uBlock Origin vs. Ghostery 2024: Which is the Best Free Ad Blocker?

uBlock Origin is suitable for advanced internet users while Ghostery has a user-friendly interface.
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Best for Advanced tech users

4.8
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On uBlock Origin's website

Ad Blocker
uBlock Origin
  • One of the best totally free ad blockers available
  • Highly customizable, open-source ad blocker that's compatible with multiple browsers
  • Can block advertising and analytics tools, including banner ads, video ads, and trackers, and can even bypass soft paywalls
  • Better suited for advanced users because some features require technical knowledge

Best for Ease of use

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

uBlock Origin is completely free and works effectively at blocking all types of ads and trackers. However, it can get pretty technical to customize, which may not make it suitable for the average user.

Ghostery is extremely user friendly — you can set it and forget it. Ghostery is also free, but it's not quite as effective as uBlock Origin. It does, however, come with additional privacy features to keep your browsing hidden from data collectors.

Let’s dive into the details and see if either of these top ad blockers is right for you.

In this article
uBlock Origin vs. Ghostery
uBlock Origin vs. Ghostery: prices
uBlock Origin vs Ghostery: features
uBlock Origin vs Ghostery: test results
uBlock Origin vs Ghostery: compatibility and customer support
uBlock Origin vs. Ghostery FAQs
uBlock Origin vs. Ghostery: which is better?

uBlock Origin vs. Ghostery

While uBlock Origin and Ghostery are both free ad blockers, some differences can sway your opinion. User friendliness is the biggest factor.

uBlock Origin doesn't offer any customer support, and it can be technical to set up to your preferences.

Meanwhile, Ghostery is easy for anyone to use. While it only offers limited customer support, you can always send a request. It also offers more browser and app compatibility than uBlock Origin.

Ad Blocker
Best for Advanced tech users Ease of use
Price Free Free
Ads blocked on Forbes 18/18 9/9
Does it block YouTube ads?
Compatibility Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Safari (before version 13), Chromium Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera
Mobile compatibility Only as an add-on for Firefox on Android
Learn more Get uBlock Origin
Read uBlock Origin Review
Get Ghostery
Read Ghostery Review

uBlock Origin pros and cons

Pros
  • Open-source
  • Effectively blocks various ad types and trackers
  • Compatible with multiple browsers
Cons
  • Can be technical
  • No customer support

Ghostery pros and cons

Pros
  • User friendly
  • Whitelisting and blacklisting features
  • Automatically declines cookies
Cons
  • Failed tracking tests
  • No 24/7 customer support

uBlock Origin vs. Ghostery: prices

uBlock Origin and Ghostery are completely free to use, and neither of them requires you to upgrade to a paid plan to access premium features. Once installed, you can use either forever without paying.

uBlock Origin won't even accept donations. If you want to support the ad blocker, it asks that you donate to block list maintainers. Not accepting donations means the developer can continue their work without outside influence. However, it does take away the opportunity to add valuable features like customer support.

On the other hand, Ghostery is willing to accept donations. It makes it easy to donate on a monthly or annual basis. As a contributor, you do get some perks like advanced tracker analytics, custom color themes, and more. None of these are necessarily essential features, but they can make your ad-blocking experience more useful.

Winner: Ghostery wins. While both are completely free to use, donations lead to additional features that wouldn't exist without financial support.

uBlock Origin vs Ghostery: features

Feature
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 uBlock Origin  
  Read uBlock Origin Review
Get Ghostery  
  Read Ghostery Review

Let's start with what uBlock Origin and Ghostery have in common. They both use open-source code which makes it fully transparent and accessible. Both ad blockers can stop ads, tracking, and other intrusive ad types from appearing on your browser.

However, uBlock Origin can bypass "soft paywalls," so you can read a limited number of articles for free before restricting content. Our testing shows that uBlock Origin can let users read more articles.

uBlock screen showing the number of blocked ads on the page and blocked ads since install.

Another notable difference between uBlock Origin and Ghostery are premium features. uBlock Origin only focuses on filtering ads.

Meanwhile, some people may prefer Ghostery for more comprehensive privacy tools. Ghostery offers other assets like a private browser and a search engine.

Ghostery also has WhoTracks.Me which can give you reports on who is collecting your data. This information can help you make more personalized decisions on who you want to block tracking you.

Winner: Ghostery wins. It has more online privacy features without any additional costs.

uBlock Origin vs Ghostery: test results

Feature
Our Pick
Adblock Tester score 100/100 91/100
Cover Your Tracks score 2/3 0/3
Can You Block It score 3/3 3/3
YouTube ads blocked
Paywalls bypassed
Learn more Get uBlock Origin  
  Read uBlock Origin Review
Get Ghostery  
  Read Ghostery Review

We conducted five tests to see if uBlock Origin and Ghostery can effectively block ads and trackers. Each test evaluated different aspects, like blocking video ads on YouTube, to see if trackers can follow you.

The most noticeable difference between uBlock Origin and Ghostery is that the latter completely failed the Cover Your Tracks score. The test determines if trackers can specifically identify you. Meanwhile, uBlock Origin received a better score of 2/3.

Ghostery's cover your tracks score.

When it comes to essential ad blocking, uBlock Origin received a perfect score. Ghostery has a respectable 91/100 score, so it wasn't as efficient as uBlock Origin.

However, we saw vastly different results when using uBlock Origin Lite. While it still blocked all ads, it failed the Cover Your Tracks test. The Lite version is designed to work on Chrome, but it doesn't seem as effective for blocking trackers overall.

Winner: uBlock Origin wins since it passed all five tests.

uBlock Origin vs Ghostery: compatibility and customer support

Our Pick
Windows
macOS
Android Only as an add-on for Firefox on Android
iOS
Linux
Browser extensions Yes — Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Safari (before version 13), and Chromium Yes — Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera
24/7 customer support
Customer support options GitHub wiki, bug and filter reporting, subreddit Online form, forums, online guides
Learn more Get uBlock Origin  
  Read uBlock Origin Review
Get Ghostery  
  Read Ghostery Review

uBlock Origin appears to have a more diverse range of extensions compared to Ghostery. However, it should be noted that the Safari extension only works on versions before Safari 13.

Released in 2019, Apple has put out several additional versions, which makes version 13 outdated. You may be better off using Ghostery for Safari.

In the end, uBlock Origin only has an edge by working on Chromium, which is a niche open-source browser that is used by developers. Ghostery is far superior in working for all major browsers.

Ghostery's detailed view page.

When it comes to apps, uBlock Origin only offers browser extensions. Ghostery has a stand-alone app for its private browser, which is available for Android and iOS.

One of the biggest issues with uBlock Origin is the lack of customer support. If you need help setting up filters, you'll need to have technical knowledge to be able to understand the guides. If you don't, then it’ll be difficult to use.

uBlock Origin's filter list.

Ghostery is far more user friendly and accessible to the average person. While customer support is limited, you can still reach out for help via an online form.

Winner: Ghostery wins for having better compatibility with major browsers, a user-friendly interface, and access to customer support.

uBlock Origin vs. Ghostery FAQs


+

Is Ghostery the best ad blocker?

Ghostery can block ads, but our testing showed that it wasn't great at blocking trackers. Overall, Ghostery is a good ad blocker if you are looking for a free way to block all ad types.


+

What are the downsides of uBlock Origin?

There are a few downsides to uBlock Origin. It's not entirely user friendly, and you may need some technical knowledge to set it up to your preferences.

uBlock Origin doesn't offer any support outside of Github either, which adds another layer of difficulty for non-techies. Finally, it doesn't support Safari from version 13 onwards.


+

Does Ghostery collect your data?

Ghostery does collect your data to operate efficiently. According to its privacy policy, Ghostery follows legal requirements, especially the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

However, Ghostery’s privacy policy mentions that it transmits data to legal authorities if required. So it's not a completely private browser with no logs.

You can use a reliable virtual private network (VPN) with a no-logs policy if you want to prevent data transmission to government authorities.

uBlock Origin vs. Ghostery: which is better?

When it comes to blocking ads and trackers, uBlock Origin is the clear winner. It passed all our tests, and it has a no-frills approach to providing an ad-free browsing experience. uBlock Origin is completely free and is suitable for most major browsers.

However, some people may find uBlock Origin a bit too technical. In that case, Ghostery is a suitable alternative. It does a good job of blocking ads and is easy to use. It also has some premium privacy features that can help make your online browsing more secure.

4.8
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On uBlock Origin's website
Ad Blocker
uBlock Origin
  • One of the best totally free ad blockers available
  • Highly customizable, open-source ad blocker that's compatible with multiple browsers
  • Can block advertising and analytics tools, including banner ads, video ads, and trackers, and can even bypass soft paywalls
  • Better suited for advanced users because some features require technical knowledge

uBlock Origin and Ghostery alternatives

uBlock Origin and Ghostery may not be the best fit for your needs. Luckily, there are a few more alternatives for you to consider. Here are some of the best ad blockers on the market.

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


4.8
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On uBlock Origin's website
Ad Blocker
uBlock Origin
  • One of the best totally free ad blockers available
  • Highly customizable, open-source ad blocker that's compatible with multiple browsers
  • Can block advertising and analytics tools, including banner ads, video ads, and trackers, and can even bypass soft paywalls
  • Better suited for advanced users because some features require technical knowledge
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.