Ghostery vs. AdGuard 2024: Free vs. Freemium Ad Blocking

Ghostery offers a free ad blocker with no caps. AdGuard also offers a free browser extension, but the premium ad blocking app includes several features worth the price.
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Best for Free Ad Blocking

4.3
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Ghostery's website

Ad Blocker
Ghostery
  • User-friendly design provides for seamless browsing
  • Keeps a regularly updated list of blocked trackers
  • Provides both whitelisting and blacklisting functionality
  • Struggled with all tracker tests

Best for Families

4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On AdGuard Ad Blocker's website

Ad Blocker
AdGuard Ad Blocker
  • User-friendly ad blocker that offers broad coverage across browsers and devices without compromising device speed
  • The free version provides basic extension-only coverage, while the premium plans boast robust app coverage
  • App plans include parental controls, browsing security, browser assistant, DNS leak protection, and a VPN
  • Ad-blocking statistics can be hard to interpret

Ghostery offers a user-friendly free plan with all its features available, even if you don't become a contributor. However, AdGuard did a significantly better job blocking ads and trackers. Its premium app boasts security tools like a VPN, DNS protection, and parental controls to make browsing online safer.

Price aside, both ad blockers have pros and cons. We’ve extensively vetted and tested ad blockers to bring you a clear breakdown of costs, features, compatibility, and more. Let's dive in and explore the features and effectiveness of Ghostery and AdGuard.

In this article
Ghostery vs. AdGuard
Ghostery vs. AdGuard: prices
Ghostery vs. AdGuard: features
Ghostery vs. AdGuard: test results
Ghostery vs. AdGuard: compatibility and customer support
Ghostery vs. AdGuard FAQs
Ghostery vs. AdGuard: Which is better?

Ghostery vs. AdGuard

Ghostery and AdGuard both offer free ad blockers, but they differ in functionality. Ghostery lets you use all of its features even if you don't pay for the software, while AdGuard works best when you buy an app subscription to access all of its capabilities. It also has additional security features like parental controls to customize the browsing experience for everyone in your household.

Best for Free ad blocking Families
Price Free Free or $2.49-$5.49/mo
Ads blocked on Forbes 9 14
Does it block YouTube ads?
Compatibility Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Opera macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Yandex
Mobile compatibility (browser only) Android, iOS Android, iOS
Learn more Get Ghostery

Read Ghostery Review

Get AdGuard

Read AdGuard Review

Ghostery pros and cons

Pros
  • Free ad blocking extension with privacy browser that includes all features
  • Uses open-source software, allowing for more customization
Cons
  • Failed tracking tests
  • No 24/7 customer support

AdGuard pros and cons

Pros
  • Passed all ad and tracker blocking tests
  • Premium app includes VPN, DNS protection, browser assistant, and parental controls
  • Has more browser and device compatibility
Cons
  • Must upgrade to access the robust in-app features
  • Limited free version that covers only one device

Ghostery vs. AdGuard: prices

Our Pick
Price range Free or $1.99–$11.99/mo for contributors Free or $2.49-$5.49/mo
Best value plan Monthly contributor plan for $1.99/mo AdGuard Personal for $2.49/mo
Free version available
Money-back guarantee N/A Yes — 60 days
Learn more Get Ghostery

Read Ghostery Review

Get AdGuard

Read AdGuard Review

Both Ghostery and AdGuard have free ad blockers. The AdGuard free extension is available only on browser extensions or mobile apps, and it has limited features. If you want full access, you need to subscribe.

Meanwhile, Ghostery is completely free. You can choose to contribute financially with a monthly or annual subscription, but it's not necessary to use Ghostery. Since no features are blocked, Ghostery offers the best deal on a free ad blocker.

AdGuard costs more than Ghostery, but it offers more long-term value with the inclusion of advanced security features. The AdGuard Individual plan covers up to 3 devices, and the Family plan covers up to 9 devices.

Winner: Ghostery wins since it's completely free. You can choose to make donations to support it.

Ghostery vs. AdGuard: features

Our Pick
Whitelisting
Blacklisting
Ads blocked counter
Bypasses paywalls
Block pop-up ads
Block tracking
Block video ads
Block banner ads
Block push ads
Learn more Get Ghostery

Read Ghostery Review

Get AdGuard

Read AdGuard Review

Beyond the essential ad blocker features, there are a few additional differences between Ghostery and AdGuard. Ghostery has a private browser and search engine.

But it's AdGuard that shines with bonus features. Here is a quick look at what AdGuard includes:

  • Stealth Mode
  • Block malicious and phishing websites
  • DNS protection
  • AdGuard VPN
  • Parental controls

AdGuard’s parental controls are password protected to prevent children from changing the settings. With parental controls, you can choose a content sensitivity level, manage blacklists and whitelists, and block executable file downloads.

AdGuard Settings dashboard on PC
AdGuard Settings dashboard on PC

Winner: AdGuard wins. It has all the essential ad and tracking blockers as well as several features to enhance your digital security like AdGuard VPN.

Ghostery vs. AdGuard: test results

Our Pick
Adblock Tester score 91/100 100/100 (macOS)
94/100 (Windows)
Cover Your Tracks score 0/3 2/3
Can You Block It score 3/3 3/3
YouTube ads blocked
Paywalls bypassed
Learn more Get Ghostery

Read Ghostery Review

Get AdGuard

Read AdGuard Review

The biggest question about ad blockers is whether they actually work. We tested Ghostery and AdGuard and evaluated their ability to block ads and trackers successfully. We checked each against AdBlock Tester, Cover Your Tracks, and Can You Block It.

Ghostery and AdGuard both had decent scores for blocking ads, but we had some trouble getting AdGuard to work effectively from the jump. After some tweaking, AdGuard crushed the AdBlock Tester test with a perfect 100/100 ad blocking score on macOS and 94/100 on Windows. Ghostery had a comparably decent score of 91/100. Both ad blockers were equally effective at disabling banner and interstitial ads in Can You Block It.

AdGuard scored 2/3 on the ad tracking tests by Cover Your Tracks — results that are in line with the most popular ad blockers. The biggest disappointment was that Ghostery failed to block trackers. It's a significant issue that Ghostery claims to block trackers but scored only 0/3 in Cover Your Tracks. Trackers follow you as you use the internet and collect your personal data, interests, and browsing habits. Ghostery can't keep you anonymous online.

Cover Your Tracks test results for Ghostery.
Ghostery failed all three tests in Cover Your Tracks.

However, if you switch to Ghostery Private Browser, it has an easier time blocking trackers. But this means you can't use your preferred browser.

Winner: AdGuard wins. It scored higher on our tests overall, even though you may need to configure settings to get it to work properly.

Ghostery vs. AdGuard: compatibility and customer support

Our Pick
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Browser extensions Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera, Yandex
24/7 customer support
Customer support options Online form, forums, online guides Email, knowledge base, FAQ, community forum
Learn more Get Ghostery

Read Ghostery Review

Get AdGuard

Read AdGuard Review

When it comes to a "Set it and forget it" ad blocker, Ghostery is the better choice. AdGuard may need some configurations to get optimal functionality. However, both ad blockers have simple designs that make it easy to use.

Ghostery offers both whitelisting and blacklisting capabilities.
Ghostery's features in detailed view

Both ad blockers work on various devices and browsers. If you use Linux, Ghostery is your option. AdGuard is more likely to support less popular browsers, and it has dedicated apps for macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.

AdGuard PC app dashboard with Settings highlighted
AdGuard PC app dashboard with Settings highlighted

It's worth noting that Ghostery and AdGuard have similar customer support options.

Winner: AdGuard. Both are easy to use, work on popular devices and browsers, and have limited customer support. But AdGuard offers more than just a browser extension, with dedicated apps for macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.

Ghostery vs. AdGuard FAQs


+

Is Ghostery better than Adblock?

Ghostery is a better free ad blocker than Total Adblock only because all features are available even if you don't pay for Ghostery. Total Adblock offers a limited free version. However, Ghostery didn't pass our tracking test, which means your personal data is getting collected while you browse the internet. Total Adblock may be a better choice if you want effective ad and tracker blocking.


+

Can Ghostery be trusted?

Ghostery is a trusted ad blocker with over 100 million downloads. It also uses open-source software, which means anyone can look at the code and notice any problems.


+

Is Ghostery or uBlock better?

Ghostery and uBlock Origin are both free, open-source ad blockers. During our testing, uBlock was better at blocking trackers than Ghostery. Although Ghostery is more user friendly and doesn't require any technical knowledge to use, uBlock Origin is one of the most popular ad blockers we’d recommend.


+

Is there anything better than AdGuard?

AdGuard is a great ad blocker choice, but it may not suit your needs — or budget. If you want a more comprehensive security suite, consider NordVPN Threat Protection. If you want an ad blocker that includes a VPN at a better price point, consider Surfshark CleanWeb.

Ghostery vs. AdGuard: Which is better?

AdGuard passed all our ad and tracker blocker tests. It also has additional security features like parental controls to customize your browsing experience. It's a great choice for families or anyone looking for an effective ad blocker.

Ghostery is still a solid choice, especially if you are looking for a free ad blocker with no limitations.

4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On AdGuard Ad Blocker's website
Ad Blocker
AdGuard Ad Blocker
  • User-friendly ad blocker that offers broad coverage across browsers and devices without compromising device speed
  • The free version provides basic extension-only coverage, while the premium plans boast robust app coverage
  • App plans include parental controls, browsing security, browser assistant, DNS leak protection, and a VPN
  • Ad-blocking statistics can be hard to interpret

Ghostery vs. AdGuard alternatives

Ghostery and AdGuard each have their own benefits and downsides. It's possible neither won you over, but luckily there are a few other great options available.

Some ad blockers include additional security features like antivirus protection. Some of them even have better overall value while still protecting you from ads and trackers. Take a look at some of the best ad blockers we've tested:

Ad blocker
Best for Best for blocking YouTube ads Best overall Best for blocking streaming ads
Price Paid plan costs $1.59/mo (billed annually) Starts at $3.99/mo (billed every two years) Starts at $2.19/mo (billed biennially)
Blocks YouTube ads
Learn more Get Total Adblock Get NordVPN Threat Protection Get Surfshark CleanWeb

Best Basic Adblocker — Including YouTube Video Ads
4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Total Adblock's website
Ad Blocker
Total Adblock
Special deal: Save 80% off
  • Instantly blocks distracting ads on millions of websites, including YouTube video ads
  • Blocks third-party trackers to protect your privacy and information
  • Improves page load times and enables faster browsing

Author Details
Sara J. Nguyen is a freelance writer specializing in cybersecurity. She aims to help people protect their data while enjoying technology. She has written about online privacy and tech for over 5 years for several organizations. When she's not writing about the latest cybersecurity trends, you can find her on LinkedIn.