- Ad blockers are one of the best ways to remove intrusive ads and trackers, reduce clutter on websites, and improve your digital privacy.
- Ad blockers use community lists or ‘blocklists’ to filter web content and block requests or hide advertising materials.
- Ghostery is considered one of the best ad blockers on the market.
- Ghostery’s ad blocker extension is equipped with AI technology which prevents tracking techniques and allows you to browse the web safely and quickly.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about ad blockers, including how they work and how they can improve your digital privacy.
What is an ad blocker?
As the name suggests, an ad blocker is an application that removes ads and other advertising materials from web pages. Most browsers like Chrome have a built-in ad blocker, but many ads still get through even when the tool is turned on.
You can download an ad blocking extension like Ghostery to remove popups and improve your digital privacy. These tools allow you to browse the internet without experiencing annoying ads and popups.
Why should I use an ad blocker?
Enhance your browsing experience
One of the main benefits of using an ad blocker is that it will remove intrusive ads, trackers and popups. This will improve page load speeds and enhance your browsing experience.
Improve your digital privacy
Do you know that thousands of companies are selling your personal information online?
Data brokers use ads and trackers to collect information about you online and then sell this data to marketers, financial institutions, and other companies. Dozens, if not hundreds, of data brokers could be silently collecting and selling your personal information online.
This might sound scary, but there is a simple solution! Ad blockers will improve your digital privacy and stop data brokers from selling your personal information for their own benefit.
Data privacy stats 2022
Data privacy stats reveal that 95% of US online consumers don't trust online shopping ads and half think online advertisers shouldn't store any information on their customers. Statistics also show that only 73 % of EU internet users manage access to personal information when using the internet and just 53% prevent advertising companies from collecting their personal data.
Downloading a free ad blocking tool is one of the best ways to remove ads and prevent online tracking/profiling.
How does an ad blocker work?
All ad blockers use community lists (also known as ‘blocklists’) to filter web content and remove ads and other advertising materials.
How does an ad blocker remove ads?
According to experts at Cliqz, ad blocker capabilities can be divided into two distinct categories: network filtering and cosmetic filtering.
- Network filtering: These filters tell the adblocker which network requests should be blocked or redirected. For example, a network filter may automatically block any web page request that has ‘ad’ in the URL. Network filters essentially act as the first line of defense for ad blockers.
- Cosmetic filtering: Cosmetic filters allow the blocker to hide advertising content that has already loaded on a web page. Cosmetic filters enhance the capabilities of an ad blocker when standard blocking requests are not enough to remove ads. However, it is important to be aware that cosmetic filters will not improve privacy protection, they simply hide ads and de-clutter web pages.
These filters complement each other and improve the capabilities of the advertising blocker to enhance the user’s browsing experience and digital privacy.
What is a blocklist?
A blocklist includes carefully selected domains and other elements that have been highlighted as hosting ads, pop ups, and other marketing content. These lists are updated regularly by the community of contributors dedicated to online privacy to improve the efficiency of ad blockers and anti popup software.
For example, an ad blocker with a social media category will reduce the number of ads you see when scrolling through Facebook and other social media platforms.
Can I install a complete ad blocker?
All ad blockers come with default block filter lists but no blocker can remove 100% of ads. The number of ads removed will vary depending on the software that you choose, with some ad blockers removing more advertising content than others.
The best approach is to use a single ad blocker as having multiple of them can slow down the browser and introduce more breakage without any gain to privacy. It is important that an ad blocker is fast or web page loading speed will be affected. Consider your needs carefully and choose an ad blocker that suits you best.
What type of ad blocker should I use?
There are many ad blockers on the market and you may need to use a different type of ad blocker depending on the device or browser that you are using. For instance, blocking ads on a Mac and blocking ads on YouTube may require different tools.
Read our recent blog post if you want to learn how to block YouTube ads.
TIP: Ghostery’s ad and tracker blocker is compatible with all major web browsers and devices. This means you can have peace of mind knowing your privacy and data are protected regardless of what browser or device you use. Our browser extension also comes with complementary anti tracking technology to further improve your digital privacy.
What makes an ad blocker tool efficient?
There are many ad blockers available and not all are made equal! The best ad blockers will enhance your browsing experience, but choosing the best one can be a challenge when there are so many ad blocking extensions available for different browsers.
Here are some general features that make an ad blocker efficient:
- Fast: As mentioned above, ad blockers can slow your browser and page loading speeds if they apply too many filters and attempt to block too much advertising content. Look for the fastest ad blocker that will improve privacy protection, remove annoying ads, and optimize page loading times - all while minimizing breakage.
- Customizable: You should install an ad blocker that can be customized based on your browsing activity and preferences. Most popular ad blockers give you the flexibility to customize your filters and block/unblock specific web pages and advertising content.
- Secure: There are plenty of free ad blocking extensions available, but make sure you download a reputable ad and tracker blocker with plenty of users and positive reviews.
What is the best free ad blocker?
Ghostery is consistently ranked as one of the best ad blockers on the market. Our ad and tracker blocker is free to use and comes with complementary anti tracking technology to enhance your digital health.
Check out what tech sites are saying about Ghostery…
“Ghostery brings strong design and protection together into a smart package that does a good job blocking ads and provides enormous insight into what is tracking you and how. We were also impressed that it earned a perfect score from adblocker-tester and did a good job blocking trackers.” - PCMag
"Ghostery is a small extension designed to make you invisible to advertisers as you search the web, without slowing down your browser. It comes with a suite of privacy tools designed to anonymise your presence online and dig deeper into useful analytics.” - Independent
“Ghostery is a great free popup blocker to block ads. It stands out with its ability to stop trackers and keep your data as safe as ever. Their mobile browsers allow you to browse the internet safer than ever before on your smartphone as well.” - Software Testing Help
Ghostery: The best ad blocker to protect your privacy
In summary, Ghostery:
- Blocks ads on websites and non-private search engines
- Blocks trackers on websites and non-private search engines
- Prevents private data from leaving your browser
- Prevents profiling
How does Ghostery work?
Ghostery is the web’s most advanced ad and tracker blocker. Our browser extension is equipped with AI technology which prevents different tracking techniques and allows you to browse the web safely and quickly.
You can use the Ghostery ad and tracker blocker extension in your preferred browser. Alternatively, you can create a more secure and anonymous web browsing experience by downloading Ghostery Dawn, our private browser fully loaded with the Ghostery Privacy Suite.
Top features of Ghostery ad blocker
1. Protection: Ghostery offers advanced protection features to enhance your browsing experience and boost your digital privacy.
- Ad-blocking: Advanced ad blocking technology that automatically blocks ads, pop ups, banner ads, and more. You can show/block ads on all/selected websites.
- Anti-tracking: Remove all your personal data points
2. Tracker lists: Ghostery will provide you with a list of trackers on each website you visit to help you stay informed about what companies are tracking you online.
3. Customizable: You have the flexibility to block and unblock specific trackers and trust or restrict websites based on your preferences.
4. High performance: Ghostery utilizes the world’s-fastest ad blocking engine and a comprehensive blocklist. This reduces loading times of visited pages and internet bandwidth consumption dramatically.
Are ad blockers safe?
Ad blockers are useful tools that can remove annoying distractions like pop ups and banner ads, while protecting your personal data online. However, there are some dangers associated with downloading ad blockers.
Unfortunately, malicious adware and browser extensions can have very similar names to legitimate ad blockers. This is why it is crucial that you do your research and choose a reputable blocker with plenty of users and positive reviews.
Tips to improve safety when downloading an ad blocker:
- Check that you are at the correct URL
- Make sure the connection is secure
- Check that the extension you’re installing has lots of positive online reviews
Other ways to stay safe online
Downloading an ad and tracker blocker extension is one of the best ways to improve your browsing experience and digital privacy. However, there are other simple ways to maximize your protection and keep your personal data secure.
Here are some general tips to improve your digital health and stay safe online:
Install a VPN
Using a VPN is an effective way to gain greater anonymity when using the Internet. VPNs hide your IP address and conceal your geographic location when you are browsing websites.
Read our recent blog post if you would like to find out more about VPNs and how they can complement other privacy tools like Ghostery’s ad and tracker blocking browser extension.
Automatically clear private data when closing your browser
Private data like logins, passwords or browsing preferences are stored in cookies. Cookies can be beneficial and are user-friendly as they track and store your information when you visit a website.
That said, two drawbacks need to be considered. Firstly, websites can store your personal information via cookies and secretly share the data with third parties without your knowledge.
Secondly, another person can access your private information after your browsing session has ended if you are using a shared device.
We recommend clearing private data (cookies, site data and history) when closing the browser if you share your computer or device with other people and want to keep your browsing activities private.
Use a password manager
A password manager is a tool that is designed to manage online passwords and credentials. It stores your login information securely, so you don’t need to remember multiple passwords. You only need to remember one secure master password to unlock the vault of your password manager and access your passwords.
We recently put together a guide on: How Ghostery and Password Managers can Improve Data Security and Browsing Experience.
Avoid bad Internet behaviors
Bad internet habits like using the same password for every account might seem minor, but they can leave you exposed to online security threats like identity theft.
Here are some common bad internet behaviors to avoid:
- Ignoring software updates
- Using the same password for every account
- Choosing easy passwords
- Not using two-factor authentication
- Failing to turn on lock screen protection
- Failing to download antivirus software
Ad blockers prevent unwanted ads and popups from appearing on your screen, meaning you can browse the internet faster. It will also improve your digital privacy by stopping companies from tracking your behaviors online and selling your personal information.
Ghostery is rated as one of the best ad blockers on the market today. Our browser extension utilizes AI technology which is highly effective at blocking ads to enhance your browsing experience and help you stay safe online.
Download the Ghostery ad blocker extension if you want a tool that blocks ads, prevents tracking, and gives you control of your online privacy. Get in touch if you have any questions - we are always happy to help!