Dear Internet, Ad Blockers Are Like Condoms.

It’s about time we have a talk about the inevitable terror we face daily when surfing the internet. This might not be an easy discussion, but it’s one we must have if you choose to explore the vast world wide web. I’d like to discuss Ad blockers and why you should be using one no matter what site you end up visiting.

Ad blockers are like condoms, and just like our little rubber friends, they provide many benefits to the user. While Ad blockers simply remove advertisements from webpages, it provides other important benefits that help keep us protected and safe:

1. Blocks advertisements in various forms (videos, pop-ups, etc)

Ever visit a website and a pop-up window takes over the entire screen while you’re in the middle of reading an article? How about an annoying video that’s started playing automatically? What about viewing a website on your phone and it magically launches the app store and tries to get you to download some application? Ad Blockers help prevent these types of nuisances and because of this, you’ll have a better experience surfing the web.

2. Minimizes collection of personal and identifiable information

Web browsers leak a ton of information and third-party ads love to collect this data. Does the website you’re visiting need to know what social media accounts you’re currently logged into? How about the percentage of battery, current location or browser window size? I don’t think so. And if you’re curious, see what your browser is leaking with Panopticlick.

3. Decreases chance of malvertising (i.e. virus served through ads)

A lot of websites display advertising that’s directly targeting you and will track your browsing habits as you visit other websites. While sometimes advertisements can display useful ads, some websites actually try to trick you into downloading malware. This happens when the advertisement displays in your browser, and it tries to redirect you to a site to download or update something on your computer, such as Flash. Yahoo is a prime example, as their website is constantly targeted by malicious advertising.

4. Increases page speed and user experience

Slow loading websites are frustrating. You can prevent this by using an Ad Blocker because it prevents the advertisements from loading which increases the time for a site’s content to load. Crystal, a mobile application that blocks advertisements, can increase page load time by 4x and use 50% less data. This can potentially alleviate battery drain too since the device doesn’t have to load ads.

There are many choices out there and each have their own benefits. Here’s a list of some popular Ad Blockers to get you started:

  • Adblocker Plus
  • uBlock
  • Ghostery
  • Privacy Badger

I hope you understand the importance of Ad Blockers and how they provide a better experience while surfing the web while keeping you and your data safe and sound.