Everyone knows that ads can be quite annoying, popping up on every website and tracking usage across them all. Some may even infect your computer with damaging viruses that are difficult to remove, so we deem it best to install an ad blocker. It will not only restricts ads but also protect your personal information and privacy while you surf the Web. Here we review five free ad blockers compatible with the Microsoft Edge browser.
Ad blockers function by routinely checking the domain names of elements loading on a website with extensive blocklists. If any site component has been identified as containing advertising, your ad blocker will prevent it from loading.
1. uBlock Origin
uBlock Origin resists being labeled as an ad blocker and calls itself a “wide-spectrum content blocker.” It is an open-source browser extension for filtering content across platforms. Since it is very lightweight on CPU memory, it does not slow down your computer.
uBlock Origin’s primary aim is to neutralize privacy invasion through blocklists. When a blocklisted element on a site tries to track your activity, uBlock Origin blocks it.
The downside to this is that blocklists become obsolete with time, as new trackers are created every day. The developers have countered this flaw by designing an advanced mode where users can curate their own resource type filtering rules based on the website’s origin. With personalized blocklists, users can get the most out of uBlock Origin.
AdGuard blocks unwanted ads on webpages, including video ads, pop-ups, banners, text ads, and floating ads.
In addition, AdGuard provides a safe web interaction by protecting users from phishing, malware, spyware, and dangerous websites. It achieves this by routinely checking and blocking malicious content, restricting trackers, hiding your IP address, and blocking third-party cookies.
The “Parental Control” feature on AdGuard makes it an excellent choice for parents and guardians. This feature blocks access to inappropriate websites and prevents children from accessing obscene materials online. To provide the perfect Internet experience for their children, parents can curate an allowlist or whitelist that comprises sites they believe are safe for their children to view and use.
AdBlock promises a “worry-free and distraction-free Internet experience for everyone.” The developers of this ad-blocking software understand that most content creators monetize their content via advertising, which is why AdBlock uses the Acceptable Ads program standard to select and restrict annoying ads while allowing unobtrusive ones.
The disadvantage of this ad-blocking technique is that sites the program deems acceptable may be rather intrusive for some users, since people have varying thresholds for pop-ups and other advertising material. If you find the “acceptable” ads intrusive, you can opt to edit your filters manually via the extension’s settings.
Another solution is to disable the “Acceptable Ads” filter list by unchecking the option to “Allow some non-intrusive advertising” in AdBlock’s settings. You can also disable ads on specific YouTube and Twitch channels.
4. AdBlocker Ultimate
AdBlocker Ultimate ensures an ad-free experience by using the “Ultimate Ad Filter” to prevent and block all display ads, including pop-ups and video ads. It keeps users’ data away from activity analyzers and online trackers and helps users avoid malicious sites and online threats such as phishing.
The extension does not have a default list of acceptable ads – it allows users to curate lists of acceptable websites to visit as opposed to selecting a list of allowed ads on their behalf.
Ghostery offers privacy and web protection by preventing sites from tracking users’ data. The ad blocker not only protects your online presence but provides insight into the apps tracking you and how the trackers work.
Ghostery’s free version includes a straightforward customization process where users select an ad-blocking strategy from four options. The fourth option, “Choose from List,” allows users to handpick the sites they want to restrict. Ghostery also provides a tutorial session so new users can navigate the software with ease.
How to Enable an Ad Blocker as an Extension in Microsoft Edge
Using uBlock Origin as an example, let’s take a look at how to enable an ad blocker extension in the Edge browser.
- Visit the Edge Add-ons webpage of your desired ad blocker: uBlock Origin, in this case.
- Click on the “Get” button at the top right.
- A confirmation screen should pop up asking whether you want to add the extension. Select “Add extension.”
The ad blocker should then be added to your browser and ready to use.
If you wish to customize your ad blocker add-on, click the “Extensions” icon in the toolbar, then click the three dots beside the add-on you want to customize. You should see a range of commands to configure your add-on.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any cons to installing ad blockers?
Ad blockers don’t cause any damage to regular users, but they might be bad news for content creators and website owners, as most ad blockers resist advertisements and block analytic scripts. As a result, when you visit a creator’s content page or website, your ad blocker will conceal your digital identity, so much so that you will be invisible in the web owner’s analytics. This poses a problem for digital creators, as it prevents them from accessing crucial marketing information, such as traffic sources and page views.
Are all ad blockers available as browser extensions?
No. Some ad blockers give you the option to download the app and run it on your computer. Nevertheless, there are some ad-blocking apps that can only be accessed as browser extensions. If your preferred ad blocker falls into this category, it must be included as an add-on.
Do free ad blockers steal your personal information?
No. Ad blockers, free and paid, do not steal your personal information. However, they may ask for access to limited personal data, such as your browsing history or data submitted in web forms – but only to provide you with more personalized services. Asides from that, they do not access or record any information without the consent of their users.
Image credit: Waldemar Brandt via Unsplash Screenshots by Tayo Sogbesan
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