Adblock Plus Review 2024: 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.
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4.7
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Adblock Plus's website

Ad Blocker
Adblock Plus
  • Free product blocks ads, pop-up, trackers, push notifications, social media icons tracking, and even YouTube video ads
  • Open-source software allows for custom filtering and community-based support

It feels like annoying ads are an embedded, inescapable part of the internet. But trusty ad blockers like Adblock Plus can scan sites you visit and block content that looks like an ad. It's a free, open-source ad blocker extension that can fight the good fight against those pesky ads.

Adblock Plus, when downloaded directly from the site, is a safe and effective tool for blocking ads. Let’s take a closer look at Adblock Plus's main features, premium offerings, ad blocking tests, and more. This extension may just make your browsing experience a pleasant one.

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
  • Struggles with blocking trackers
  • Fewer features on Safari
In this article
Overview
Our experience
Paid plan
Features
Test results
How to use Adblock Plus
Alternatives
Compatibility
FAQs
Bottom line: Is Adblock Plus good?

Adblock Plus Overview

Ads blocked on Forbes homepage 56
Adblock-Tester score 100/100
Cover Your Tracks score 0/3
Can You Block It3/3
Does it block YouTube ads? Yes
Whitelisting available Yes ("allowlist")
Blacklisting available Yes
Compatibility Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera, Yandex
Paid version Starts at $4.00/mo

How we test and rate ad blockers

Each ad blocker we review goes through a standardized test designed to push the limits of what the software is capable of. This includes vigorous third-party testing using websites like adblock-tester.com, coveryourtracks.eff.org, and canyoublockit.com. We also visit popular websites to test the ad blocker’s day-to-day capabilities, including watching YouTube videos and browsing Forbes.

Once we’ve completed the testing, we calculate our editorial rating by taking into account key features you’d expect from a good product. We score each ad blocker in the following categories and use a weighted average to calculate the final rating out of 5 stars:

  • Price
  • Test scores
  • Features
  • Browser support
  • Editorial score

Our experience

Adblock Plus was a breeze to install. During testing, we installed Adblock Plus on a Safari browser on macOS and iOS and tried out the Chrome extension as well.

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 noninvasive advertisements on a site, and add certain sites to our "allowlist" so that the ads display. 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 appreciate 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 paid plan

Adblock Plus is a powerful free tool, but it has a Premium subscription plan that allows for even more options, like blocking site notifications and 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 $3.33/mo (billed annually), Adblock Plus Premium is absolutely worth it, especially if you value the work they’re doing.

Adblock Plus Free Adblock Plus Premium
Price Free $4.00/mo or $3.33/mo (billed annually)
Blocks ads and pop-ups
Blocks trackers
Blocks push notifications
Blocks social media icons tracking
Blocks site notifications
Blocks survey requests
Blocks floating videos
Blocks cookie consent pop-ups

Adblock Plus promises that it exists solely on paid subscriptions and donations. This means your data is never for sale. eyeo, the company behind Adblock Plus, 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.

Main Features

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

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.

Ad blocking

It blocks YouTube ads, floating 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. 

Anonymous browsing

Adblock Plus also allows you the freedom to browse anonymously without trackers creating a profile of you. You can select which trackers you want enabled or disabled.

Adblock Plus anti-tracking features
Adblock Plus anti-tracking features

Allowlisting (whitelisting)

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. However, our testing found that Adblock Plus struggled to actually block those trackers.

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

Custom filtering

Because Adblock Plus is open source software, users have the ability to use custom filters. In addition to using the built-in filter lists, you can add community-trusted filters, create your own filters, or add filters based on the URL.  

Adblock Plus customer filter lists
Adblock Plus custom filter lists

Transparency

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,Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF’s) Cover Your Tracks, and Can You Block It. 

AdBlock Tester looks at specific forms of ads like contextual advertising, banner advertising, analytics tools, and more. Adblock Plus initially scored 77/100, 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. 

Adblock Plus score 77/100 on AdBlock Tester
Adblock Plus score 77/100 on AdBlock Tester

However, when we enabled the Block additional tracking and Block social media icons tracking features and retested, Adblock Plus scored a clean 100/100. 

Adblock Plus retest of AdBlock Tester with a perfect score of 100.
Adblock Plus retest of AdBlock Tester with a perfect score of 100.

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.

Adblock Plus score 0/3 on Cover Your Tracks
Adblock Plus score 0/3 on Cover Your Tracks

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 Can You Block It
Adblock Plus score 100/100 0/3 3/3
Test results as of 04/23/2024.

YouTube ad test

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 teaching skills, streaming engaging content, or providing other useful information.

Bypassing paywall test

Although it's not surprising, Adblock Plus is unable to bypass paywalls. Ad blockers, free or paid, typically can't bypass hard paywalls like the ones you'd see on national news sites. But some of the most powerful ad blockers can bypass soft paywalls like the ones you'd see on local news sites. Unfortunately, Adblock Plus isn't able to bypass either. 

Adblock Plus doesn't bypass hard or soft paywalls: a screenshot of Reading Eagle paywall and Adblock Plus blocking zero ads.
Adblock Plus doesn't bypass hard or soft paywalls.

How to use Adblock Plus

Adblock is easy to use. After navigating to the website to download the extension on our preferred browser, we just needed to enable it. Open the extension in your browser and toggle to enable/disable. 

To set up more advanced features, select the settings icon in the upper right-hand corner of the extension management view.

Select the settings icon to customize Adblock Plus
Select the settings icon to customize Adblock Plus.

In Settings, you have the option to enable/disable special tracking features, show acceptable ads, add "allowlisted" websites, create custom filter lists, and get in touch with customer support. 

Adblock Plus Alternatives

If you’re not sold on Adblock Plus, there are plenty of options for ad blocking software. Here are some of the best ad blockers you can consider instead. Plus, all of these tested and recommended ad blockers can block YouTube ads. 



Threat Protection

CleanWeb
Best for Best for blocking YouTube ads Best overall Best for blocking streaming ads
Price Starts at $1.59/mo (billed annually) Starts at $3.99/mo (billed every two years) Starts at $2.19/mo (billed biennially)
Free version?
Adblock Tester score 100/100 93/100 96/100
Cover Your Tracks score 2/3 2/3 0.5/3
Can You Block It score3/3 2/3 3/3
Blocks YouTube ads?
Compatibility Windows, Mac, Chrome, Edge, Opera, Amazon Fire, Safari, Android, iOS Threat Protection:
Windows, macOS

Threat Protection Lite:
Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Edge, Firefox

Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Edge, Firefox, FireTV
Learn more Get Total Adblock Get NordVPN Threat Protection Get Surfshark CleanWeb

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

NordVPN Threat Protection comes with one of the best VPN providers, NordVPN. It also equips you with antivirus features so you can stay safe from malware, ads, and trackers.

Surfshark CleanWeb is a budget-friendly ad blocker that includes top-notch VPN services. This cybersecurity duo blocks video ads, protects against malware, stops pop-up ads, detects hidden website data breaches, and more. 

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 download the Adblock Browser for Android from the Google Play Store and for iPhone or iPad from the Apple App Store.

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 blocked the majority of 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 costs $3.33/mo (billed annually).


+

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?

Adblock Plus is good, especially for a free ad blocker. 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 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 anymore. 

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 when browsing the internet, but that doesn’t have to be true. Do yourself a solid and block them with one of the best ad blockers on the market. You won’t regret it.

Featured ad blockers to consider

Ad blocker
Best for Best for blocking YouTube ads Best overall Best for parental controls
Price Paid plan costs $1.59/mo (billed annually) Starts at $3.99/mo (billed every two years) Paid plans start at $2.49/mo
Blocks YouTube ads
Learn more Get Total Adblock Get NordVPN Threat Protection Get AdGuard

4.7
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Adblock Plus's website
Ad Blocker
Adblock Plus
  • Free product blocks ads, pop-up, trackers, push notifications, social media icons tracking, and even YouTube video ads
  • Open-source software allows for custom filtering and community-based support
Author Details
Mary is a seasoned cybersecurity writer with over seven years of experience. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Clarion University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Point Park University, she educates audiences on scams, antivirus software, and more. Her passion lies in educating audiences on helpful ways to protect their data.
Kate is an Editor at All About Cookies. She has 8+ years of digital publishing experience as a content manager, developmental editor, and curriculum writer. She leverages specializations in EdTech and educational publishing to create impactful, well-researched content that aids learners of all ages.