Adblock Plus Review 2023: This Free Extension Secures Your Data

Browsing the internet can be a clutter-filled and even dangerous experience, but Adblock Plus is trying to change all that with its free service.
4.0
Learn More
On Adblock Plus's website

Adblock Plus
  • Free product works great
  • Blocks YouTube ads
  • Need paid subscription to block pop-up videos, survey requests, and site notifications
We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

It feels like annoying ads are an embedded, inescapable part of the internet. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching a video on YouTube or browsing a blog for a new recipe, advertisements are everywhere.

There is something you can do about all that visual clutter. Apps like Adblock Plus, which is a free, open-source ad blocker extension, are out there fighting the good fight. Adblock Plus scans sites you visit and blocks content that looks like an ad.

There may be some hesitation to use an app like Adblock Plus, and you may have even heard it’s a virus. The service is not only safe — as long as it’s downloaded from the site — but also useful.

Let’s take a closer look at Adblock Plus (also called ABP) and all it has to offer. It just may make your browsing experience a pleasant one.

In this article
Adblock Plus overview
Adblock Plus features
Adblock Plus test results
Does Adblock Plus block YouTube ads?
Our Adblock Plus experience
Adblock Plus compatibility
Adblock Plus Premium
Adblock Plus alternatives
Adblock Plus FAQs
Bottom line: Is Adblock Plus good?

Adblock Plus overview

Ads blocked on Forbes 27/74
Adblock-Tester score 86/100
Cover Your Tracks score 1/3
Does it block YouTube ads? Yes
Compatibility Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera, Yandex
Paid version Starts at $1.99/mo
Data as of 10/19/2023.

Adblock Plus pros and cons

Pros
  • Free product works great
  • Allows for cleaner viewing of blog pages
  • Allowlist for ads to support creators
  • Blocks YouTube ads
Cons
  • Need paid subscription to block pop-up videos, ignore survey requests, and block site notifications
  • Fewer features on Safari

Adblock Plus features

Adblock Plus is a browser extension that comes with a clean, user-friendly interface and increased functionality. The free version may be all you need to enhance your web page experience.

It blocks YouTube ads, follow-along video ads, display ads, and banner ads. The paid version can even get rid of those annoying videos that pop up as you’re scrolling. While this is great for convenience, it also helps protect you from ads or pop-ups that may contain malware. Adblock Plus also allows you the freedom to browse anonymously without trackers creating a profile of you.

One of the more helpful features is the allowlisting toggle. You can whitelist a site to always allow ads or toggle off the blocker for a specific page. There’s no need to create a block list, as the plugin does that for you. There are even options to disable tracking features on social media sites so they can’t build a profile of you. This is all extremely useful, especially for a free product.

Adblock Plus comes with an Allowlist that lets you select trusted sites where you don't mind seeing ads.

Not all the features worked perfectly on every browser. Per usual, the Apple option, Safari, had far fewer features available than Chrome or Edge. However, Adblock Plus still held up by blocking ads on Safari.

In a search on safety, we came across a note from the developers of Adblock Plus to only download the extension from a reputable extension store or from the Adblock Plus website. They mention downloads from other sites may contain malware. This warning coupled with the power of the product makes it an excellent choice with great transparency.

Adblock Plus test results

To test Adblock Plus, we used AdBlock Tester and Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF’s) Cover Your Tracks tools.

Adblock Tester looks at specific forms of ads like contextual advertising, banner advertising, analytics tools, and more. Adblock Plus scored an 86/100, having passed all the tests for contextual advertising and banner advertising. It failed some tests for error monitoring and other tests failed to load, but there were explanations saying this could be due to browser settings. Otherwise, 86/100 is a solid test score for blocking ads. 

The Cover Your Tracks test results indicated that Adblock Plus provided no protection from tracking ads and invisible trackers, which can be dissuading if you prefer to be anonymous online. We also went into the settings to turn on the Block additional tracking and Block social media icons tracking features, but the result was the same.

It also determined that our browser has a unique fingerprint. Fingerprints online are much like real fingerprints: a collection of data regarding hardware, location, usage, and other very specific information that helps profile you.

The more unique your fingerprint, the easier it is to build a profile of you. Adblock Plus didn’t help with generalizing our fingerprint.

Adblock Plus scores

AdBlock Tester Cover Your Tracks
Adblock Plus score 86/100 0/3
Test results as of 10/19/2023.

Does Adblock Plus block YouTube ads?

Yes! Adblock Plus blocks YouTube ads both at the beginning and throughout the video. It’s worth noting that it took a few seconds of loading to block the “Skip Ads” feature, but we never had to watch an ad during that loading time.

YouTube videos have increasingly become filled with advertisements in the company’s efforts to push its subscription-based services. It can be frustrating when you’re trying to watch a longer video or follow a recipe and an ad interrupts your flow. Some advertisements on YouTube will even disrupt content to the point of turning the app off.

If you’re a regular user of the site for long-form videos like nature sounds for sleep or calming music for your pet when you’re gone, blocking these ads can enhance your experience.

As YouTube continues to push its paid subscription services, products like Adblock Plus are extremely useful for people who feel like they’re already paying too much for piecemeal entertainment.

A Binging With Babish YouTube video with no ads interrupting the video.

If you want to support your favorite content creators on YouTube, you can disable the browser extension when you watch their videos. This is especially true of creators who make content that you find valuable — like those teaching skills, streaming engaging content, or providing other useful information.

Our Adblock Plus experience

Adblock Plus was a breeze to install. Ours was installed on a Safari browser on both macOS on a MacBook and iOS on an iPhone, as well as a Chrome browser on our MacBook.

From YouTube to blogs to sites like Forbes, ads were blocked and browsing was clean and seamless. The YouTube blockers were especially impressive because they blocked the ads at the beginning and eliminated any loading of ads in the middle of a video.

We tested Adblock Plus on a recipe blog and it worked like a charm. Annoying ads, including a video ad, were blocked.

We also liked that you could turn on acceptable ads, which are non-invasive advertisements on a site as well as allowlisting certain sites for ads. This gives back to creators, like your favorite blogger, who rely on ad revenue for the content they create. Adblock Plus allows you the choice to support content you find relevant, and we really appreciated that.

Adblock Plus also allows you to see acceptable ads, which are said to be non-intrustive and allow you to support online content creators.

Adblock Plus compatibility

Adblock Plus has a decent offering of browser compatibility. It would be nice to see additional browsers included as well, but these are a great start.

Compatible browsers

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Opera
  • Yandex Browser

Incompatible browsers

  • Netscape
  • Vivaldi
  • Tor
  • Brave
  • Others

Additionally, you can grab the Adblock Browser for Android on the Google Play Store and for the iPhone or iPad on the Apple App Store.

Adblock Plus Premium

Adblock Plus, while a powerful free tool, has a Premium subscription plan that allows for even more options like blocking site notifications and blocking floating videos. Anyone who’s visited a recipe blog knows that these can overwhelm the page to the point of making it nearly unreadable.

The Premium subscription also supports the work the Adblock Plus crew is doing so they can continue to bring a powerful and useful tool to all internet users. For less than $20 a year, Adblock Plus Premium is absolutely worth it especially if you value the work they’re doing.

Adblock Plus Premium prices

Adblock Plus Free Adblock Plus Premium
Price Free
  • Annual: $19.99/yr
  • Monthly: $1.99/mo
Block ads and pop-ups
Block trackers
Block site notifications
Block survey requests
Block floating videos

Adblock Plus promises that it exists solely on paid subscriptions and donations. This means your data is never for sale. The app even notes in its privacy policy that you’re practically invisible to the company as well. Adblock Plus does note that it shares aggregated anonymous information with some third parties, but that info cannot be traced back to you.

Adblock Plus alternatives

If you’re not sold on Adblock Plus, there are plenty of alternative ad blockers that may better suit your needs. Here are some of the best ad blockers you can consider instead:

  • Total Adblock: From the makers of TotalAV, Total Adblock is an easy-to-use ad blocker you can get for free or bundle with the antivirus. It also received a perfect AdBlock Tester score and passed 2/3 Cover Your Tracks tests, which proves it’s a powerful tool.

    Get Total Adblock | Read Total Adblock Review

  • NordVPN Threat Protection: NordVPN Threat Protection also comes from another top-tier name in cybersecurity, which shows due to its impressive test scores (96/100 AdBlock Tester score and 2/3 Cover Your Tracks score). Threat Protection also equips you with antivirus features, so you can stay safe from malware, ads, and trackers.

    Get NordVPN Threat Protection | Read NordVPN Threat Protection Review

Adblock Plus FAQs


+

Is Adblock Plus really free?

Yes, while there are some enhanced features worth paying for with the Premium subscription, the free version of Adblock Plus does an amazing job of blocking ads.


+

Is Adblock Plus safe to install?

Yes, Adblock Plus is safe when downloaded from the official site or an official browser extension store. If you download Adblock Plus from any other location, it could contain malware.


+

How does Adblock Plus make money?

Adblock Plus makes money from donations as well as its Premium subscription, which is l$19.99/yr.


+

Should I use AdBlock or Adblock Plus for Chrome?

AdBlock and Adblock Plus both do the same job of blocking ads. Adblock Plus allows you to see what ads were blocked, so it’s up to personal preference on which one you’d like to use.

Bottom line: Is Adblock Plus good?

The short answer is yes, Adblock Plus is good. It allows you to browse the internet without having a million distractions, and possibly malicious files, overwhelming you.

Using Adblock Plus was easy and made the experience of browsing the web, watching videos, and visiting blogs much more enjoyable. You don’t realize how annoying visual clutter is until you don’t have to worry about it any longer. 

However, we were disappointed that it failed to block any trackers according to its Cover Your Tracks test results. If you’d still like another option you can go with one of the other popular ad blockers like Total Adblock.

Ads are annoying at best, and downright dangerous and loaded with malware at worst. We used to think they were just a necessary nuisance to browse the internet, but that doesn’t have to be true. Do yourself a solid and block them. You won’t regret it.

4.0
Learn More
On Adblock Plus's website

Adblock Plus
  • Free product works great
  • Blocks YouTube ads
  • Need paid subscription to block pop-up videos, survey requests, and site notifications
Author Details
Mary lives in Los Angeles and has been writing about tech for over 5 years. When she's not writing for work or fun, you'll find her in a theatre, at the movies, volunteering, or hiking the gorgeous SoCal landscape.