blocking your IP address so helpful? Businesses, governments, and hackers all use your IP address to track you and your online activities. Knowing your IP address and the location it originated from is what allows for locally-targeted advertisements, governmental bans and censorship, and other forms of online manipulation.
Sounds terrifyingly dystopian, right? Luckily, there are numerous VPNs available to consumers, both paid and free.
Though, as ever, the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ applies. If you want maximum privacy, speed, and freedom, you’ll want one of the paid options.
Why Blocking Ads Is Important
All this talk of blocking ads might have you wondering why it’s so important. Aside from the sheer annoyance factor of having an un-closeable, unskippable ad pop up and ruin your browsing experience, there are many other reasons you might want to block ads.
Do you live in an area where your beliefs run counter to most of those around you? Unless you have something to block ads, you can expect to see no end of political and religious advertisements that match the beliefs tracked in your IP address’s location.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many ads can contain viruses, or install other unwanted programs on your computer. Wouldn’t you rather avoid burdening your devices with unwanted, unneeded programs or malicious software?
So, What’s the Best Option for You?
Now that you have some ideas for how to block ads on your devices, you might wonder which is best for you. As with all things computer, it depends on your needs. If you want something easy, light, and only need it for one browser, a browser extension is a way to go.
If you want something multi-platform, or can’t use browser extensions, a third-party application is your best bet. If you want maximum protection and privacy, go for a VPN.
Whatever you choose, you can be sure to enjoy a safe, ad-free browsing experience.
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