10 Best Free Ad Blockers (2024): Stop Pop-Ups & Browse Safely
- Best Free Ad Blockers — Full Analysis (Updated in 2024)
- ExpressVPN — Highly Effective Ad, Tracker, and Malware Blocker With Robust Privacy Protection
- Block Content by CyberGhost — User-Friendly VPN With Efficient Ad, Tracker, and Malware Blocking
- Adblocker Ultimate — Secures Your Traffic From Phishing Attacks and Malware
- PIA — MACE Ad Blocker and Encryption to Stop Sites From Tracking Your Data
- AdBlock — Reliably Blocks YouTube Video Ads
- AdGuard — Deletes Website Cookies That Store Information About Your Traffic
- Quick Guide: How to Block Pop-Ups in 3 Easy Steps
- Free Ad Blockers to Avoid & Why
- Tips on Choosing the Best Free Ad Blockers
- FAQs on the Best Free Ad Blockers
- Get the Best Free Ad Blockers Today
Using ad blockers is a great way to avoid nasty spyware and malware hidden in ads. They also help you block intrusive pop-ups, and secure your online privacy. However, finding the best free adware blockers for your device can be challenging.
My team and I took up the task and tested 50+ free ad blockers to find the best ones. The shortlisted apps are compatible with many devices, including Android, iPhone, and iPad. Overall, an ad-blocking VPN offered me the best private browsing experience and protection against websites infected with malware or spyware.
My top pick for preventing ads is ExpressVPN, thanks to its ad blocker and Threat Manager. These features let you browse ad-free on popular operating systems (including Windows, Mac, and Android) and also safeguard you against trackers. Plus, the VPN keeps your activities private with military-grade encryption and a no-logs policy. You can try ExpressVPN without risks (all plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee).
Short on Time? Here Are the Best Free Ad Blockers in 2024
- ExpressVPN — The best overall service for blocking ads, trackers, and malicious sites. It also secures your connection with military-grade encryption. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free (it comes with a 30-day refund policy).
- CyberGhost (Block Content) — Offers an effective ad and tracker blocker available through a user-friendly VPN app. It’s backed by a 45-day money-back guarantee.
- Adblocker Ultimate — Excellent protection against malware/spyware-infected ads and phishing attacks.
- Private Internet Access (MACE) — Prevents IP tracking and blocks DNS-level ads, but it’s not completely free.
- AdBlock — Stops many kinds of ads, including video ads on YouTube, but it’s unavailable for Windows and macOS.
Best Free Ad Blockers — Full Analysis (Updated in 2024)
My recommended ad blockers are free and compatible with many devices like Android, iPhone, and Mac. They’re either stand-alone apps, ad-blocking VPNs, or browser extensions (for Chrome, Safari, or Firefox). Besides, these services are easy to install and use.
These apps safeguard your online presence and keep your information safe. They also include all-round protection from ads infected with malware or spyware. Most of them are open-source, offering better security and a safer user experience.
1. ExpressVPN — Highly Effective Ad, Tracker, and Malware Blocker With Robust Privacy Protection
Tested February 2024 Try Risk-Free for 30 Days
- Threat Manager and ad blocker prevent ads, trackers, and malicious sites
- Military-grade security features and a no-logs policy help maintain your online privacy
- UHD-ready speeds for seamless streaming without ads or buffering issues
- Worldwide network across 105 countries to stream local content safely and ad-free
- Compatible with: Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and more
ExpressVPN’s ad blocker efficiently removes ads from both web browsers and apps. In addition, the Threat Manager feature adds a layer of security and privacy protection by stopping data trackers and preventing malicious sites from appearing. While testing ExpressVPN’s ad blocking capabilities, I didn’t have a single ad on Forbes, Twitch, or YouTube. It always removed annoying pop-ups and disruptive video ads, reducing page loading times.
In addition, ExpressVPN encrypts your online traffic. The level of encryption is military-grade, and it ensures your traffic is unreadable to any snoopers, greatly improving your privacy. ExpressVPN also effectively disguises your location — websites and other services couldn’t tell where I was connecting from. Finally, ExpressVPN also doesn’t record, store, or share your online activities with ad networks or other third parties, thanks to its no-logs policy.
My speeds on ExpressVPN’s nearby servers were excellent for UHD streaming, too. I never had buffering or playback issues. Thanks to its global server network across 105 countries, it’s easy to find a local server for secure streaming, regardless of where you are. Nicely, there are no bandwidth caps either, so you don’t have to worry about data limits.
Sadly, ExpressVPN isn’t free — but you can try ExpressVPN risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. In addition, subscribing long-term with ExpressVPN brings the price down to just $6.67/month. Besides, if it doesn’t meet your standards, you can get a refund via the 24/7 live chat. I got my money back in my bank account 2 days after requesting a refund.
2. Block Content by CyberGhost — User-Friendly VPN With Efficient Ad, Tracker, and Malware Blocking
- A built-in ad blocker that helps you stay safe from harmful ads
- Strong encryption and a kill switch for protecting your online data
- 24/7 live chat support to quickly resolve any queries
- 7 simultaneous connections to block ads on many devices
- Compatible with: Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and more
CyberGhost’s Block Content feature offers effective protection against intrusive ads, malware, and trackers. To make things even better, it’s really simple to set up and use — even if you’ve never tried a VPN before. Installing it on my devices took less than 5 minutes, and it only took a couple of clicks to enable the ad blocker.
It also comes with a variety of impressive security and privacy features. Like ExpressVPN, it secures your connection with military-grade encryption. It also features Automatic WiFi protection, which automatically connects the VPN if you’re on an insecure public network. Your location data is also effectively hidden at all times.
The fast servers are also great for streaming and browsing without ads. Its extensive network spread across 100 countries makes it easy to find the ideal server. You get unlimited bandwidth too, allowing you to stream as much as you want without hitting data caps. I watched plenty of videos and live streams on platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and ESPN+ without any ads interrupting my experience.
One drawback is that this VPN and ad blocker isn’t free. However, CyberGhost’s long-term plans are only $2.03/month. I subscribed to the 2-year plan, which came with a 45-day money-back guarantee, allowing me to try CyberGhost for free.
3. Adblocker Ultimate — Secures Your Traffic From Phishing Attacks and Malware
- Protects your device from phishing attacks and ads infected with malware or spyware
- Removes most forms of ads, including expanding ads
- Improved page loading time by preventing trackers and pop-ups
- Compatible with: Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera
Adblocker Ultimate is a program that protects you from ads prone to phishing, malware, and spyware. The Ghost Mode blocks trackers to keep your data private. During my tests, the app stopped ad banners and pop-ups on sites like The New York Times, Forbes, and CNN.
It dispels video ads on YouTube, too. You don’t have to worry about some random ad taking up your screen time. In addition, Adblocker Ultimate improved my webpage load times.
You can get the ad blocker for your device from a respective app store. It works on all major operating systems and using the extension to block display ads and sponsored content on Windows, Android, and iOS is very straightforward. The extension is available for Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera too. Besides, there’s a unique Android browser that automatically filters out ads. However, Mac users can be disappointed that there's no Safari extension.
Best of all, it’s possible to use Adblocker Ultimate for free on browser extensions, Android, and iOS apps. Even though the program for Windows requires a fee, it offers a 14-day free trial. Plus, it prevents ads from appearing even in apps. The service has hundreds of thousands of user downloads on Google Play. It’s also highly rated — 4.8 out of 5 by Google Chrome users.
- A built-in MACE blocker that allows you to browse the internet without malicious ads
- Blocks pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads on sites like YouTube
- 29,650 servers in 91 countries to easily unblock content worldwide
- AES 256-bit encryption and a no-logs policy to safeguard your network
- Compatible with: Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and more
PIA offers a built-in malware blocker (MACE) which safeguards you from websites plagued with malicious ads, trackers, and pop-ups. It constantly updates its list of websites suspected of containing malware. Just like CyberGhost, PIA has a kill switch that brings added security. The no-logs policy and IP/DNS leak protection mean my sensitive data can’t be stored or accidentally exposed.
It blocks pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads, making streaming interruption-free. Also, the expansive network of 29,650 servers across 91 countries gives you more fast server options than you’ll ever need. While testing some of PIA’s US, UK, and Japan servers, my connections were fast. I watched UHD streams on YouTube ad-free and buffer-free with my Samsung tablet.
User-friendly design is seen across all of PIA’s apps. A single subscription lets you use Unlimited devices simultaneously. I downloaded the VPN and enabled the MACE feature on my smartphone and laptop in just a few minutes. Plus, 24/7 live chat support can help you out if you ever get stuck.
Like CyberGhost, I was disappointed that the service isn’t entirely free. Still, you can get PIA for as little as $2.03/month. More importantly, PIA lets you try it free of risk, thanks to a 30 money-back guarantee. Getting a refund is easy — I just had to email support. I received a response in less than 24 hours, and the money was credited to my PayPal wallet 3 days later.
5. AdBlock — Reliably Blocks YouTube Video Ads
- Removes annoying wallpaper, banner, pop-up, and video ads
- Blocks trackers to improve your online privacy
- Open-source app for improved security
- Compatible with: Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Safari
AdBlock safeguards your online experience by stopping ads infected with malware and spyware. The app improves page loading time by removing banners, wallpaper, and pop-up ads from hundreds of websites. I tested the service on news platforms such as BBC, Daily Mail, and Orlando Sentinel, and AdBlock removed all ads. You can save time and watch videos on YouTube, Twitch, and Crunchyroll without any video advertising too.
I didn’t notice any ads on my favorite platforms. Some sites detect ad blockers; that's why AdBlock lets you whitelist specific websites to avoid switching it off and on again. The app also allows you to customize the interface with usage data and information about the number of ads blocked. Plus, you can support your favorite content creator and watch monetized ads on their videos.
There are additional security features to protect you from malicious software. I used the app to block trackers and stop third parties from monitoring my online activity. This lets you keep your information safe from advertising companies. The app is open-source, meaning anyone can check its security by auditing the code. AdBlock has an “acceptable ads” program that allows some non-intrusive ads to be displayed.
This service is compatible with several devices and browsers, including iPhone, iPad, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari. It’s one of the most downloaded Chrome and Safari extensions. Dedicated apps for iOS and Android keeps ads away from your mobile devices. You can use AdBlock for free, as it has no hidden charges and is available in more than 30 languages. Payment is optional — if you really like the ad blocker, there’s a possibility to donate.
6. AdGuard — Deletes Website Cookies That Store Information About Your Traffic
- Self-destructs cookies after a set period of time
- Blocks ads, trackers, and malicious websites
- User-friendly interface for beginners
- Compatible with: Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Safari, and Yandex
AdGuard is an excellent way to keep your browsing data safe as the service deletes all cookies after a set amount of time. This means your information isn’t saved on any websites or browsers. The app also blocks ads and keeps you safe from malware and phishing attacks. It’s an attempt to steal your money or identity by getting you to reveal your personal information). So, it’s great to see that AdGuard has protection against it.
I tested the app on multiple websites, and it worked flawlessly. So I read my favorite blogs and watched YouTube videos interruption-free as the ad blocker service removed all banner ads and pop-ups. It also blocks advertising on apps and games. The app has a privacy module that uses a proxy to hide your IP address — similar to a VPN but without other proper security measures, like encryption and a kill switch.
You can use AdGuard for free on 3 devices for up to 3 months. It has a parental control module that allows you to configure and censor what your children are watching. This program has dedicated iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows apps and runs on multiple browsers, including Yandex. The company also sells VPNs and DNS services.
7. uBlock Origin — Predefined Filters That Block Unwanted Ads
- Blocks trackers based on predefined filters
- Stops all forms of banner, pop-up, and video ads
- Compatible with: Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Chromium, and all Safari releases prior to 13
uBlock Origin is a wide-spectrum ad blocker that removes trackers and ads based on predefined filters. The app was released in 2014. It contains lists of multiple public filters, including EasyList and EasyPrivacy. These filters specify all malicious websites, so uBlock protects you from them. You can create a custom list of websites you want to block.
Webpages loaded up around 2-3 seconds faster during my tests with uBlock enabled. This is thanks to the lightweight nature of this program. Besides, as it’s a browser extension, it doesn’t require any software to be downloaded, which saves users time and storage. Just like AdBlock, uBlock is open-source. This means anyone can independently look up the source code and verify the extension for added security.
The service can be quickly set up on your browser. It also blocked ads on YouTube when I used my MacBook Pro. You can download uBlock from GitHub or your browser's web store. The default settings are easy to use, but it can be tricky using the more complex ones, especially since there’s no customer support available.
8. AdBlock Plus — Easy-To-Use Ad Blocker That Works With Multiple Browsers
- Intuitive interface for an easy ad-blocking experience
- Follows the Acceptable Ads policy to allow ads from fair publishers
- Compatible with: Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Safari, Yandex, and Internet Explorer
AdBlock Plus (ABP) is easy to use, letting you block ads in just one click. The extension protects you against all intrusive and malware ads across multiple websites. You can quickly block ads, malware, and social media buttons by loading preset filter lists. It’s a different program than AdBlock, even though the names are similar.
The Acceptable Ads initiative allows clearly labeled, respectful, no third-party tracking ads placement. But it’s possible to turn off these ads too. You get an overview of all the ads the extension has blocked. The service also shows you the blocked ads data on the website you’ve visited.
ABP can be used on iOS, Android, and several browsers. On Android, there’s a Firefox-based browser for blocking ads, while on iOS, the ad blocker stops advertising on Safari with minimal setup. It’s a free and open-source ad blocker with millions of downloads. Many other free ad blockers use it as the primary source code.
9. AdLock — Protects Your Mobile and Desktop Devices Against Ads
- Safeguards your device by blocking harmful websites, ads, and trackers
- Improves page load-up times and offers a faster online gaming experience
- Compatible with: Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, Chrome, and Safari
AdLock works on all major operating systems and browsers to protect your devices from annoying ads. The app blocks many kinds of ads, from banners to YouTube video ads and in-program advertising (like on Skype). I tested AdLock on the Lifehacker website, and it blocked all ads offering a clean reading page.
You get an easy-to-navigate interface and an option to whitelist the sites you want. The app also improves the page load-up time for online games. Besides, there are certain add-on features like a warning against spam and scam links.
The app is available to download on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS with a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, you can use it for free on browser extensions. The mobile version is unavailable on the Google Play Store but can be sideloaded. It’s possible to get it from Apple's App Store, though.
10. Poper Blocker — Allows You to Personalize Your Ad Blocking Preferences
- Effectively blocks all kinds of pop-up ads and overlays
- Has an option to opt out of any data collection for improved privacy
- Compatible with: Chrome and Firefox
Poper Blocker removes pop-ups and overlay ads on most websites. It also allows you to right-click any overlay (for example, on Tubi) and block it. So there’s an option to customize the ads you want to stop and whitelist other platforms. Small notifications tell you when pop-ups are blocked, and it’s possible to view the stats. You can report when an ad fails to get blocked too.
The app lets you opt out of data collection services for added privacy. Poper Blocker can even block pop-unders and timed and scroll ads that many platforms use. Scroll ads are shown to you after you start scrolling down a website, and timed ads overlay on your screen after a certain period of time. Plus, this program doesn’t impact your device performance too much, as it’s very lightweight.
You can use Poper Blocker for free on Chrome and Firefox by downloading it from the respective web stores. There’s no sign-up required, so you don’t have to give over your personal information.
Quick Guide: How to Block Pop-Ups in 3 Easy Steps
- Download ad-blocking software. I recommend ExpressVPN, as not only does it efficiently block ads, but it also offers enhanced security and privacy online. You can even try ExpressVPN risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Activate the ad blocker. If you’re using a VPN, some don’t have ad blockers on by default. Check if the feature is up and running before connecting to a server.
- Start browsing interruption-free. Enjoy streaming videos and reading news without annoying ads.
Free Ad Blockers to Avoid & Why
Free ad blockers have been known to secretly collect user data, unblock specific ads for profit, or contain malware. So, make sure to use a tried-and-tested free ad blocker. To maximize your security, use a premium VPN — ExpressVPN comes with an ad blocker and can be tried risk-free.
Here are some ad blockers that we have found to be less effective, track users' traffic, or contain malicious files that you should avoid:
- Privacy Badger — Doesn’t block all the ads and puts users’ privacy at risk without proper security measures.
- Ghostery — Focuses more on blocking trackers than stopping ads.
- uBlock — Allows third parties to profit from your traffic by modifying your cookies (not to be confused with uBlock Origin).
- Adblock Focus — Collects user data without permission.
- Adblock Pro — Unblocks ads of the companies that pay for it.
- AdRemover — Might make some changes to your browser with a hidden code.
- Ads Blocker — Contains malware.
Tips on Choosing the Best Free Ad Blockers
All my listed ad blockers have excellent protection against ads and trackers. However, if you want to do your own tests, here are the criteria I used to rank these services:
- Totally free or with a free trial — Pick an ad blocker you don’t have to pay for, or that you can test for free.
- Reliably blocks ads — Get a program that stops most ads. A good ad blocker removes wallpaper, banners, video, and pop-up ads that are annoying and sometimes conceal malware or spyware. It’s preferable that it also blocks floating, static images, text, and YouTube ads.
- Open-source extension — An open-source ad blocker means anyone can verify the source code for potential security risks. This helps make the ad blocker secure and reliable. It also shouldn’t require you to set up an account.
- Easy-to-use interface — Look for user-friendly ad blockers that provide a seamless experience on your device. Plus, the extension should support multiple browsers and operating systems, have a good user rating, and be recently updated.
FAQs on the Best Free Ad Blockers
Is using free ad blockers legal?
Yes, it's legal to use free ad blockers. Ad blockers keep you safe from malware and spyware infected ads that can put your online privacy at risk. So, it’s recommended to use an ad blocker service for your online safety and stay protected against rising cyber threats.
As always, you should check the rules on ad blockers for your location, as they may be subject to change.
Why do I need to install ad and pop-up blockers on my devices?
Ad and pop-up blockers help keep annoying and malware-infected advertisements and websites at bay. Most ads come from third-party advertising networks that track your movements across the internet to show relevant ads. A good ad blocker stops all forms of ads, trackers, and malicious websites, improving your online privacy.
While many ad blockers stop pop-ups, most pop-up blockers can’t remove other kinds of ads. Ad blockers target all types of online advertising (including annoying pop-unders) and offer other benefits, such as faster page loading time. But even the best programs can’t catch all the pop-ups as they’re getting more intelligent.
Do ad blockers still work?
Yes, ad blockers still work and remove ads from many websites. They allow you to block trackers and ads that contain malware and spyware. However, premium VPNs offer more advanced ad blockers, along with encryption to better safeguard your online activities. So, make sure you choose an extension that works on your browser and provides a seamless experience of the website you’re visiting.
However, there’s a risk that ad blockers might no longer work on Chrome browser because of the Manifest V3 API that Google plans to implement in 2023. This new extension platform is supposed to break most currently working ad blockers.
Does ExpressVPN block ads?
ExpressVPN offers ad-blocking functionality, which I found to be highly effective in my tests. It also blocks trackers and malicious links, and secures your connection with military-grade encryption. No snoopers, advertisers or otherwise, will be getting their hands on your online activity.
Does Google Chrome Ad Blocker work?
No, Google Chrome’s ad blocker seems to have a huge flaw that doesn’t work well in blocking ads. It’s very limited, and ads sourced through Google’s own advertising platform appear to bypass the ad blocker. So, it’s better to use reliable ad blockers like PIA MACE to keep ads away from your device and protect your online privacy.
What is the best free ad blocker for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge?
All the ad blockers on the list are great options, but the best ad blocker for all browsers is ExpressVPN. It comes with protection against phishing attacks, ads, and trackers. Plus, the service has apps available for Android and iOS devices. You can easily download the ExpressVPN app and use it to block ads.
What is the best free ad blocker for Android and iPhone?
Not all ad blockers work with Android and iPhones, but PIA is a great ad blocker for Android. The app is compatible with many browsers and blocks all ad forms. You can get it to run on your iPhone and iPad too, for a safe browsing experience. Plus, PIA has an easy-to-use interface to block ads on your mobile devices easily.
What is the best ad blocker for YouTube, Twitch, and Crunchyroll?
ExpressVPN offers the best protection against video ads on YouTube, Twitch, and Crunchyroll. The service has dedicated apps for Windows desktops, Macbooks, and iPhones. Plus, ExpressVPN can easily block pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads that affect your watching experience.
What is the best ad blocker for Windows?
Many free ad blockers work well on Windows, like AdGuard and AdLock. These ad blockers have dedicated apps for Windows and block a wide range of ads. Simply download the ad-blocking services and remove annoying ads from the websites.
Do ad blockers stop viruses?
Some can. For example, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and PIA can all block viruses. They do this by preventing infected page elements from loading by blocking them entirely. This method also stops nasty scripts and blocks pop-ups with malicious phishing links. ExpressVPN’s Threat Manager is a specialized solution created to prevent these very methods of attack, in addition to trackers and ads.
What types of ad blockers exist?
There are multiple types of ad blockers, but the ad blocker browser extension and stand-alone ad blocker apps are the most common. However, other ad blockers fall into different categories. The listed ad blockers work as browser extensions, built-in blockers, or standalone apps that protect you from ads and trackers. Here are the types of ad blockers:
- Ad-blocking VPNs — As the name suggests, it’s a VPN (Virtual Private Network) with a built-in ad blocker.
- Browsers with built-in ad-blocking abilities — This is a browser app that comes with an ad blocker to offer a better and faster browsing experience.
- Ad blocker browser extensions — The most standard ad blocker form that works as an extension for different browsers.
- Stand-alone ad blocker apps — Another common form of ad blocker that comes with dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices.
- Ad blocking on your router — It’s possible to set up an ad blocker on your router but it might be difficult and time-consuming.
Do ad and pop-up blockers affect website revenue?
Many websites lose money if you block the ads. They rely on ad revenue which is their significant source of income. Ad blockers are useful tools for several reasons, including:
- Stopping intrusive and annoying ads like autoplay videos, pop-unders, or separate page ads (for example, on Forbes, Crunchyroll, and Hulu)
- Increasing your online safety by preventing tracking and malware
- Improving the time of page loading
- Reducing data usage for limited internet plans
However, using pop-up blockers costs websites billions of dollars in recent years. That’s why many services come with whitelisting options. It means you can list your favorite sites you don’t want to be affected by your ad blocker and help them monetize ads.
Get the Best Free Ad Blockers Today
Discovering the most effective free ad blockers for your device can pose a challenge. To simplify the process, I've compiled a list of adware blockers that effectively stop the majority of ads and are compatible with multiple devices and browsers.
My top choice is ExpressVPN's integrated ad blocker and Threat Manager. It features a user-friendly interface that's compatible with all major operating systems. It reliably prevents ads, blocks trackers and malware, and safeguards your online activities. Best of all, you can try ExpressVPN risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. You can get a refund if the service doesn’t satisfy your needs.
Top ad blocker VPNs you can try for free with money-back guarantees are…
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VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.