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What is ad blocking

Aug 16, 2019 · 4 min read

What is ad blocking

Online ads usually make your browsing experience way worse. They clutter large parts of websites, slow downloading speeds, and might be sources of malware. So it’s no wonder ad blockers are so popular. However, there are several factors to take into account when using one.

What ad blocking software does

An ad blocker is any app (usually a browser extension) that removes advertising material from websites. While a site is loading, the ad blocking software checks the domain names of the elements loading on the web page against massive blacklists. If any site component is flagged as advertising material, the ad blocker stops it from loading.

After the page content is displayed, the ad blocker looks for elements that meet certain rules, e.g., images in common banner dimensions, and hides them from the screen.

Why do people use ad blockers?

The good thing about ad blocking is that it significantly improves your browsing experience by removing annoying pop-ups, video ads, and tons of content that doesn’t interest you at all. However, there are more benefits of installing ad-blocking software:

  • Security. Online advertising can be used by cybercriminals to distribute malware, so using ad blockers can actually save your device from being infected;
  • Privacy. The software can also prevent some third-party trackers from loading, meaning those advertisers can no longer collect information about your online behavior;
  • Speed. Websites will open faster because they won’t have to load dozens of advertising tags, plug-ins, and third-party analytics.

Why you may want to turn you ad blocker off

With an ad blocker turned on, you can finally read your favorite articles, watch Youtube videos, and browse in peace without flashy ads popping up on your screen. However, publishers don’t get paid for ads that don’t reach you.

Sometimes, the content you are used to accessing for free is actually paid for by ads – and advertisers only pay for ads that get served. If an ad doesn’t appear on your mobile or desktop screen because you blocked it, the site you love to read simply won’t get paid.

Publishers, of course, try their best to find ways around ad blocking. Some of them produce sponsored content, while others offer paid subscriptions or ask you politely to whitelist their website or pause your ad blocker for a while. Some even prevent readers from accessing their content if an ad blocker is turned on.

Ads can be intrusive and annoying, but they are also the reason some of your favorite websites and online services exist. Using ad blockers is still generally worth it, but you can also consider shutting them off while browsing reputable sites you’d like to support.

Where ad-block software does not work

Ad-block software is not fool-proof protection and might not work in the following cases:

  • Acceptable ads. These are the ads that are respectful, unobtrusive, clearly labeled as ads, and are approved by the Acceptable Ads Committee. These might pass ad-blocker filters;
  • As noted above, you could be required to disable to ad-block by websites that get their revenue from ads;
  • Some sites (like Facebook, YouTube, or Twitch) use special workarounds to bypass ad-blocks. While ad-blocks constantly counter them by introducing new updates, you might still regularly encounter ads on social media platforms;
  • Ad content. Some ads are bound with the content you watch. This might be a video in which the person speaking pushes a product or an article that suggests using certain products. This type of advertising is difficult to avoid without blocking the entirety of the content.

How to block ads on Twitch

Here are a few ways to block Twitch ads:

  • Buy a Turbo Twitch account, which makes Twitch ad-free. However, you would have to pay an additional monthly fee for it;
  • Get an ad blocker, but make sure it works properly on Twitch. However, ad-blockers cannot block ads on mobile devices. Also, browser extensions might not always work, especially on video ads, so getting a stand-alone ad-blocker is an option as well;
  • Report video-on-demand ads you don’t like. If you report an ad several times, it won’t play.

How to choose ad blocking software

As there is a wide variety of ad-blocking programs and browser extensions available, here are a few aspects to pay attention to when choosing the right one:

  • Avoiding ad-blocker scams. Always research the app you are going to use. Fake ad-blocker software does not function properly and might gather your data for third-parties or infect you with malware;
  • Various types of ads blocked. Make sure an ad-blocker blocks different ads including video ads, banners, pop-ups, etc.;
  • Customization possibilities and functionality. Check if an ad-blocker has enough customization options to easily whitelist specific type of ads to access pages, apply filters, etc.;
  • Customer support. This is vital in case you would encounter any problems;
  • Some ad-blockers can be too forceful and block the relevant content.

Another option is to get a VPN (Virtual Private Network) with a built-in ad blocker that prevents ads from following you online and keeps your browsing activity safe at the same time.

NordVPN’s CyberSec technology efficiently blocks suspicious domains so that no malware or other cyber threats can infect your device. It also effectively blocks ads on mobile. On top of that, it will hide unwanted pop-ups, autoplay video ads, and other advertising material the moment you enter a website. Just make sure you purchase it from our official website as it no longer blocks ads if downloaded from Google Play store due to Google’s policies.

Try NordVPN's CyberSec feature to make your browsing smoother. We also offer 30-day money-back guarantee policy.


Paul Black
Paul Black successVerified author

Paul is a technology and art enthusiast who is always eager to explore the most up-to-date issues in cybersec and internet freedom. He is always in search for new and unexplored angles to share with his readers.


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