what-is-adblock

Adblock is an extension for web browsers that stops ads dead in their tracks. The developers say that most ads are not downloaded at all. As I take my privacy very seriously online, I was interested in seeing what the software offered.

Installing the Software

Installing the software is simple. It is available for the Firefox browser, iOS, Focus, Desktop browser, and Android browser.

I installed for Firefox. I clicked on install and the software did the rest. After installing, a web page popped up telling me about the “Honor System” of Adblock.

This explained that Adblock is honor-ware and I could pay what I could afford. I could pay a one-off fee of my choice or a monthly fee. If you do not have a conscience, you can simply close the web page off.

So what does Adblock offer?

On the website for the software, the developer states how privacy is essential. I did not need to go to the website to know that.

What I did like was the fact that the software does not require any personal information from me when installing. It also does not require information from me to run and as I would expect, it does not monitor my browsing.

Adblock blocks ads, plain and simple. However, it achieves so much more. It gives me, along with 60 million users’ privacy, safety and security online.

The extension offers:

  • All ads are blocked by default;
  • Filter lists can be customized by the user;
  • Ads can be blocked on YouTube;
  • The user can see the ads that have been blocked;
  • Favorite websites can be white listed.

Make an Exception

Adblock makes it easy to use exceptions. I found this to be important, as some ads do not require blocking. Ads that classed as being unobtrusive do not need blocking. There are also ads you might want to see that support a website, these can be easily white listed with just two clicks.

No Annoying Videos

One thing that really irks me when browsing web pages is the videos embedded into the site that plays on load.

As soon as the website loads music or talking blare out from my speakers. I hate it. Thankfully, Adblock has a way of putting an end to this. YouTube video ads are removed and do not play automatically. Of course, if I want to watch a video I still have the option of doing so by pressing play.

Adblock Filters Content

The foundation of Adblock is simple to understand. It filters out content.

This means I saw only what I wanted to see when browsing the internet.

Web pages are complex things. They consist of content, pictures, footers, headers, central parts, sidebars, and ad space.

The software is a plugin for browsers blocking out content that users like me do not wish to see. It filters out content based on filters and source address. The web browser plugin is able to block all ad content or can be adapted to meet the need of the user. This means it only blocks certain ad content from some advertisers. This can be a good thing if you visit a website, and find you cannot access it with an ad blocker enabled.

How Exactly Does the Software Work?

There are two elements built into the software that enables it to work, request block and element hiding.

Request block stops any connection with the server of the ad. Element hiding hides certain HTML elements on the web page. This is by way of a CSS snippet in the website. It hides the elements that need blocking.

The software does this as when the website is loading it checks requests. When it comes upon a request from an ad provider it stops it loading then disables it. The ads that match the filters set have a void of nil and they do not show up on the website.

Privacy Control – Adblock Blocks Third-Party Cookie Syncing

Perhaps one of the most important elements, at least for me, is privacy control. The plugin is excellent for stopping marketing operations as it blocks out third-party cookie synchronizing.

I do not like the idea of being tracked while I browse the internet, plain and simple. I do not wish to share my data and have no idea who has access to my information. Yet with no ad blocker in place, this is exactly what I was faced with every time I browsed the internet.

Advertisers gather information from users. They say it is so they can offer relevant and engaging content by way of ads. I do not want my actions tracked so relevant ads are shown to me. I do not want to see ads full stop and Adblock does this.

Fraud and Malware Risks

Another huge concern I have over ads on websites is fraud and malware.

Some ads are plain dangerous as they install malware onto the computer of the user. I have had issues with this in the past and it is not pleasant. In some instances, it leads to slow down in the computer and in some cases; the only way to remedy this is to do a full re-install of the Windows software.

Fraud is another huge issue online. Ads and pop-ups can be utilized to gather information from people browsing the internet. This information can then be used to steal identities. I for one use online banking and fraud was a huge worry for me. Thankfully, Adblock gives me security.

A Better Web Experience

While Adblock is a great tool for giving me peace of mind that I am free from tracking, fraud, and malware, it does something else.

  • The software makes the internet and the web browsing experience so much better;
  • It does away with the clutter of ads breaking up the content I am trying to read;
  • It stops the endless web pages from popping up behind or in front of the one I visited;
  • It speeds up my browsing experience as there are no ads to slow it down;
  • It stops videos from distracting me, stops the flash ads that designed to attract my attention.

Instead, I can focus on what I visited the website for in the first place, to obtain information on a topic.

The Menu Icon

An icon sits in the menu bar at the top right of the web browser. I left clicked on this icon and a menu popped up.

The menu told me how many ads blocked on the page I was browsing. The amount blocked is surprising sometimes. It also allows users to block a particular ad, exclude the web page from ad blocking or exclude the entire domain. It also gives access to the options.

The Adblock Options

I clicked on the options and a page opens up with general options. If you want more options simply click on the icon at the top right and another list opens revealing filter list, customization, support, and translations. I was only interested in the filters and customization.

General Options

Under the general options are choices for allowing not-intrusive ads. If you do not want to see any ads, untick the box and all ads are blocked.

The option to display the number of ads blocked on a website. Again, if you do not want this to show untick it.

Allow white listing of some YouTube channels. This is not ticked by default.

Add items to the right-click menu. This is ticked by default.

There is also the option to show advanced options, but I left this unchecked.

Filter List Options

The software automatically updates the filter lists. However, it offered me the chance to update on demand. Additional options for filters include what lists you want. These are:

  • Acceptable ads;
  • Custom;
  • Easylist or easylist lite;
  • Adblock warning removal;
  • An antisocial filter list for removing social media buttons;
  • Cryptocurrency;
  • Privacy;
  • Annoyances and malware protection.

The above options have to be ticked if you want them. If too many are ticked the software will remind you that picking too many will slow down the browser. I was able to find a happy medium between protection and fast browsing.

Customization

The customization tab is where I could customize the software to my liking. Here I could add a URL to block or hide just a section from a web page. I could choose to stop blocking ads based on a domain or page or show ads everywhere except for my chosen domains.

It was also possible to edit filters manually, but as I did not know what I was doing in this respect, I did not try to do it. The developers do warn that if a mistake is made when editing filters can break and the software will not protect.

Conclusion

I have checked out various ad-blockers for Windows but this is the only one that I have seen that asks if I want to pay for the software. On saying this, when I clicked off the payment page the software still seemed to work, whether that changes is not yet clear. I expect there may be some pop-up reminding me in the future. That would be ironic, a pop-up blocker that sends out pop-ups.

Adblock appears to offer a wide range of protection. It offers ads blocking, which was the main reason I installed it, along with added malware protection and peace of mind against hackers. However, this is not selected by default. I had to go into the menu and options to enable it.

Written by Mark Bynum

Mark Bynum is tech writer and WordPress enthusiast from Atlanta. He loves playing with latest tech gadgets and testing various products and services. When he is AFK, you can find him hiking somewhere in the woods.

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