While looking for solutions to block unwanted ads and keep my browsing private I came across Adblock and Adblock Plus. At first glance, I mistook Adblock Plus to be the “Plus” paid version of Adblock but I was wrong.
The software is from different developers. Both have an icon that looks similar, a hexagon with a red background and white in the middle. Both have names that sound similar, but which performs best, Adblock vs Adblock plus?
Why the Need for an Ad-blocker?
If like me you are tired with web pages bombarding you with ads, you need an ad-blocker. Ads are becoming increasingly invasive. I have noticed that not only do the ads show up on the sites I am browsing but they show items related to searches I have made online. This lets me know one thing; my movements online, such as searches, are being tracked.
I have likewise noticed that ads are cropping up more and more. Not only are they shown on the web pages I visit, they also pop-up under and over the site I am browsing.
In other words, I can make a search and open up a relevant web page only to find two or more additional web pages pop-up. These are often very difficult to close. I have found ads so intrusive that on the odd occasion I have been resorted to having to turn off my computer just to close an ad.
Not only this, but ads represent a threat. They not only track and are annoying but they can also install malware onto the computer. Malware can even be installed even if there is virus software protecting the computer. This alone is good enough reason to install a decent blocker. With this in mind, I am going to look at Adblock vs Adblock Plus to determine which comes out on top.
Adblock and Adblock Plus
Both pieces of software are small extensions to install into web browsers. Both extensions are popular among users with more than 50 million users.
Both work on various browsers including Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and others.
Adblock was developed after inspiration from Adblock Plus. The software comes from an individual, starting out as an extension from Chrome. It became popular and was made available for other browsers.
Adblock Plus was developed by a community of coders and became known as the original ad-blocking extension. It started life on Firefox browser before being made available for other browsers. The extension is open source.
Ease of Installing Adblock and Adblock Plus
Both Adblock and Adblock Plus is easy to download and install.
They are available for a range of web browsers as mentioned above. I chose to install them both to test them out on Firefox.
A click on the install now button downloaded the extension in Firefox. I was then with a web page telling me all about the honor system. This was that I could pay as much as I wished to use the software. This meant I could choose to pay a one-off price or be generous and choose to pay monthly. As I was only testing the software, I clicked out of the box and continued.
An icon then appears at the top right-hand side of the browser bar.
Installing Adblock Plus
Again, the extension downloaded and installed fast in Firefox. Once it downloaded, one second, a dialogue box came up asking if I wanted to move on and install it.
I clicked to allow that I trusted the author and proceeded to click on install now.
Following installation, an icon was shown in the top right-hand side of the web browser.
The Features of Adblock and Adblock Plus
Both Adblock and Adblock Plus offers comparable features. The extensions also share similarities in feel and look. Both offer the following features:
- Control over tracking;
- Blocked ads counters;
- Warnings about infected domains;
- Option to allow acceptable ads;
- Blocking of YouTube and Facebook ads;
- Work using filter lists
Whitelists are lists the user can add domains onto that they do not want to block. I found this useful when working on my own websites. Bear in mind that any domain or website added to the whitelist will show ads.
Black Lists work the opposite way to whitelists in that you can blacklist any website or domain.
Tracking control means users can control what web pages and domains track about you.
Blocked Ads Counter
The blocked ads counter showed me how many ads were blocked on a webpage. This shows up on the icon of the extension in the browser bar and when left clicking on that icon.
Infected Domain Warnings
If the extension believes a website is infected with malware or a virus, it showed a red warning page to me instead of taking me to the website and possible danger. Users can elect to ignore the warning if they trust the website.
Allowing Acceptable Ads
Both Adblock and Adblock Plus allowed acceptable ads. These are ads based on certain criteria such as not being intrusive. I found that this could be modified in the settings in options and all ads were blocked.
Blocking of YouTube and Facebook Ads
Facebook and YouTube ads can be intrusive on privacy and plain annoying. Both extensions block video ads.
Both of ad blockers rely on filter lists to work and both use the same lists. This is the Easylist maintained by the developers of Adblock Plus. This means that both extensions block the same ads. It also means they both permit certain ads through.
Users can choose to install filter lists but a word of warning, the more lists you install the more clogged up the extension becomes. This makes the web browser slow down.
Adblock Has One Feature Adblock Plus Does Not
I found that Adblock comes with one feature that Adblock Plus does not provide.
I found I could right-click when browsing the web on an element. When doing so, I could block that element. For instance, a video showed so I right clicked on it and blocked it. I could not see a way to replicate this feature in Adblock Plus.
For this feature alone, I would say that in this Adblock vs Adblock Plus comparison I would put Adblock ahead. I found that the feature came in very handy on more than one occasion.
One of the main factors I consider when comparing software to find out which comes out ahead, is how easy it is to use.
I do not appreciate software that is too complicated to use. In this case, I was happy to find that both are easy to install and both come with default options in place. Most people, I included, are not required to go go into the options to change anything.
Both make it very easy to disable and re-enable the blocker. Both make it easy to add exceptions you do not want blocking. It is easy to whitelist web pages and domains along with blacklisting them.
Both Adblock and Adblock Plus has icons in the browser bar that offer clear information.
Adblock Plus does look friendlier and it does show the ads blocked on the current page in the icon without clicking on it.
For the user interface and usability, I would put Adblock Plus slightly ahead but there is not much in it.
How well the software works is another factor when comparing Adblock vs Adblock Plus.
I found that both are equally effective at what they are supposed to do, block ads. What was a little confusing to me about both of them, was the acceptable ads. Are there any acceptable ads?
It has been said that some companies will pay the developers of the software to whitelist ads. In addition, I found when using Google Chrome some ads did still come through so perhaps it is true. However, on saying this, I did not come across this in any other browser. This issue does need to be resolved.
Both Adblock and Adblock Plus is good in catching the majority of ads. These ads include flashing banners, text ads, pop-ups, pop-unders, video ads and more.
When using Adblock in Firefox and Chrome during my test, I found it was slower than Adblock Plus was.
Another factor that I took into account was the number of tabs I have open. I do tend to leave four or five tabs always open as I use the sites throughout the day. More tabs open the slower the web browsing experience. I wondered if this was just the number of tabs. I turned Adblock off and the browsing was moderately faster.
Adblock Plus does not seem to care about how many tabs I had opened in Firefox. In Chrome, I did experience an issue with side-loading ads not being stopped on the odd occasion.
At one point, I had 20 plus tabs open in Firefox open with Adblock Plus running and it did not slow down my browsing experience.
For performance, I am going to say Adblock Plus comes out ahead of Adblock.
Round-up of the Pros and Cons of Both Adblock vs Adblock Plus
As with just about everything there are pros and cons. Here I am going to round up what I consider the pros and cons of both Adblock vs Adblock Plus.
First, I want to begin with the pros of Adblock.
- Good ad filters;
- The extension icon is very useful in offering plenty of information;
- One of the most popular choices of ad-blockers;
- Has a right-click menu allowing users to block any element on any web page;
- Good for blocking pop-ups, pop-unders, and malware;
- Blocks YouTube and Facebook ads.
Adblock Plus Pros
Now onto the pros of Adblock Plus.
- It is open source;
- Easy to understand options;
- Looks good;
- Whitelisting is very easy to use;
- Malware, pop-ups, and pop-unders are blocked;
- Facebook and YouTube ads are blocked.
Here is what I do not like about Adblock.
- While it is open source the developer does not say this on the homepage;
- There have been privacy concerns;
- Becoming more commercial;
- Options can confuse people;
- Advanced options are not so effective;
- Ads that are non-intrusive are shown by default.
Adblock Plus Cons
Things I do not like about Adblock Plus include.
- The advanced features are hidden and difficult to find;
- Enabling or disabling features has to be done manually;
- Sometimes the right-click menu does not work correctly;
- Sometimes to block specific elements I had to use the extension button;
- Show ads that are not intrusive by default.
Adblock vs Adblock Plus and the Winner Is…
I have taken numerous aspects of Adblock and Adblock Plus into account. These include how easy it was to install the extensions, how easy they are use, how easy the options are to configure and the features offered in each.
There is not a great deal to choose between them, as both are excellent in doing what they are intended to do, block ads. One thing I liked very much about them both was that Facebook and YouTube ads could be blocked. One thing I hated about both of them was having to opt out if I wanted to block all ads. Both had this fault and acceptable ads were shown. However, these were based on what the developers of each chose to be acceptable, not me.
If I had to choose between them, it would be very difficult. I say this as both share the same filter list for blocking ads. This means that if Adblock blocks an ad then Adblock Plus blocks it the same. If one allows an ad considered acceptable, the other allows it too.
Really when it comes to Adblock vs Adblock Plus the choice is going to be down to the individual. They are by no means the only two choices for blocking ads, but they are among the most popular. So check them both out and then choose.