When you open a page on the web, you will see different kinds of ads populating the web page like banners, pop-ups, side ads, and video ads. Close one and the other pop-ups!
There are many ad blockers on the app store, but we don’t recommend using one because these apps track users’ online activities and sell data to advertisers. Did you know, in 2018, Google removed hundreds of ad blockers from its Chrome Store because they were found planting trackers on user’s devices!
What you can do is use an ad-blocking VPN to block ads safely. Unfortunately, there are not many VPNs out there with ad-blocking features, but after extensive testing, we bring you the 3 best VPNs with ad blockers in 2021.
3 Best VPNs for Blocking Ads (September 2021)
1. Surfshark – Best VPN for Ad blocking
Surfshark is our top recommended VPN with an ad blocker called CleanWeb. During testing, I found that it blocked banner ads and even video ads on the side on both desktops and mobile phones.
Surfshark has a database of over 1 million websites infected with malware, and as you click on one, it warns you about it and blocks the content from loading.
This is extremely useful if you are into torrenting, as torrenting websites constantly get shut down and replaced with malware sites. With Surfshark’s CleanWeb feature, you will only access legitimate P2P sites.
Surfshark’s CleanWeb feature is turned off by default when you log in. Therefore, when you connect to a server, don’t forget to enable the feature manually.
To do that, go to the “Features” tab, and turn the CleanWeb feature on. Once you turn it on, you will see immediate results – no popups and annoying ads anymore.
It also offers 3200+ servers in 65 countries that can easily allow you to stream popular streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Channel4, Hotstar, BT–Sports, NBC Live, Spotify, ESPN+, and more.
Surfshark’s headquarter is also located in the British Virgin Islands and offers various top-class security features such as AES-256-Bit encryption, internet kill switch, clean web, secure DNS, and multi-hop to ensure that your identity remains concealed from your ISP and hackers.
Perhaps the feature which sets Surfshark apart from the rest of the providers is its ability to support unlimited simultaneous connections on a single account.
This means you can connect your Surfshark account on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Roku, PS4, Xbox, Linux, router, and many other devices simultaneously.
Available for a cost of $2.49/mo , every Surfshark premium subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To learn more about this provider, check out our Surfshark review.
2. NordVPN – Secure VPN for Ad blocking
NordVPN is a secure VPN in the market with an ad-blocking ability. It comes with a feature called CyberSec that blocks ads and protects the user’s from phishing attacks and malware sites. It is one of the best ad blockers in the market.
NordVPN maintains the data of malicious websites, so when you click on one, its CyberSec feature prevents it from loading. Therefore, if you try to open a site infected with malware, NordVPN will display a warning message and block that site from accessing your data, thus protecting your online security.
CyberSec successfully filtered so many pop-ups and side ads on Buzzfeed’s home screen during testing, thus giving a cleaner web page and faster.
Apart from its browser extension, I tested this feature on iOS, Android, and Windows devices and was impressed by the results.
It has a server network of 5200+ servers in 60 countries that are fully capable of circumventing geo-restrictions of various streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Channel4, YuppTV US, Sling TV, Vudu, and more.
NordVPN comes through its reputation for being one of the most secure VPNs in the industry and uses AES-256-Bit encryption, internet kill switch, secure DNS, double VPN, onion over VPN, and obfuscated servers to guarantee ultimate online security and privacy.
NordVPN single subscription can easily support 6 simultaneous connections. In addition, the provider can be easily configured on major popular devices such as Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, router, Roku, Chromebook, Xbox, PS4, and more.
Even when it offers that much, NordVPN only costs $3.30/mo (VPN Awareness Month - 2 year plan at 72% off + 3 months FREE), and it also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
You can also check out our NordVPN review for more details.
3. Private Internet Access (PIA) – Popular VPN for Ad blocking
Private Internet Access (PIA) is another premium VPN offering a built-in ad blocker called MACE. MACE successfully blocks ads, banners on all devices, including browsers.
Just like NordVPN and Surfshark, MACE also maintains a database of ad servers that have been flagged before for sharing malware. As a result, it prevents such sites from loading.
PIA blocked ads on desktop and mobile devices during testings, but remember that you must download the .apk for Android from PIA’s official website because the app store version doesn’t include an ad blocker. We found this very odd, but now you know how to get this feature.
Another interesting thing is that MACE does not work on iOS. After contacting customer support, I found that PIA removed this ad-blocking feature from its app for iPhones in 2018. But, don’t worry, it was replaced with a Safari Content Blocker, and it effectively blocks ads on iPhones.
Some users on Reddit have complained that the PIA ad-blocking feature causes serious battery drain, so that is also something you should consider.
PIA VPN offers 35500+ servers in 78 countries. With such an enormous server network, you can easily get unlimited access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, BFI Player, Crave TV, ORF, Nine, CBS, and more.
Although its headquarter is located in the United States, rest assured your online privacy and anonymity is completely secure due to its AES-256-Bit encryption, internet kill switch, and secure DNS feature.
With 10 simultaneous connections support, the provider can be easily configured on major popular devices such as Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, router, Roku, Chromebook, Xbox, PS4, and more.
Even when it offers that much, PIA VPN only costs $2.08/mo , and it also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To learn more about this provider, check out our PIA review.
How ads track your online activities and why it’s dangerous
You must have noticed that, at times, ads start tracing you as you search for something online. For example, if you search for blue party dresses, you will start seeing targeted ads for blue dresses. Well, that’s because ads use different techniques to track your online activities. Here are the three most popular ways ads track online activities:
1. Tracking Cookies
A cookie is a file that is your browser. It contains a user ID, session ID, and other useful information. It helps sites function properly, and it also saves your password and other details, so you don’t have to repeat basic tasks for sites you visit most often. Cookies are unique for each website – meaning they can only be read by the website they belong to.
Websites download cookies on your browser, but they also download cookies from advertisers that you don’t know about. The cookie can then be read by any website that contains ads from that advertiser. This way, they can see what you search for online and other online activities.
2. Tracking Pixels
A tracking pixel is a relatively newer way to track user’s online activities. It is a small one-pixel dot or an object inserted into a website or in the HTML code of the email. It contains a code triggered as soon as the user clicks on the mail or the website.
The tracking pixel gives each user a unique ID and tracks online activities, the device you use, your browser, your location, and the websites you visit. That’s a lot of information!
3. Browser fingerprinting
Last, but not least, we have another technique browsers use to log data called browser fingerprinting. This technique is used for logging a lot of useful information like the type of browser you use, plugins installed, language, operating systems, and more. This information may sound generic, but it is the key to identifying you. Because it allows ads to follow you online everywhere you go online.
Are third-party ad blockers safe to use?
No, we don’t recommend using third-party ad blockers because, unlike VPNs, they log user data. However, a VPN with an ad blocker offers security that third-party programs don’t. VPNs with ad blockers not only protect you from trackers, malware and advertisers but also secure your online traffic.
A VPN encrypts your online traffic and masks your real IP address, which prevents hackers, advertisers, and your ISP from knowing your real location, identity, and online activities. Unfortunately, no ad blocker offers these security and privacy features. When you enable the VPN, it automatically blocks ads.
That said, other types of third-party ad blockers are limited, and they don’t provide the security that a VPN does.
How to choose the best VPN with an ad Blocker
The VPNs mentioned above are the safest options in the market with built-in ad blockers. But keep in mind not all VPNs with an ad blocker are safe. So, here are some important considerations when you are choosing the best VPN with an ad blocker:
- Make sure the ad blocker offered by the VPN actually works and is not a scam.
- Look for a VPN that also offers malware detection so you can be protected from ads that install malicious apps on your device.
- Make sure the VPN you choose is compatible with a wide range of devices and allows simultaneous connections so you can protect multiple devices at the same time.
- Verify its money-back guarantee so you can try the VPN before actually buying it.
VPNs to avoid fake ad blockers
There are tons of VPNs in the market with fake ad blockers that don’t work at all. Here are some services that you should avoid using:
- PureVPN is a good VPN service, but it claims to have an ad blocker, but it doesn’t work, and you cannot find it in the app either. When contacted customer support, they confirmed that they don’t have one. So, they are knowingly spreading false information about their service.
- HolaVPN supposedly offers an ad blocker in its browser extension. Still, we don’t recommend using it because, in 2015, it was found selling user data and unused bandwidth to botnets, thus giving hackers access to user’s IP addresses.
Can I use a free VPN with an ad blocker?
You might find a free VPN with ad blockers or free ad-blocking tools online, but we don’t recommend using one because of safety issues and performance limitations.
Most free VPNs log user’s online activities and sell their private data to advertisers. This is a clear violation of the user’s right to privacy as you will be subjected to targeted ads. Even if you find a free VPN with an ad blocker, it will come with performance issues. For example, most free VPNs limit free data to a maximum of 10 GB per month, offering limited servers. Therefore, you will get extremely slow speeds which will make the VPN useless.
Similarly, most free Ad-blockers also don’t protect your data online like a VPN. Therefore, we recommend sticking to top-tier VPNs with ad blockers like Surfhark. You can try Surfshark free for 30 days using its money-back guarantee and enjoy an ad-free browsing experience.
How can I install a VPN with an ad blocker?
The best VPNs with ad blockers are easy to install on a wide range of devices. Follow these steps to install a VPN with an Ab Blocker:
Best VPNs with Ad blockers: FAQs
After testing these VPNs, we recommend Surfshark as the best VPN with an ad blocker for Android and iPhone devices. The mobile apps of Surfshark contain the CleanWeb feature, unlike most VPNs that offer limited features for mobile apps.
Surfshark is the best VPN with an ad blocker that works on all major browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and other browsers. During testing, its CleanWeb feature effectively blocked ads on these browsers, including Microsoft Edge.
It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can try Surfshark’s CleanWeb ad blocker free for 30 days. If you don’t like the service, you can cancel and get a refund.
Unfortunately, VPNs cannot help you block ads on Hulu because Hulu has advanced VPN detection features, and it prevents it from disabling ads on the site. As a result, you can access Hulu with VPNs but cannot disable ads. We could bypass geo-restrictions and access Hulu during testing, but its ad blocker was of no help.
However, you don’t have to worry about Hulu ads, as it is legitimate like YouTube, so that it won’t harm your device. You need to sit through commercials.
No, ExpressVPN doesn’t have an in-built ad blocker. But you can use third-party ad blockers with it if you want. ExpressVPN recommends some ad blockers that are safe to use. Or you can use Surfshark that has its own ad blocker.
The internet is getting cluttered with intrusive ads, trackers, and all sorts of malware and pop-ups. Go to any website, and your screen will be cluttered with ads everywhere in the background, which is distracting and annoying.
In this fight against advertisers, using one of the best VPNs with ad blockers is the only secure option.
Unlike third-party ad-blockers, VPNs don’t log any user activity, so when you are online, your data will be secured with military-grade encryption.
The three recommended VPNs above have powerful ad blocking and act as a great defense against annoying ads.