Deeply hidden in your Chrome settings are tools for blocking pop-ups, but because of how Chrome and other web browsers are programmed to earn money, there are still a lot of types of ads that display. Cybercriminals cleverly disguised phishing schemes, adware, or malicious downloads as legitimate ads, so the best and easiest way to protect yourself is with an ad blocker. Here are some of our favorites.
On top of blocking pop-up ads, AdBlock keeps banner ads from downloading within the content you’re reading and stops commercials from showing in YouTube videos. AdBlock doesn’t ask for personal information before you install the browser extension and it doesn’t keep information about your browser history or other online activity.
Free at AdBlock
Adware and virus blocking
AdBlocker Ultimate stops every kind of ad. It doesn’t have a whitelist, so there is no way to make an exception for an ad or pop-up to get through. This is a good way to protect yourself from phishing schemes that tend to look like legitimate ads and stop malicious downloads that sometimes hide in enticing ads.
Free at AdBlocker Ultimate
Free at Ghostery
Light on resources
uBlock uses very little of your computer’s resources, so using this ad blocker doesn’t cause drag or slow down while online. You choose from lists of ads you’d like to block, including banner and video ads, but can create your own filters based on lists of host files. uBlock also stops some malware and trackers.
Free at uBlock
Open source program
AdBlock Plus (ABP)
AdBlock Plus blocks ads with trackers and malicious downloads attached to them but does allow legitimate, or acceptable ads through that tend to help websites earn a little bit of revenue. It uses an open-source code that, if tech-savvy, you can modify and add on additional features.
Free at ABP
Our final thoughts
These browser extensions tap into long lists of ad companies to stop pop-ups, banner ads, video commercials, and other online ads. On a more productive level, the best blockers also stop trackers from capturing your browser history and following your online activity. Since people have become smarter about creating malware and phishing schemes, you’ll want that extra protection built right into the browser.
We recommend AdBlock because of how easy it is to use and the extensive amount of ads it automatically blocks including banner and video ads. It doesn’t track your online movements or keep tabs on your browser history, making it secure, too. AdBlock also doesn’t require any personal information before downloading the Chrome browser extension.
Ghostery is another good ad blocking option, but it’s unique because it takes you to websites’ privacy policies and opt-out forms. It stops all sorts of cookies and trackers, including those on social media pages, plus annoying ads and pop-ups. Ghostery isn’t as widely used and known as AdBlock, and doesn’t block as many ads, which is why AdBlock is our overall best pick.