How to block ads in Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Opera on Windows [3rd Edition] [Guide]

Advertisements are a critical source of revenue keeping dotTech afloat (same goes for most other websites). I greatly appreciate anyone and everyone that does not block ads on dotTech and our sister site, SharewareOnSale. However, I do not hold a grudge with anyone that does block ads because I understand advertisements can be very annoying (especially Flash ads); and, I feel everyone should at least have the knowledge of how to block ads so it is by choice when (if) they decide to not block ads as opposed to by helplessness. After all, education is the key to making an informed decision. (Okay, that was a lame dialog.)

There are many dotTechies who are OK with advertisements; but there are also others that are not. Out of those that dislike ads, there are some that block ads and there are some that would like to block ads but don’t know how. This article aims to help that latter group.

This article will show you how to block ads on the four major browsers used by Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8, Mac OS X, and Linux users: Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Opera. Read on to learn more.

Table of Contents

System-wide Ad-blocking

Before we get into telling you how to block ads on Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Opera, I want to point out two methods you can use to block all ads on your computer regardless of which program or browser the ads are shown in. In other words, the following two methods will block ads on every browser you use and other programs too, like instant messengers, torrent software, etc.

If you use any of the two system-wide ad-blocking methods mentioned below, you do not need to download any browser add-on or browser specific method to block ads (e.g. if you download AdFender or HostsMan, you don’t need AdBlock Plus).

AdFender

AdFender is an ad-blocking program that works independent of web browsers; it installs as a Windows program and not a browser add-on/extension and it blocks ads on all your browsers, system-wide. As such, you can use AdFender to block ads on Firefox, Internet Explorer (including the latest v11 of IE), Chrome, Opera, or any other web browser you use; it also blocks ads on instant messaging programs and torrent software. All you have to do is download and install AdFender, and it is good to go — it will automatically block ads on Internet Explorer (and your other browsers). Click here to learn more about AdFender and read our full review.

HostsMan

HostsMan is not an ad-blocking program; it is a program that allows you to modify your Windows computer’s HOSTS file. However, you can use HostsMan to block ads because you can use it to block connections to ad networks vis-a-vis the HOSTS file. The process is actually quite a bit easier than it sounds — you only have to click a few buttons — and it is very effective: it blocks ads on every browser or program on your computer. Click here to learn more about HostsMan and read our full review.

How to block ads on Firefox

Without a doubt Firefox is the easiest browser to block ads in because of its extensive add-ons support. In fact, while I don’t know if Firefox was the first browser to support adblockers, I do know Firefox is what made adblocking popular.

If you are a Firefox user and you want to block ads, look no further than AdBlock Plus. AdBlock Plus is a no-hassle, install-and-go adblocker add-on for Firefox. Really the only sort of “setup” you need to do with AdBlock Plus is select the adblocking filter you want to use:

These filters are, more or less, a definitions list telling AdBlock Plus which ads to block (similar to how there are virus definitions for anti-virus programs). You need to select one of the filters to use; unless you know what you are doing, just leave it at “EasyList” and click “Add subscription”. After the initial installation you can select to use more than one filter (“Tools” -> “AdBlock Plus Preferences…” -> “Filters” -> “Add Filter Subscription…”) but in all honesty one filter is more than enough to block 99.5% of ads. (Do note, though, if you visit non-English websites frequently, you may want to use a second non-English filter to block ads on non-English websites.)

Although AdBlock Plus blocks most ads on its own, if AdBlock Plus ever misses an ad you can right-click on the ad and select “AdBlock Plus: Block image”; this will allow you to create a custom filter blocking that ad and ads similar to it:

If AdBlock Plus misses a Flash or Java ad, a little “Block” tab will pop up above it allowing you to block it manually (since you can’t right-click on those types of ads).

Other useful features of AdBlock Plus are

  • The ability to disable AdBlock Plus on specific websites (i.e. allow ads to some on a website *cough* dotTech *cough*). This can be done via the AdBlock Plus button:

  • Adblocking is not a perfect science; there will be false positives (i.e. AdBlock Plus blocks an image or element which isn’t an ad). AdBlock Plus makes it fairly easy to unblock images/elements when these false positives do occur. This can be done by clicking the AdBlock Plus button, right-clicking the false positive, and disabling the corresponding filter:

Many people decide to use NoScript (an add-on that blocks scripts – like JavaScript – from running) instead of AdBlock Plus for their ad blocking needs (most ads are served using JavaScript, so when NoScript blocks JavaScript the ads do not appear). Yes NoScript is a terrific add-on, and yes it will make your browser safer and faster. However, I personally dislike NoScript.

NoScript is something that discourages the use of browsing technologies like JavaScript. Can JavaScript be used to exploit people’s computers? Yes. How many websites that run JavaScript do this? Maybe .01%? The point is we should not be discouraging the use of these website technologies – we should be embracing them (unless everyone wants the plain HTML websites back) – just because a few punks decide to exploit that technology. Do we stop downloading programs just because some programs are malicious? Of course not! Rather, we are just careful about what programs we download. Similarly, there is no need to block scripts if you are just careful of where you visit (and if you have security software installed), just like if you are careful of what you download.

Of course NoScript does allow users to enable scripts on “trusted” websites, but knowing when to enable scripts takes the eye of a tech-savvy person. The average user will be severely deprived of the wonders of the Internet after installing NoScript. (For example, dotTech uses JavaScript for the scroll “Old But Still Gold” on the main page; dotTech’s search cannot be used until scripts are enabled.)

I highly recommend AdBlock Plus over NoScript for ad blocking needs.

UPDATE: In a recent update to the add-on, AdBlock Plus has introduced “acceptable ads” feature which allows some ads to show in your browser. If you don’t want these “acceptable ads”, you can disable the feature. Click here to learn how to disable acceptable ads on AdBlock Plus.

How to block ads on Internet Explorer

Blocking ads on Internet Explorer used to be more complicated than Firefox… but now it is just as easy. Nonetheless, I will provide multiple different methods on blocking ads in Internet Explorer – you decide which one is best for you. (Or, alternatively, you can switch to a real browser. =P)

AdBlock Plus

AdBlock Plus, the famous ad-blocking add-on for Firefox, has now been officially ported to Internet Explorer. Like AdBlock Plus on Firefox, AdBlock Plus on Internet Explorer is easy-to-install and just works — it starts blocking ads from the get-go without you needing to setup anything. In other words, simply install it and go.

Also be sure to read dotTech’s article on what AdBlock Plus’ ‘Acceptable Ads’ are and how to turn them off.

Use InPrivate Browsing Filtering Capabilities

Internet Explorer’s InPrivate Browsing – the mode that makes sure no browsing data is stored on your computer – has a feature that allows users to filter content. This filter can be used to block ads. A user on DSLReports forum created an XML file out of AdBlock Plus’s list of ads to block and this XML file can be imported into InPrivate Browsing’s content filter:

  • Download the XML file. (Unzip it after downloading.)
  • Go to “Safety” -> “InPrivate Filtering Settings” and click on “Advanced Settings”:

  • At the “Advanced settings” window click in “Import” and import the XML file you downloaded:

The great thing about using this filter is

  1. It uses AdBlock Plus’s filter list so you will be blocking most all ads.
  2. You do not have to be in InPrivate Browsing mode for the ads to be blocked. Ads will be blocked like normal as long as you have “InPrivate Filtering” enabled (“Safety” -> “InPrivate Filtering”).

The thing about “InPrivate Filtering” is you must manually turn it on every time you run Internet Explorer. If you find that annoying, a simple registry hack makes “InPrivate Filtering” automatically turn on every time you run Internet Explorer. To do this registry hack

  • Run regedit.
  • Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Safety\PrivacIE
  • Right-click, go to “New” -> “DWORD”:

  • Name the new key StartMode:

  • Right-click the key -> “Modify”. Make sure hexadecimal is selected, enter a 1 in the textbox and click OK:

  • Close regedit. Done! Now every time you run Internet Explorer “InPrivate Filtering” will be turned on and ads will be blocked.

Since this method uses InPrivate Browsing’s filter, there is no need to download any plugins. The downside, however, is

  • The XML file from the DSLReports user is an year old (i.e. AdBlock Plus’ filters have been updated since then) so the list does not include the latest ad servers in it (although it still allows you to block most ads you will come across)
  • You cannot exclude specific websites from the filter (i.e. you can’t make it so dotTech ads are not blocked)
  • It is hard to pinpoint and remove false positives.

IE7Pro

Updated February 25, 2012: IE7Pro seems to have stalled in development. It was last updated in June 2010. I’d suggest looking at the AdFender method mentioned above to block ads in IE since IE7Pro is no longer being actively developed.

IE7Pro is a plugin for Internet Explorer (works on IE 6/7/8 – not just IE 7)  that adds a boatload of useful features to Internet Explorer. One of the features IE7Pro adds is an adblocker. This adblocker, however, is not enabled by default after installing IE7Pro – users have to manually enable it after installation. (Be warned during the installation of IE7Pro you are prompted with – drum roll please – an ad for installing a third party program; don’t accidentally install that third party program if you don’t want it.):

After the adblocker module has been enabled, you still need to enable the Flash blocker (to block Flash ads). To do this, go to “Preferences” again, click on “Ad Blocker” and enable Flash blocker:

You have the ability to modify filters, add your own filters, and whitelist websites.

Overall I found the ad blocking features of IE7Pro to be very poor; heck it wouldn’t even block Google AdSense ads…

Simple Adblock

Update February 26, 2012: Simple Adblock now has multiple editions, Free, Pro, and Enterprise. Free is limited to blocking 200 ad requests a day. Because of this limitation, I’d suggest using the the AdFender method mentioned above to block ads in IE since Simple Adblock is no longer free.

Simple Adblock is the closest IE users will be able to get to an AdBlock Plus-like plugin. Simple Adblock uses EasyList filters (the one from AdBlock Plus) to block ads so its accuracy in blocking ads is extremely good, although not as good as AdBlock Plus since AdBlock Plus allows for usage of multiple filters. Also, while Simple Adblock does allow users to disable Simple Adblock on a specific website, there is not much users can do to block individual ads or unblock individual ads. Simple Adblock does allow users to customize the filters list, but again, that is is a hassle because users have to modify files located in Simple Adblock’s installation folder.

On the brightside, Simple Adblock is very easy to setup, requiring only two inputs from the user after installation:

After installation Simple Adblock is accessible via an icon placed in Internet Explorer’s bottom bar:

As I said, Simple Adblock is the closest free plugin Internet Explorer users will get to AdBlock Plus; a word of caution about Simple Adblock though. You should always only install plugins/add-ons/extensions from trusted sources because otherwise you could be installing a browser exploit without knowing it. Simple Adblock is not that well known (thus not fully vetted by the Internet Explorer community) and the developer does not provide any information about him/herself. I am not saying Simple Adblock is a malicious plugin (SiteAdvisor says it is clean, Download.com says it is clean, and I scanned it personally and it came out to be clean); I am saying be cautious.

How to block ads on Chrome

AdBlock Plus

AdBlock Plus, the famous ad-blocking add-on for Firefox, has now been officially ported to Chrome. Like AdBlock Plus on Firefox, AdBlock Plus on Chrome is easy-to-install and just works — it starts blocking ads from the get-go without you needing to setup anything. In other words, simply install it and go.

Also be sure to read dotTech’s article on what AdBlock Plus’ ‘Acceptable Ads’ are and how to turn them off.

AdBlock For Chrome

Blocking ads in Chrome is just as easy as blocking ads in Firefox. AdBlock for Chrome does what AdBlock Plus does for Firefox. In fact, AdBlock is easier to setup than AdBlock Plus; with AdBlock you do not need to select which filter’s list to subscribe to – AdBlock automatically uses AdBlock’s own filters and AdBlock Plus’ EasyList. So, to use AdBlock all you need to do is install it – it will start blocking ads instantly requiring little to no assistance from you.

Most other features present in AdBlock Plus are in AdBlock:

  • Users can exclude sites from being blocked (press Ctrl + Shift + L when surfing the website you want to exclude):

  • Users can manually block an ad AdBlock missed (press Ctrl + Shift + K when surfing the website with the ad you want to block):

  • Users can manually change which filters are being used:

Unfortunately AdBlock does not have an easy way to remove false positives like AdBlock Plus does (as far as I can tell). Also, whereas AdBlock Plus fully stopped ads from being downloaded, because of the restrictions of Chrome, some ads are blocked by AdBlock after they have been downloaded as opposed to being blocked from being downloaded.

How to block ads on Opera

Historically, like Internet Explorer, blocking ads on Opera is a bit complicated because of Opera’s poor extendability. In the past the best way to block ads in Opera is an adblocking method using Opera’s built in content blocker (similar to IE’s InPrivate Filter) and an add-on to block Flash ads specifically. However, ever since Opera introduced extensions starting in Opera 11, third-party developers have started creating add-ons for Opera. One such add-on is Opera Adblock and the other is AdBlock Plus.

AdBlock Plus

AdBlock Plus, the famous ad-blocking add-on for Firefox, has now been officially ported to Opera. Like AdBlock Plus on Firefox, AdBlock Plus on Opera is easy-to-install and just works — it starts blocking ads from the get-go without you needing to setup anything. In other words, simply install it and go.

Also be sure to read dotTech’s article on what AdBlock Plus’ ‘Acceptable Ads’ are and how to turn them off.

Opera Adblock

Opera Adblock is an add-on for Opera that makes it extremely easy to block ads. Similar to Adblock Plus for Firefox and Adblock for Chrome, Opera Adblock utilizes ad filters to block ads, notably Fanboy and EasyList. The best part about Opera Adblock is it is extremely easy to setup and use. All you have to do is install Opera Adblock from Opera’s extensions website and you are good to go; Opera Adblock automatically starts blocking ads start installation, using Fanboy’s ad filter and CSS filter to block ads (Opera Adblock also blocks tracking websites and the annoying Facebook logins and buttons you see all over the Internet) — you don’t have to mess with any settings if you don’t want to.

If, however, you do feel inclined to customize Opera Adblock settings, from Opera Adblock’s Preferences you can…

  • Customize what ad filters to use:

  • Manually block specific websites and/or CSS elements:

  • Add a button in Opera’s address bar to quickly enable/disable Opera Adblock:

  • Control how often Opera Adblock looks for updates for the filters you are using, change which CSS element filter to use, enable/disable New York Times paywall and Facebook buttons/logins blocking, and enable/disable launch delay:

  • Set Opera Adblock to automatically check for updates:

Really the only downside I can see to Opera Adblock is that it isn’t as easy to unblock ads on specific websites as it is for Adblock Plus for Firefox or Adblock for Chrome. If you want to unblock ads on a specific website with Opera Adblock:

  • Right-click on the page you want to unblock ads on
  • Select Edit Site Preferences…
  • Go to the Content tab
  • Uncheck Enable content blocking

You need to do this for every website you want to manually unblock ads and for some websites it still may not work in which case you would have to uncheck Enable plug-ins, too.

Final Words

There are multiple different ways to block ads on Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Opera; instead of talking about all of them, I picked the best adblockers to recommend in this article. Everyone is, of course, welcome to share their opinions on which adblockers are the best (be sure to specify for which browser is the adblocker you are recommending).

Before blocking ads, always keep in mind you may be blocking the only source of revenue your favorite website has; lack of ad revenue can often times drive a website out of business, or force the website to put up a pay wall. That is not to say you are wrong or evil if you block ads (some ads, especially Flash ads, deserve to be blocked because they are so intrusive and annoying) but rather one should always consider the impact blocking ads will have on the website in question. That said, now everyone has the knowledge and tools needed to block advertisements. So, please share with us in the comments below: Do you, or will you, block ads?

Originally posted on August 8, 2010. Second Edition posted on Febuary 26, 2012 to update ad blocking procedures for Opera. Third Edition posted on December 31, 2013 to add new methods for blocking ads.

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127 comments

  1. Randy

    I believe ads serve a purpose. Not in the search function of my email, however. I just loaded Opera and when I search a sender in my Yahoo email, I get “sponsored” ads. I had this in FF but was able to get rid of it. Now that FF is intent on firing people for their personal beliefs, I am searching for a new browser. If I can’t get this to work in Opera, I’m off somewhere else. (BTW, what you believe is your choice and just fine with me. I object to someone bullying a company to fire a person because that person disagrees with the bully. And you know who you are.)

  2. Surinder

    These Adds pop ups comes whne a software name “outbox” is installed on your computer. This may be one of the reasons(the one in my case)Its installed with some other neccassary software whne you download them. Just remove it from your system and you are done.
    It was really helpful to me.

  3. Larry

    Unfortunately advertisers play the numbers game. They don’t care how many people they annoy as long as they get a few sales. Unscrupulous websites don’t care how many people they annoy as long as the advertisers keep stuffing money in their pockets. The new thing is Videos these days. Behind every Video on the web is, you guess it a commercial. I don’t mind watching videos but sometimes I rather read an article than to hog up a lot of bandwidth especially on the job. These advertisers think that they can part with peoples money by repeatedly bombarding them with ads. Well if that was the case, I would have a Corvette by now as many times as I have seen corvettes on the web… The majority of people(99.9%) know what they want to purchase before they purchase it. They don’t have loads of money hanging out of their pockets waiting for some new gadget to buy. Also, when they do buy something it does not mean they want to buy similar items. If I purchased a car this week, do you think that next week I would want to purchase another car ? That’s ridiculous. These companies would be better off using their advertising dollars to improve their products. Maybe then they would not need so much advertising.

  4. Someoneelse

    I knew there had to be many many people more than simply angered at all the internet advertising.

    Websites should never ever attempt to rely on ads for revenue, yet far too many attempt to.

    We have rights… to view or not to view… which trumps all other rights believing they have the
    right to force-feed ads into our browsers. This is NOT television and should never go the
    way television commercials have gone – 3/4 commercials, 1/4 show. The major reason I no
    longer turn on a TV.

    IF they are willing to pay our internet for us – more than willing to allow them to slam ads
    in my face, but until they pay me to see those ads… I find ways to stop them. HOSTS works
    nicely except those *)()* flash ads.

    If you want to make a living on the internet – be courteous to your visitors – stop tracking
    them, stop selling their information for profit and STOP the annoying ads in their faces!

    All my browsers are set to notify me of COOKIES so I have full control over what cookie
    gets placed and which one does not. You seriously need hundreds of cookies to monitor
    every click on your site? Not!

    Want me to buy something? Let me locate it rather you attempt to slam it in my face, as
    for that I will never purchase your product.

    Advertisers want to control the internet? PAY US FOR USING IT THEN.

    Otherwise – KEEP YOUR ANNOYING ADS TO YOURSELF!

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    which the sun never sets.

  7. DoktorThomas™

    Advertising has its place; just not in my life. However, the barrage of insultingly stupid and repetitive ads one is forced to endue E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E makes blocking them by whatever means as frequently as possible absolutely necessary. Even the NFL or Rush isn’t worth sitting through the advertisements; I won’t. I don’t. That’s why they built remotes and off switches, right? Nothing is worth enduring the associated grade school advertising.

    A good rule of thumb across all level of goods: if the seller has to advertise to make sales the product is not worth having. Doubtful? How many Lamborghini ads to do you see at the Super Bowl or on web sites? That product literally sells itself.

    Then there is the extra cost consumers are forced to pay on nearly every product to support the plethora mental insults hurled at them by marketing agencies. Sellers would be better to pay us direct than pay those dullard ad agencies.

    So any help to abolish advertising, at least as presented by Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, MSN.com, MSNBC.com, msft, adobe, intuit, GM, Mopar, Toy-yoyo, and thousands of others is welcome and needed relief. Don’t forget the US fed.gov, those enemy combatants are most deserving of all the world’s ire and ignorance. ©2014

  8. Colin Ripley

    I like to use Ghostery since it allows you to choose which ads/trackers you want to have on the page, and also to whitelist dotTect. I was wondering if there was a way to know which ads/trackers would be the most useful to websites, and would be least infringing on the readers and their bandwidth.

  9. Godel

    Ok, with NoScript, how much of the long list of junk that appears under the NoScript icon do I have to allow before the site owner gets paid? For example, Google analytics, scorecard-research, doubleclick, etc.

    The problem with NoScript is that “temporarily allow” doesn’t just apply to the primary site, but globally to all other sites you visit after that, until you revoke permissions.

  10. Peter

    Wow!! I am impressed by the number of people who are grateful.This is the largest number of comments/acknowledgments I’ve ever seen on dottech. Chapeau, Ashraf!
    b.t.w.: I’m sure that “Okay, that was a lame dialog.” should read: “Okay, that was an interesting monologue.” ;)

  11. iberoespanolita

    Gracias a los desarrolladores de esta WEB por crear una maravilla.
    Quiero decir a todos que van a leer este post, que esta WEB es digno de un premio, he estado navegando y observe que hay muchas temas las que a mí personalmente me gustan. Además el concepto desglosado permite comentar muchos problemas.
    Saludos

  12. ed chou iii

    It’s not just the ads but the fact they are Isn’t freedom of choice something the country is built on? How has the internet exempted itself? With many sites, if you block the ad, the content will not play.
    Curtailing choice is a hallmark of advertising on the web. Much of it is intrusive, time wasting, even obnoxious.
    AdBlock does not do a good job at this.

  13. caveman

    Ads didn’t use to bother me but its gotten out of control. I can’t even do research without having to constantly deal with stupid ads. If I want to buy something I will look for it, That is why I will spend the money to block these ads. Thank you for the info. Maybe know I can get some things done.

  14. Faith

    Sorry sometimes this man doing things he should not be doing on Internet puts on my phone uses my name I’m a widow with children and he lives by himself makes 100g a year so cheap he want to hack my Internet so he don’t have to pay.. Sorry just can’t deal no more!! He hurting me bad even put stuff on card before please and thank you if can help

  15. Faith

    I’m being stalked by ex and he scares me uses my name too sign up for stuff takes over my account I have iPhone not android I would really love some help will not go away and goes on sights that may need too be paid for at some point just got phone in April he controls it again trying too run for a year pease help or remove Firefox I see a lot of what he does there just logged out of google and love them I’m really sad right now pay a lot for this phone and he takes all my Internet Microsoft hotmail I can’t sign into he has all set up spend days off on this and sick please help I’ve tried everything one day ill get help thank you

  16. Naim

    Hi,
    I’m looking for a solution to an automatic shut down of my computer after hacking the registry to block advertisements. The computer loads Win7 Ultimate sometimes and then shuts down and at other times it shuts down during the start up.
    I’m running IE9 in Win7 Ultimate 32bit.
    All help will be highly appreciated.
    Cheers!
    Naim

  17. Dave

    [@Dr. Trour]
    Yes, there direly needs to be a measure of common sense shown on the part of advertisers, as well as by the websites which host their ads.

    Both groups do not realize/believe that ads like you described are like shooting themselves in the corporate foot, as folks will tend to avoid both the ad’s product or service, AND the site where they endured the ad.

    If the ads were not so intrusive and resource-hogging (often spelled F-L-A-S-H), we might be able to tolerate them somewhat, but not those of the uncivilized behaviour with which so many of them ‘attack’ us at the present time.

    That’s why I am looking for a blocker today.

    I’ve had enough !

    (and I’m a Canadian saying that)

  18. Judie

    Thank you so much!!! I was about to shut down ebay and find alternative sites. I hate flashing, disruptive and irritating flashing ads and have had enough. This program stopped them immediately. I do appreciate you!

  19. lakawak

    [@supergenius] IT is hte pathetic atheists who hjave so little confirdence in their own beleifs that have become the Jehova Witnesses of hte internet…always pathetically injecting their beleifs into unrelated conversations. (You know…like your sorry ass worthless self just did here.)

  20. lakawak

    Don’t consider yourself in ANY WAY superior to te average internet user if you still hang on to Firefox and think that IE 10 is not a real borwser. Just know you will die alone. Likely by your own hand when you realize how many years of loneliness you have ahead of you if you continue t live.

  21. Surrey

    I don’t care if websites don’t make any money because their advertisements are blocked. I care only about money in my pocket, not theirs. I can’t be bothered being pestered and annoyed with a bombardment of advertisements and popups when I’m on the internet. Let them go out of business, the internet won’t be the sea of crap it is these days.

  22. Dr. Trour

    This is an excellent article, and all the solutions work well.

    Don’t feel bad about blocking intrusive ads. I’m all for websites making money, but there needs to be common sense and decency too. basic ad logos are fine. We don’t want:

    1) popup ads
    2) ads suddenly blaring loud music and videos
    3) moving ads that makes websites shift
    4) ads constantly getting snooping for information they can sell (yahoo, google, and Facebook, I’m looking at you)

    Oh, and by the way, such ads slow down the browser and have security problems too.

  23. Derrick

    I think it is very important that no matter what we able to block not just advertisers but other sites that as offence materials in them.

    Our chidrens mind is very important to us as we grow them through their early years this will help them to make rounded decission on where they want to be in life.

    This site has useful imformation that will help families to know how to block unwanted content.

  24. Alan

    Thank You
    I have no idea where these ads were coming from, but adblock is working really good.
    I scanned it with antivirus spyware everithing but didn’t work until I installed adblock.

    ThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanksThanks

  25. sitichon

    @Frank D:
    To FrankD and damian:
    God doesn’t “defend” his name simply because He has given us agency to do what we want, and to FORCE you to do His will would defeat the purpose of this life. If you want to return to live with Him, you would try to please Him. If you deny even His existence let alone use His name in vain, you obviously don’t want to return to Him, and won’t.

  26. Anon1234

    Personally, i prefer Adblock for chrome, b/c it allows me to block what I think are ads. For example, i can block share buttons for facebook, twitter, etc if i find them annoying. i can also block websites headers, and contact information and stuff at the bottom b/c i never use it. its makes web browsing MUCH tidier. Also, its really helpful on reading sites, where you read manga and etc, b/c you can eliminate all distractions

  27. Frank D

    Those who believe in no gods at all probably should take offense at those who take terms such as “God” seriously, but they usually do not. (+1 for atheists)

    Question: Why the fuss? Does “God” need mere mortals to defend “his name”? If “he” is all-powerful, as some claim, “he” can certainly do that for “himself” with no help from below.

  28. Dick Jenkin

    Please do not use blasphemy in your comments, i.e. taking God’s name in vain. It degrades the whole web-site. It is the worst form of swearing. Thanks otherwise for your comments.

  29. N

    My computer didn’t accept the XML file mentioned under IE options, the free option for IE that someone developed. Message stated ‘may not be a” proper privacy settings file (not exact words of msg.). So… the hunt goes on for a way to block personal details-related advertising – an extreme but true example: one writes to one’s brother using e-mail, who lives in another state, distant, state. One later sees an ad targeting HOTELS in that specific state . . .

  30. antivirus software

    On a regular basis check out the pc’s total technique. I enjoy to perform tests immediately since they slow your pc and might get a little bit. Only if a part of your personal machine system is apparently contaminated, you are able to scan the think component just. In case you are by using a free software, check that that eliminates the particular malware it has identified. A few of these no cost applications will certainly recognize the risks yet need find the enter in purchase correctly to take out chlamydia. I believe those applications needs to be deleted along with changed by simply packages who have complete operation.

  31. chuck

    OK guys-I need a little 101 on ads.
    I have a bad habit of reading articles with my mouse (cursor).Though I don’t use my index finger when reading a book or magazine-go figure.
    Anyway these annoying little ads pop up,usually triggered by a highlighted word or phrase,or maybe an object on the web page.They are usually square,sometimes contain audio (really annoying),and the X at the top right corner will not always close them,forcing me to reload the page and start over.God I hate these things!!
    Can anyone tell me the proper terminolgy for these ads > pop-up or flash perhaps?
    Also,what is there composition,or construction for lack of the proper geek term > flash,java,or script driven?
    If anyone could shed some light here in non-geek speak,it would be much appreciated.

  32. ebony

    @Tenderfoot:

    Check out the site and did not find HostsMan to be trouble free.

    As far as the programs mention above, I like the fact that I can shut them down/uninstall if I want to

    @Jimmy Thanks for the tip on Ghosterly, I like the inof it shows and I whitelisted this site ONLY.

  33. Tenderfoot

    I have tried all of the above and frankly, it was more trouble than its worth. The solution I found was to simply add entries to my HOSTS file and it will block ad’s from sites listed regardless of which browser you use, so no fooling around with the browser. It also prevents a lot of crap from being downloaded onto my PC as drive-by downloads. I have used this tool plus a free Firewall from Zone Alarm for many years on all of my PC”s and all of my Families systems and have never (knock on wood) had any issues or any virus’s on any of my systems. Best of all it is flexible and FREE.

    I use HostsMan to manage the HOSTS file (also a free application). I also populate the HOSTS file with entries automatically through HostsMan, so it pretty much manages itself for me.

    Check out this site for more free info on how exactly it works and also the tools available to manage your HOSTS file.

    http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

    You’ll be glad you did!

  34. Darcy

    Excellent coverage on a topic we all seem to find interesting. :) I do have a couple of tips to add for Firefox though.

    If you are only concerned by Flash Ads, or like me you don’t like a website to suddenly start blaring someone else’s idea of music at you, try the Flashblock add-on. All it does is pause a flash on start until you click a small icon to start it yourself. There is a whitelist if you want to make an exception for any website, like YouTube for example. It’s one of my favorite add-ons though, and one I wouldn’t run Firefox without.

    Second, I have one site I use regularly that has coded themselves until you can’t block their ads. Adblock plus won’t work on that site without blocking the whole website. My solution is an Add-on called RIP or Remove It Permanently. Right click anything on a website, RIP it and it’s gone. There’s an undo function so you can back up if it damages your ability to use a website and you can even manually edit the block coding under RIP Options if you know how. This is the string code for the element being blocked only but sometimes editing it to the container will block all of the ones like that.

  35. ebony

    @rowal5555: I tried ABP but on some sites it would not let photos come in if I was reading news article that contained pictures. Since I am not that great at troubleshooting, when something doesn’t work, I just poof it.

    So I went with adfender. It appears to be doing the job. Not sure how to test it, I just roll with it. hehehe

  36. s66

    WAS GOING TO USE ADBLOCK PRO ON MY IE 64 BIT UNTIL I READ THIS…
    http://forums.cnet.com/7723-12543_102-550098/is-adblock-pro-a-scam/
    Is AdBlock Pro a scam?

    by rschase5120 – 12/12/11 11:34 AM

    I downloaded through CNET downloads two copies of Adblock Pro 64-bit software. In neither case did I ever receive a user key. I paid my $19.95 in each case and they gladly took my money. But in neither case did I get anything else via email. And after 14 days of “trial period” the software expired and now I get annoying messages every time I boot up that I have zero (0) days left on my trial.
    I’ve written to AdBlock Pro three times, and each time has received no response. I did get an emailk from Digital River showing that they had downloaded the software (which I already knew) but even on that notice there was NO KEY.
    These guys are a joke. I’m hoping that somebody from CNET or this forum can help me resolve this issue.

  37. Colin Ripley

    @Ashraf: Was trying unblock ads for Dottech, found out that I have not installed adblocker yet for Firefox on Win 7. Did have Ghostery installed , so it must be blocking ads also. Have whitelisted Dottech in Ghostery and have 3 ads now.

  38. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @chris: You are welcome!

    @Cynthia: You are welcome!

    @Frank D: Adblock Plus may not have been updated to work with FF 11, yet. According to Adblock Plus’s website:

    Firefox 9
    Firefox 10
    Firefox 11: Using Adblock Plus development builds is recommended.
    Firefox 12: Using Adblock Plus development builds is recommended.
    Firefox 13: Using Adblock Plus development builds is recommended.

  39. Hmm

    @logicandreason you have absolute no logic or reasoning skills. cookies and ads are an invasion of our privacy. we already pay fees to our ISP. So, next time you try to promote your website through annoying ads et al, think about the privacy implications and how it negatively affect others. If revenue through invasive ads is your sole marketing strategy, time to higher a professional to handle your marketing needs.

  40. logicandreason

    I wonder how many people will keep blocking ads when their favorite website has to close down or end certain sections or functions because their revenue has been hurt by people blocking ads. When will people realize that running a business costs money. And if your business is to provide content to people via the Internet and your revenue is from ads, employees who make the content can’t be paid if the ads are removed by visitors. Money to operate doesn’t come out of thin air. Ad blocking is the equivalent to me coming to where you work and shredding your check while still expecting you to provide a service to me. How long could you survive if someone expected you to work for them but blocked your paycheck? And how would you feel about people who did that?

  41. Giovanni

    *** EDIT ***

    No way!

    FIREFOX + ADBLOCK PLUS + EasyList & EasyPrivacy filters are the BEST OPTION to block any ADS while surfing the web.

    IE 9 users may install “EasyPrivacy Tracking Protection List” filter to block web bugs, tracking scripts and other damn information collectors they may stumble upon.

    All of this can be grabbed for FREE of course!

    http://easylist.adblockplus.org/en/

    Enjoy!!

  42. scotty

    I have been using adblock plus in FF for years now and suddenly it has started blocking images from Amazon. Is there an easy way to fix this or am i forced to discontinue its use. Great article by the way. Thanks

  43. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @colin ripley: Both; it depends on what type of ads they are. Google AdSense ads (the one on dotTech) only pay when people click on them. Other ads, such as Technorati Media ads, pay when ads are just shown — no need to click on them.

  44. Tenderfoot

    All of the above suggestions are good, and I’ve tried them all at one time or another, but frankly, the best solution I have found is a little known program called HostsMan. HostsMan is a free “hosts” file management program that works with all versions of Windows and is very easy to install and use.

    Instead of trying to block pop ups and malware sites from running on your PC, the hosts file prevents your PC from ever going out and retrieving them to start with! Thus your PC browser runs faster because its not downloading a bunch of crap Ad’s and Pop Ups into your browser the you probably don’t want to see anyway

    The end result is nice clean web pages and very few Ad’s or Pop Ups!!
    (I use Firefox, Chrome and IE all without issues.)

    You can easily update, modify or disable or enable your “hosts” file with one click of the mouse. For those worried about a slowdown of the system (I run XP SP3 and have never had a problem with this), HostsMan also comes with a tiny Hosts Server that is also free, that can run in the background which takes care of this problem for those with extremely large “hosts” files or those that don’t like to see junk in the blank space where the Ad was suppose to be. Instead, you only see something that says “Blocked:AdYieldmanager.com”.

    In addition, several different HOSTS files can be used, combined, etc and automatically updated when needed. On rare occasions, I have had the need to temporarily disable (one mouse click) or modify the hosts file (can also be done easily with HostsMan tool) to allow Ad’s to run in order to view some online videos on some of the major news channels or access some sites, but for sites like HULU.com, a visual warning comes up when trying to watch a video stating that the Ad won’t play or display because you don’t have cookies enabled or you have Ad’s blocked. If you look at the top of the video window, the clock counts down as one Ad after another try to play in the background… but you never see them. When the Ad’s have finished playing, your video begins to play normally.

    It is so nice to rarely see an Ad while surfing the web, and browser redirection to other harmful sites are a thing of the past. Since the “hosts” file runs in the background on pretty much ALL Windows Machines (and I suspect other OS’s as well), you are simply enhancing it by using HostsMan and HostsServer. HostsMan can be configured to auto-update with new “hosts” files when they are available from at least 3 different providers built into the app, or you can add your own sources. You can also edit and modify the hosts file very easily via the app.

    Here is the link to a great article that explains what the HOSTS file does and how you can use it to protect your PC better. http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

    You can find the HostsMan program for free at http://www.abelhadigital.com/hostsman

    There are links in the article that also provide other hosts file management programs that can be used.

    Read the directions carefully as there are a few special Admin permissions required on Windows Vista and Windows 7 machines to allow automatic updating and also to perform the initial installation due to Microsoft enhanced security methods being used with those OS’s.

    Oh, did I mention that this fabulous tool is FREE!!!!!!
    Enjoy!

  45. Dianna Gobely

    Hello, I was given you Web link from HP. I need help I need to purchase software that will stop people on craigslist from flagging my ads. I sell products on Craigslist and its competitive and theres people that just won’t leave my ads alone. i’m losing money because I can’t get my ad on they have software that flags it as soon as I put it out there. Can you please help me?  Alls I need is a way to keep my ad on craigslist, without being removed when ever these people feel like removing it.  Its illigal what there doing but no one responds from craigslist.

    Dianna

  46. flipflopnick

    Brilliant summation and ethics of ad blocking. Could I add …
    If using a system wide proxy (eg Privoxy or Proximitron) to route all web http:// requests increase Max server requests / connections towards maximum or browser will be S-L-O-W when several Tabs are open. Do this for all browsers used. Easy in FireFox, Chrome and Opera. Regedit in IE unless you find a Registry hack program or a setting in another program. IE7PRO works with IE8
    A system wide ad blocker will block ads in email and other programs and stop some malware.
    Search for how to please, as this will change over time.
    I use Privoxy as a system wide AD block . It also blocks other nasties system wide. Additional security. No need to install separate proxies. Set Privoxy as system proxy in Control Panel, and all browsers are using it. Safari included. Set browser options to use system proxy. Watch animated Icon in system tray work. Try Running Privoxy as a service or put shortcut in All Users startup folder. Only Blocks content on ports :80 and :81
    If hosts file file is big, THIS WILL MASSIVELY SLOW SYSTEM DOWN and may slow system start. Not recommended but very effective. Spybot S&D has a hosts file list alterer (!)
    A  big filter.ini in Opera can slow Opera down.
    Can turn Privoxy on and Off through icon in system tray for allowing ads system wide. Exceptions can be added to a Privoxy config file for sites to support like this one.
    HTH

  47. TXmuseic

    I began using AdMuncher -got it from BitsduJour- before I started in Facebook, and till then I had only used IE. Right after I installed it, a great calm came over me, a deep exhaling of the tensions all those clamouring adverts had incessantly barraged me with. I find it quite customisable, thorough, and their customer service has been prompt and effective. I’m counting on its being available for all browsers soon. I’m testing Firefox’s beta now, and so far very few of my add-ons work with the new versions. (I’m also counting on all those eventually working together again!) I’d go back to Firefox 3 in a heartbeat if they weren’t also counting on me to tough it out. They have a multitude of bright young lads testing, but very few ornery old gals like me~
    I’m careful to except the sites like yours, Ashraf, where the work is done by one or a few folks not linked to a corporate teat, and I do send a few dollars when I can.
    Sincere appreciation for the work you do for us, and all I’ve learned here, from the reviews and the intelligent commentors.
    Alas, MissKittyWamPuss is trying to commandeer my keyboard, which means it’s time for us to go to bed.
    Ta!

  48. Tortuga

    Hi Ash :*)
    Many thanks for that info on Opera, didn’t know h2 do it. Don’t use it much, but it’s nice to know how to configure it.

    Been using AdBlock on Chrome & AdBlock Plus + NoScript on FF.

    As for IE, never use that darn critter!! For MS Dwlds/Updates we use IETab Plus.

    As for dotTech, rather then unblocking the adds, I do prefer to send you donations directly.
    • And if I may, I suggest anybody that Ashraf has helped w his Reviews, Tutorials, Promos, etc, try to send something, even if its a small amount. Every little bit helps to pay for the servers, registration, maintenance, etc, etc, as those he does have to pay for!
    Peace

  49. Fred

    Easy solution for all browsers. Configure one time (update from time to time) a ad blocking program and have the ads filtered in all browsers -> filter proxy
    Use programs like proxomitron or privoxy to get rid of the ads. There are a lot of people out there making fine tuned filter configurations for these applications.
    The browser only needs to be reconfigured to access the internet using the proxy. No slowdown in the browser cause of overloaded filter configurations of the adblocking inside the browser like there is when you load one of those gigantic filter configurations for adblock (plus). :-)

  50. leland

    I’m with tejas, Ad Muncher while not free is a better method to block adds because it blocks them in all internet facing programs.  That means you need no additional addons and better yet it stops the content of the adds from even being downloaded to your system.  All the add blocking addons for browsers still download the add content but do not show the actual content (with the exception of Opera).  I have found with Ad Muncher you can actually see a small increase in speed due to add content not making it to your computer.  In this way I think it pays for itself quite easily.
    BTW, Ashraf, NoScript is more a security add-on to help protect you during browsing.  You can still enable scripts from the actual domain you are visiting if you want just by setting an option to temporarily enable all top-level sites by default.  I do this for friends who could use the extra protection but don’t want to learn how to use it.  It does way more than block scripts; it also blocks many attack vectors in Firefox beyond those allowed by scripts.  Also, it is quite easy to right click the status bar icon and select temporarily allow scripts for this site or any site linked to in that web page.  It really is easy to use and improves security.

  51. Spencer

    Just a quick note, the reason I use noScript is because javascript ads use up large quantities of my limited bandwidth, as well as dramatically slowing down the speed at which a web page loads. When I’m reading a news article I am not interested in watching a mini video for widgets smack in the middle of the article. I’m even less interested in having said video steal 10 megs of internet usage I paid for.

  52. Paul the Great!

    Good article. I’ve got one more trick I like to use that prevents adds from ever even hitting my adblock plus – it’s super simple and clean. The adds never download which helped me when I had limited bandwidth per month.
    It also technically can prevent undesired content from loading into your computer.
    It’s a new hosts file (windows only I believe) that reroutes 99% of advertisement servers to your own 127.0.0.1 blank page.
    http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm
    It’s also free =)

    also, if you still want to support websites, and don’t want adds, give ‘em some $ over paypal. You’ll probably give ‘em more than you’ll ever generate by adds.

  53. AT

    If you use Firefox and Adblock plus, you can even block very specific items. For example, if a sight has really ugly background image(s), just click on the Adblock icon, select the offending item(s) from the blockable list and add to filter. It even works on *.css, *.js scripts. You can also use wildcards for a broader selection. Example, “http://ads.*” will block everything that starts with http://ads.
    I do not subscribe to a filter package. Instead, I just surf the net and Adblock as I go. Hope this helps.

  54. David

    Great review…  thanks.

    Proxomitron (been around for years, still great) works as a proxy (chainable) so could be an ’1 for all’ solution- available for all browsers. There is a version with a better GUI. Lots of configurable options if you wish to use them. User supported.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxomitron

    Maxthon (IE based) has a built-in ad blocker – Ad hunter. However, I find the text filter (obscurely) stops iplayer videos from starting.

  55. Toast

    AdThwart for Chrome also seems to leave pages rendered closest to the original intent with ads, while AdBlock for Chrome can reformat the page in an unintended way.
    That’s from my experience though. I like AdThwart a bit better for those reasons.

  56. phase

    lol’d so hard at “cough* dotTech *cough*”that went right up to ABP did just that, and ya only got a few ads (now that denotes style, enough to click on one a day just because it’s no biggie)
     

  57. tejas

    I have used Ad Muncher for years. Not free, but worth every penny. With Ad Muncher running, all ads, in all apps, are blocked. hat includes browser, IM clients, etc. You can easily choose to do no filtering on any site. (I don’t block ads here)
    The thing I love about Opera’s Content Blocker is the ability to block images that aren’t ads, but are just as annoying. Like those ad-like signature images you see on some forums

  58. OldElmerFudd

    While I use Fx with AB Plus almost exclusively, occasionally I’ll look around on IE 8 after doing a Windows Update. (Btw, did everybody catch that critical shell extension patch that came out the other day?) I take a kind of perverse amusement seeing ads that never show their faces in Fx – guess it makes me a little grateful I don’t know they’re there.
     
    I’d rather support a site with donations than through ads, but that’s just my preference.

  59. Pandora

    Hi Ashraf
    Nice article – thanks
    Primarily a FF user, so stuff on Opera and Chrome was interesting. IE I passed by as I will have to be dragged kicking and screaming before I will use that.

    Must take issue with the NoScripts bit which I have used (and like) for a while now.
    Training it isnt that onerous – a bit like training your firewall
    - OK the sites you visit are more numerous than the programs you run, but its the same concept.
    You just trust the site or select the scripts, or temporarily allow and if all is well make perm. there is even a button for “Temporarily allow all this page” 
    I know you know all this – you just seemed to come down against NoScript a bit too heavy for me
    Anyway each to their own.
    Once again thanks for another excellent article
    PS dottech is of course white listed!

  60. gnozal

    @Asraf : thanks for providing a link for Opera’s built-in content blocker.
    However, I still think that you don’t need any additional script or plugin for ad blocking with Opera : AdSweep is useless.
    I use Opera every day and I don’t see ads.

  61. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @lol768: Yeah, I came across AdThwart while researching for this article. Thanks for the input!

    @Scott Mosier: Yep, I came across that too. Thanks for the input!

    @thebluejay: You are welcome =). Thanks for the kind words.

    @gnozal: You are right, I am not an Opera user. However, the link I provided to Tamil’s post on blocking ads, I thought it was explaining how to make use for that “Block-content”/urlfilter.ini feature you are referring to? Maybe I am wrong. Also, it may be an old post but it has been updated many times over the past 4 years, with the last update being in April of 2010.

    If you have suggestions on how to improve the Opera part of this post, please tell me – I will update the post!

    EDIT: I updated the post to include a newer link for Opera’s content blocker.

  62. gnozal

    Hi Ashraf, you obviously never used Opera…

    No scripts or plugins are necessary, it’s all built in.

    All you have to do is right-click, choose ‘Block-content’ and click on the add(s) you want to remove.
    You can edit the link with wild-cards to block domains, like ‘http://ad.*’.

    You may also edit the ‘urlfilter.ini’ file manually.

  63. thebluejay

    I don’t have much to say except that this is one of the finest articles I have ever read! Great work, Ashraf. Your stuff is really appreciated, especially when you go to the trouble of doing a really comprehensive and informative article like this one.

  64. lol768

    My personal favorite when using chromium/chrome is AdThwart which will be updated soon to include functionality to block ads before they are downloaded – however this doesn’t work at the moment as chrome/chromium is missing one last feature that this method requires.

    In the meantime AdThwart works great at hiding the ads using ADP’s easy list and that’s fine for me until chromium implements the missing feature.
    For more info check the extension page: https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/cfhdojbkjhnklbpkdaibdccddilifddb?hl=en

    Another method that sounds a bit far fetched is to create a proxy server and install a linux distro, squid + dans guardian and configure dans guardian to block all the entries on ADP’s easy list. This setup doubles as a cache and is supposed to speed up your browsing – however the scanning which dans guardian does is quite slow and it can cut your download speed in half.

    I wonder if you could edit your hosts file to block the ads (not the best way of doing it :) ). Thanks for the summary – I never knew that IE and Opera were so hard to configure to block ads.