Ad Blockers for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari

May 10, 2011 - 17 Comments

Block Ads in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari

While some web ads are unobtrusive, others are really annoying. If you’re tired of seeing web ads, you can install adblock extensions in every major web browser and never see another ad again.

Obligatory notice: blocking ads prevents web publishers from supporting themselves, ad revenue is what pays the bills for websites like this one and countless others. Read on for responsible ad blocking tips.

3 Plugins to Block Ads in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari

Because these are browser based extensions and plugins, they are cross platform compatible:

  • ChromeAdBlock Extension – very effective ad block plugin for Chrome, blocks out all web ads but gives you customization options and manual filters. This allows you to to exclude specific domains from the blocklist allowing you to support content publishers you visit frequently (like us!), or just block ads from the most annoying ad servers.
  • FireFoxAdBlock Plus Extension – probably the most popular ad block plugin to exist with over 120 million downloads. Highly effective, customizable down to individual ads and adservers, domain exclusions, it’s got it all. My personal favorite because it hides CSS divs that contained the ads too, which removes a lot of the white space that other ad blocking tools cause.
  • SafariAdBlock Extension – the best ad blocker plugin for Safari. Brought to you by the the same guy who made the AdBlock browser extension for Chrome, it includes all of the same features: customizable, manual filters, full Safari integration.

What are some basic do’s and don’ts of responsible ad blocking? Here’s a digested version of the information I’ve elaborated on below:

  • Don’t use ad blockers on websites you like and want to support
  • Do use ad blockers on the webs seedier neighborhoods – this is particularly vital for Windows users as it can help in preventing malware
  • Do consider using ad blockers in limited bandwidth situations, including iPhone and smartphone tethering with data transfer limits, locations with weak internet connectivity, etc

When & Why You Should Block Ads
Some ads are annoying, really annoying: popups, popunders, talking ads, and Flash ads are particularly obnoxious for Mac users since Flash consumes a lot of CPU and reduces battery life on Mac laptops. Some sketchy websites, particularly in the Windows world, have ads that are intentionally deceptive and try to get you to download stuff you don’t want, or even worse, install malware. You can block all of these ads and the web becomes a quieter place, and in many cases, blocking ads even speeds up your web browsing experience. For users with bandwidth restrictions or without a strong broadband internet connection, an adblocker can make the difference between a speedy web experience and a slow one.

Why You Should NOT Block Ads
Lecture time: the simple fact is that blocking ads deprives web publishers from supporting and monetizing their sites and content, no advertising generally means no free content, and we all like free content as opposed to paywalls. Keep this in mind when you’re using adblock utilities. Even if you use an adblocker tool, it’s good practice to whitelist sites that you like and want to support (like us!), so take a minute or two and whitelist the sites you like, we appreciate it. Plain and simple, web advertising supports the free web, and keeping ads around keeps your content free.

Recommended Uses of Ad Blocking Extensions
As I mentioned above, using adblock extensions makes perfect sense in some situations, most notably in those where bandwidth is limited for whatever reason or when you are browsing around known shady websites (various download, lyric, music, video, etc, you know the type).

My personal favorite use of ad blockers comes along with internet tethering. We all know by now that AT&T doesn’t like unofficial tethering methods so if you want to tether an iPhone, you have to pay for a tethering plan to use the Personal Hotspot feature. Unfortunately, the AT&T tethering plan only offers 4GB of bandwidth per month, which isn’t much. With such limited bandwidth, every bit (or byte) counts, and so I have a dedicated web browser with AdBlock installed specifically for when I am tethering my iPhone. Other than saving bandwidth, the other advantage here is that it speeds up web browsing from a tethered connection, since cell phones just aren’t as fast as fiber broadband connections (yet, at least).

Happy web browsing, and thanks for supporting the sites you like!

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Posted by: William Pearson in Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

17 Comments

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  1. Peter M says:

    I just use a Flash blocker, it stops the annoying Flash ads and still supports publishers.

    Adblocking is ultimately bad for the web. I’d hate to see a web of nothing but pay walls, subscriptions, and paid apps where everything is $8.99 to gain entry to information. I also think it’s hilarious that the creator of the AdBlock plugin proclaims developing the extension is his full time job so he wants your donations for support, all the while blocking the support of millions of web producers. Ironic and hypocritical.

    • Jassi09 says:

      What sort of flash blocker? I m currently using Avant Browsr 2011 beta 11, which runs fast and stable with ie9. the only problem is the adblocker is kind of weak.

  2. dave says:

    never thought of adding a ad blocker to my plug-ins, hardly even have any plug-ins except for youtube downloaders. but i tried this out and it works amazing. sites do seem kind of boring without all the ads, but i notice a increase is load up speed. probably only use this while using my phone as a hotspot for faster speeds.

  3. goingtoheck says:

    Don’t you think it’s a bad idea to show your readers how to block the means in which you support the website that you write for? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    • Will says:

      I don’t think so. Hopefully they’ll be selective about what ads they block and what they don’t, but I suspect that most regular readers tune out ads anyway.

  4. Michael says:

    How does using an adblocker lower your bandwidth?

    My (basic) understanding is that the data is still downloaded, it simply isn’t displayed.

  5. Arnold Rimmer says:

    Surely the blocking occurs locally on your web broser, so as far as revenue is concerned the adserver sent the information to your IP address? Similar to a Spam filter – the message is dispatched but binned by the receiving software. Sites may load quicker as Flash does not need to load up within the browser.

  6. Alberto says:

    I use Add blocker, flash blocker, pop-up blocker, barbarian invasion blocker, etc… And the web pages are so much faster to load…
    When you pay any kb that you download it is really a plus!

  7. Ads Suck says:

    For a person who will never ever EVER click an ad anywhere anyway, the web publisher never sees a difference in revenue.

    Instead of chastising readers about not blocking ads, maybe web developers should try to exercise more control over the obnoxious ads that get served to a reader.

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