Browsing on Your Terms: Why Everyone Needs an Ad Blocker

Is it just me, or are pop-ups and adverts completely and utterly out of control? Like a plague, they fill up all corners of the web, blasting sounds into our eardrums without consent and taking up the vast majority of our screen real-estate. We can’t even enjoy a simple article without one or more blocking out the words of the paragraph we’re trying, and failing, to read.

They’ve ruined what used to be fun, idle distractions and turned being online into a constant, exhausting battle. It’s no wonder why so many have turned to an ad blocker to keep them at bay. Without one, daily browsing is painful, time-consuming, stressful and potentially even dangerous.

Pop-up adverts are like vampires

They’re intrusive, disruptive and so annoying they could make the most patient person in the world want to slam their laptop closed in frustration. The worst offenders also slow down your browsing by sucking up all of your device’s processing power, and many seem to have a mind of their own.

When an advert is well-made and isn’t presented to your eyeballs like a horror movie jump-scare, there’s nothing really wrong with them. The problem starts when they’re everywhere, dividing your attention and attacking your senses. Whenever a new one shows up you have to stop your train of thought and squint at your screen to find the tiny x that will banish it. All this extra work is tiring. After a while, the constant barrage can leave you feeling anxious, drained of life, and reaching for a caffeine-filled energy drink.

If an ad blocker is doing its job as described, it will be shielding your delicate sensibilities from adverts designed to divert, disturb and distract. This is power you can enjoy if you have one attached to your browser.

Some adverts are misleading or even dangerous

For the most part, an advert will appear before you to tempt you to buy something or try out a service. While annoying and perhaps damaging to your self-esteem, most are not inherently evil. Unfortunately, some can be considered social engineering attacks. And it’s impossible to tell which ones are sincere and which ones are out to try to implant malware onto your device.

As a rule of thumb, any pop-up that immediately tells you you’re in danger or that your system has been hacked should be left well alone. Don’t even try to dismiss it by tapping or clicking on that little x at the top corner of the image. And, for all that is good in the world, don’t buy into what it’s telling you. Whether it’s a phishing attempt or an attempt to get you to download ransomware, nothing good ever comes from accidently clicking on a scam masquerading as a pop-up advert. To be safe, it’s better to block all ads from disrupting your browsing with an ad blocker.

Don’t websites rely on revenue from adverts to keep the lights on?

Yes, lots of websites wouldn’t be around without the money they make from hosting adverts. This is why lots of ad blockers give you the option to whitelist websites you trust. If you’re worried that partnering up with an ad blocker will kill your favorite niche news site, you have two options. You can either whitelist the site, if the ad blocker offers this feature, or you can figure out how to support that site more directly with a subscription or donation. Take YouTube for example. Paying for YouTube premium will remove the ads without putting your favorite content creators out on the street.

Which ad blocker you choose matters

If you haven’t already run off to get yourself an ad blocker, hopefully it’s because you’re hoping this article will shed some light on which service or extension to pick up. You’re in luck, because that’s exactly what we’re covering now.

Like most things in life, not all ad blocker options open to you right now will be the same in every way. There is a whole host to choose between. Some are free and take just seconds to download or set up. Others might be paid services that promise to provide extra features or added safety. Which one you end up going with depends on your browsing habits.

To choose well, you should take at least more than a few seconds to take stock of the buffet of choices laying before you. Maybe read some reviews to make sure the first one you come across isn’t trying to steal your data or track your keystrokes. Definitely look into the kinds of features you can enjoy if you decide you want to pay for a premium ad-blocking application. The most comprehensive blockers might need lots of juice to run. If that’s a problem for you, stick to a lightweight service.

Conclusion: You get to control your experience

We’ve only just scratched the surface on this topic. There are actually many other very good reasons why getting an ad blocker is potentially the best decision you’ll make this year, if you haven’t got one already. But, the best reason to take the leap is about control. Instead of letting advertisers control your thoughts and direct your feelings, with an ad blocker, you get to choose for yourself when you’d like to look at an ad.

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