Getting started with Adblock Plus

What is Adblock Plus?

Adblock Plus is the most popular browser extension available for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Android. Its primary purpose is to remove all intrusive advertisements from your browsing experience: YouTube video ads, Facebook ads, banners, pop-ups, pop-unders, background ads etc.

How does Adblock Plus work?

In order to block ads, Adblock Plus requires the so-called filters to “tell” it which requests to block. Out of the box, Adblock Plus comes without any filters, but, it will offer you to add a filter subscription on first start. With these filters enabled, it can block specific requests from websites, usually the requests to serve an ad. Blocked ads often leave blank spaces or “Advertising Tags” on webpages. Adblock Plus is still able to remove these with a functionality called “element-hiding”: based on certain specific characteristics, Adblock Plus is able to hide certain elements from the webpage.

Installing Adblock Plus

For Firefox

If you use the Mozilla Firefox browser, click the install button on the Firefox installation page. Firefox will prompt you to allow Adblock Plus to install the add-on: Click on “Allow”.

Firefox will start the installation of our ad block, and will ask you to confirm that you trust the author. Click on “Install Now” to add Adblock Plus to your Firefox browser.

You are now protected against all intrusive ads!

For Chrome

Google Chrome allows two ways to install our ad block software. The easiest way is through our website, the second way is through the Chrome Webstore.

Installation through our website in two steps

Simply go to the Chrome installation page and click on the install button to add the ad blocker to your Chrome browser. Click on “Add” when the following dialog pops-up in your browser:

Adblock Plus will be installed into your browser. You know it has been successful if the following message shows up:

Installation through the Google Chrome Webstore in three steps

If you wish to install Adblock Plus through the Chrome Webstore please click here to open ABP. The following screen will open our adblock for Chrome:

In this screen, please click on the blue “Add to Chrome” button in the top-right corner. After clicking this button, the following pop-up will ask you to “Add” Adblock Plus to your browser:

After confirming, you will be protected against all obtrusive online advertising by world’s most popular ad blocker!

For Opera

To install Adblock Plus on Opera, go to the Opera Add-ons page and click on “Add to Opera”. The following pop-up will show up:

Please confirm by clicking on “Install”, and Adblock Plus will block ads in your Opera browser.

On Android

Adblock Plus is also available for Android devices. It is important to note, that there are a few limitations for non-rooted devices. To install Adblock Plus, you will need to allow app installation from unknown sources:

  • Open “Settings” and go to “Unknown sources” option (under “Applications” or “Security” depending on your device)
  • Tap the checkbox and confirm the upcoming message with “OK”

In order to download Adblock Plus for Android, access the Android installation page, download the app and open it.

Once Adblock Plus has been installed, enabled and configured, all ads should be blocked.

First steps

Choosing the right filterlist

As previously described, Adblock Plus requires filterlists to block ads. By itself, Adblock Plus can only see the webpage you are loading, but has to be “told” by the filterlist which elements to block. When you install Adblock Plus for the first time, it will automatically suggest a filterlist to you based on the language settings of your browser.

There are a two basic lists out there, EasyList and Fanboy’s List. These two lists block the ads from the most popular (often English) websites. However, these lists do not block ads on less popular national websites. In the case that you, for example, come from Germany, you will have to subscribe to the national German filter list. In this case, this will be “EasyList Germany + EasyList”. An overview of all the lists can be found here.

It is important to note that you should not add too many filterlists to Adblock Plus. This will slow down the adblocker, therefore, your browsing. As a rule of thumb, it is highly recommended to not use overlapping filterlists (e.g. choose either EasyList OR Fanboy’s List).

You can also use filterlists to protect yourself against tracking, malware, social media tracking etc. Read more about this here.

How to add a filterlist

If you want to remove a filterlist again check out this tutorial.

In Firefox

In Firefox select “Firefox” >> “Add-ons” (for Mac OS X / Linux, select “Tools” from the menubar >> “Add-Ons”), this will open your Firefox Add-ons Manager.

On Windows:

On Mac OS X / Linux

In the Add-ons Manager under the “Extensions” tab, you will find Adblock Plus:

Please select “Preferences” to access the Adblock Plus profile, and click on “Filter Preferences”:

This will open the Adblock Plus Filter Preferences menu:

Please click on “Add filter subscription”, and open the drop-down menu for the filterlist subscriptions to add new/more filters. Select the list you want to subscribe to, Adblock Plus automatically enable these lists by default. This menu only shows the most popular and recommended filters. Please go here for more filter lists.

In Google Chrome

To add a filter subscription to Google Chrome, please select “Settings” from the menu in the top right corner. This menu can be found under the small icon with three horizontal bars:

In the drop-down menu, select “Settings”. Next, go to the tab “Extensions” on the left side of the screen. This will open the extension window of Google Chrome, where you will find Adblock Plus.

Under the description, you can find the “Options” hyperlink. Please click on this link to open our adblock for Chrome’s menu:

In the Adblock Plus Options menu, you can see an overview of the installed and enabled filter lists. To add a new subscription for our adblocker, select “Add filter subscription”.

This will open a drop-down menu with the recommended and most popular filterlists. Please select the filterlist you want to enable, and click “Add”. If your desired filter is not showing amongst these pre-selected filters, please go here.

In Opera

To add a new filterlist in Opera, please go to “Menu” button (for Mac OS X / Linux, “Tools”), select “Extensions” >> “Manage Extensions” . This will open your currently installed extensions, including Adblock Plus:

To access the filter preferences menu, please click on the small tool-icon on the right side. This will open your “Adblock Plus Options” menu, where you can add your subscriptions.

Click on “Add filter subscription” to access the drop-down menu with the recommended and most popular filterlists.

Here you can select your desired filter, and click “Add”.

On Android

For Android, it is not possible to select multiple filterlists. In order to change your filterlist subscription, please open the Adblock Plus application, and select “Filter Subscription”. This will open the menu where you can change your subscription.

Disabling Adblock Plus on frequently used sites

Many web sites depend on advertising income, and if you visit a web site frequently you might want to allow their advertising — provided that this advertising isn’t too annoying. To do that, navigate to that site and click the arrow symbol next to the Adblock Plus icon in toolbar. From the menu you can choose “Disable on …” (you can undo that choice in the same way by unchecking this menu line).

Uninstalling Adblock Plus

In Firefox

To uninstall Adblock Plus in Mozilla Firefox, please access your “Add-ons Manager” by going to “Firefox” >> “Add-ons” (for Mac OS X / Linux, select “Tools” from the menubar >> “Add-Ons”). Here you will find an overview of your currently installed add-ons. Find Adblock Plus here, and simply click on “Remove”. For more detailed information on how to remove add-ons, please visit Firefox’ page.

It is important to note that Adblock Plus saves your preferences settings, so if you would reinstall ABP in a later stage, you do not have to reconfigure your settings. If you want a clean start with Adblock Plus you should remove the directory “adblockplus” in your user profile (how to find your profile). Also, you should go to about:config and reset all preferences starting with “extensions.adblockplus” (to reset right-click a preference and choose Reset from the context menu).

In Google Chrome

To uninstall our Chrome adblock version, please go to “Settings” in the menu in the top right corner. Then, select “Extensions” on the left side. Please find Adblock Plus here, and select the small trashcan icon on the right side. Adblock Plus for Chrome will be completely removed from your browser.

In Opera

To uninstall Adblock Plus for Opera, please go to the “Menu” button (for Mac OS X / Linux, “Tools” in the menubar), select “Extensions” >> “Manage Extensions”. This will open your Extensions menu. Find Adblock Plus here, select “Uninstall”, and confirm this.

On Android

Uninstalling Adblock Plus for Android is similar to any other app you have downloaded:

  1. Navigate to Menu > Settings > Applications > Manage applications (on devices running Android 4.x, Settings > Apps).
  2. Scroll through the list of apps to find the one you’d like to uninstall.
  3. Tap on the app you’d like to uninstall.
  4. Tap “Uninstall”.

Solving problems

What if Adblock Plus blocks too much?

It might happen that Adblock Plus prevents some site from functioning correctly. Usually, this is not a bug in Adblock Plus but a problem with the filters (or filter subscription) you are using, these filters tell Adblock Plus to block something that shouldn’t be blocked. You verify this by temporarily disabling Adblock Plus, if this “fixes” the problem you are dealing with a bad filter. Please report bad filters by using “Report issue on this webpage” feature that will automatically collect important data of the current web page:

When asked about issue type, please choose “Adblock Plus is blocking too much”:

Your report will be automatically sent to the maintainers of the filter list that you use. Please have understanding that filter maintainers don’t reply to or act upon each of the many reports they receive. Your report will be more likely to be considered if you provide additional information to make the problem more obvious and reproducible.

What if Adblock Plus doesn’t block an advertisement?

If you found an advertisement that Adblock Plus doesn’t block, please check first whether you are using the right filter subscription. For example, expecting a French filter subscription to block advertisements on a Bulgarian website is unrealistic — you should add a Bulgarian filter subscription for that job. If the filter subscription is right, then the subscription maintainer is probably simply unaware of the problem and you should tell him by using “Report issue on this webpage” feature that will automatically collect important data of the current web page:

When asked about issue type, please choose “Adblock Plus doesn’t block an advertisement”:

Your report will be automatically sent to the maintainers of the filter list that you use. Please have understanding that filter maintainers don’t reply to or act upon each of the many reports they receive. Your report will be more likely to be considered if you provide additional information to make the problem more obvious and reproducible.

The best ad blockers for Chrome

If you’ve decided once and for all that you can’t stand another video pre-roll commercial, then it’s time to install an ad blocker. But which one? Don’t worry, we picked out the best ad blockers for Chrome. Our top pick, AdBlock does exactly what its name suggests, but it also allows you to customize which sites are allowed to show ads and which types of ads are shown.

But if AdBlock doesn’t quite meet all of your ad blocking needs, be sure to check out the other picks for Chrome ad blockers on this list.

It is worth noting, however, that when you install an ad blocker, that many of the world’s free websites, Digital Trends included, rely on advertising revenue to operate. If you want your favorite sites to continue working as you see them now, make sure to whitelist them.

AdBlock

As one of the most widely used ad blockers in the world, we would be remiss if we didn’t at least give a passing mention to AdBlock. With its very on-the-nose name and long-running availability, it’s often what people turn to when they consider blocking adverts online today.

The AdBlock extension for Chrome works automatically, blocking ads on static web pages and online video sites like YouTube. It also lets you set up whitelists of sites and ad types to allow through the filter if you so choose. Through its filter list subscription system, you can customize your web browsing experience so that only ads you like are shown, or untick it all and block just about everything.

You can even have the app remove other web-page aspects you find distasteful, like social networking links, and protect yourself against some potential malware attacks.

AdBlock does participate in the “Acceptable Ads” initiative, so there are ads it allows through (if you choose) that meet certain requirements. AdBlock is also known to a be little resource heavy, especially if you like to have a lot of tabs open at one time, and there have been some claims of it not blocking YouTube ads particularly well.

Finally, AdBlock receives very regular updates that help the software keep up with all the latest internet ad delivery methods, which is always important for good ad-blocking programs.

AdBlock Plus

AdBlock Plus is the original granddaddy app for blocking ads online and it’s still just as popular today as it was when it first took the web by storm. Combining blocking technology that takes out banner ads, video pre-roll ads, social networking ads, and popups, it offers a comprehensive ad-blocking service to all who install its Chrome extension.

With an easy-to-navigate interface and customizable filter list, you can decide exactly which ads you want to see and which ones you never want to see again. Its whitelisting function lets you make sure your favorite sites still display ads so they can continue to operate and if you allow acceptable ads you can let a few through automatically to help sites that stick to the rules.

Note that around five years ago, AdBlock Plus was accused of secretly offering to push ads through in exchange for under-the-table payments, which AdBlock Plus didn’t exactly deny. The organization appears to make unique deals with larger organizations that may let some extra ads through.

uBlock Origin

Entirely free and open source, uBlock Origin is another popular ad blocking extension for Google Chrome because it does a great job of blocking ads without taxing your system in the process.

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Utilizing similar block lists to AdBlock Plus, uBlock offers comparable blocking capabilities, but by leveraging surveys of what style resources are required for individual web pages, it is able to be more efficient in its operation. It has also been noted for its specific ability to counter pesky pop-under ads which have become more common as more browsers come with their own pop-up blockers.

Users can also leverage uBlock’s own filters for ads, malware, and privacy concerns, as well as their own custom-created filters. Individual sites can be whitelisted by hitting the big power button inside the tool itself, and there are detailed stat breakdowns to let you know how effective a tool it has been since installation.

AdGuard

Another popular ad blocker for Chrome is AdGuard. Capable of effectively blocking almost all ads across static web pages, video streaming sites, and social networks, AdGuard keeps an eye out for pop-up and pop-under ads, too.

The lightweight Chrome extension has additional options for blocking tracking and the installation of nefarious software like dialers, adware, and other malware. One of its biggest claims to fame is its ability to speed up your web browsing experience and reduce your bandwidth by cutting back on all the needless clutter that comes along with some ads and trackers.

Some users have reported annoying notifications that try to encourage you to purchase the premium version, but other than that, AdGuard has near universally positive reviews from its millions of users.

Ghostery

Although it operates a little differently from some of the other ad blockers on this list, Ghostery is still a very useful tool for customizing your web browsing experience to how you like it. Its primary function is blocking web trackers and analytics tools that harvest information about you, but it also has its own effective ad blocker.

What really draws people to Ghostery over some of the other available alternatives is its deeper options for users. If you want to block specific trackers or ad types, you can. To make that easy, even for those new to the idea, Ghostery breaks down every page you visit with detailed information of the types of trackers and ads being employed by that particular site. You can then remove elements at will, or make wider, sweeping blocks.

The only real drawback of Ghostery is that you do need to spend some time to tell it how you want it to operate. While other ad blockers function well enough all-in, if you try to do that with Ghostery you may find many aspects of the web non-functional. Take a little time to get it right though and Ghostery may become your favorite tool for customizing your web browsing experience.