An ad blocker is a software program designed to remove or control different kinds of advertising content on a webpage. These programs typically target irritating ads like pop-ups, flashy banner ads, YouTube video ads, Facebook ads, and other forms of online advertising. Using an ad blocker, you can block all ads or use a filter to whitelist your favorite sites or allow non-intrusive ads. Quality ad blockers like those in our list can even block malvertising - a malicious cyber tactic that aims to spread malware to our devices via online advertising.
Should I get an ad blocker? What are the benefits?
Ad blockers can transform your online browsing experience. If you're still on the fence, here are some benefits of using an ad blocker that may help you make up your mind.
No more unwanted ads. Say goodbye to distracting pop-ups and browse just the way you want to! Using an ad blocker will improve your browsing experience tremendously. You'll be able to get rid of adverts from "following" you around and prevent them from popping up on your screen, eliminating endless frustration. You also won't have to worry about inappropriate stuff displaying on your screen while the kids are around or any distractions while working online. Moreover, using an ad blocker gives you control over what kind of content you see, challenging advertisers to get creative with serving you relevant and helpful ads rather than spammy. Over time, we'll see better quality content and an enjoyable browsing experience.
Protect yourself online. As mentioned previously, cybercriminals are getting more cunning and are constantly scheming up new ways to steal sensitive information like your passwords, bank account details, and more. Would you believe that they are now buying up advertising space on popular apps and websites? They then inject these ads with malicious codes that will "pop up" on your screen. When clicked, it either installs malware on your device or sends you to corrupted web pages. Either way, your computer and data are compromised. The simplest way to fight back is to block these ads from displaying in the first place, and that's precisely what ad blockers are for.
Prevent online tracking and personal data collection. These ad servers often do more than serving ads. These ad servers can track your movements online, collect personal information, and monitor your browsing habits without your knowledge. These data are then sold to third parties or used to provide you with targeted advertising. Using an ad blocker will not only help block ads but can also reduce tracking and improve your privacy online.
Wait less, browse faster. There's nothing more annoying than a web page that's taking forever to load. If your internet connection is not to blame, most of the time, it's because of rich media ads or ads that include video, audio, images, and graphics. These elements are heavy and take time to load, which slows down the website. Ad blockers will stop these ads from loading, allowing your browser to load just the actual content without any ads. The result? You can read that news article without having to wait while the page loads.
Get the most out of your data plan. It's a domino effect. Rich media ads slow down web pages AND consume a significant portion of your mobile data! Once you get rid of these useless ads, there's a lot less data to download, displaying pages faster and making your data plan last longer!
Should I pay for an ad blocker?
Our list is a good mix of free and paid ad blockers. All of these brands work against unwanted ads and intrusive trackers. That said, some ad blockers provide extra features for as low as $1 per month. Some of these premium features include an ad-free search engine, the ability to export your ad blocking settings into other platforms, backup and sync, and more.
Are ad blockers legal?
Yes, you have the right to decide what kind of content goes into your smartphone, laptop, tablet, desktop computers, and other devices. Some companies tried to dispute this by arguing that using an ad blocker violates intellectual property rights by changing content owned by the publisher. Nevertheless, we've yet to see website owners drag anyone to court over ad blockers.
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