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September 29, 2020

Privacy Tip of the Week: Use an Ad Blocker for Browsing

Posted by Rhiannon

Buy now! Sign up today! Pop-up, pop-up, pop-up. There’s no doubt about it. Online ads are annoying. More than that, they’re actually dangerous to online privacy and safety. Digital advertisements often come packed with cookies that track users across websites and sell gathered information to third parties. Some ads also contain malware and viruses. Use an ad blocker for increased safety online and more.

  • What are ad blockers?
  • Browse safely
  • Stop tracking
  • Save money
  • Load pages faster
  • Are there cons of ad blockers?

What Are Ad Blockers?

Like the name suggests, ad blockers prevent advertisements from loading on the web pages you visit. Most of them come in the form of browser extensions, meaning you install them in the web browser you use. There are plenty of options out there (a few popular ones include AdBlock Plus and uBlock Origin), so you can choose one that works for you.

Browse Safely

Thousands of websites offer advertising space but not all of those websites vet the people buying that space. As a result, online attackers can create ads loaded with malware that may infect your devices if you accidentally click them. The easiest way of avoiding this issue is to use an ad blocker, which removes potentially dangerous ads from the web pages you visit altogether.

Stop Tracking

Many ads serve a greater purpose than convincing you to buy things online. A lot of them actually track your activities across websites and collect data about what you do. This data includes the websites and products you look at, the videos you watch, and your other digital habits. Once your data is gathered, the people behind tracking ads can use it for even more targeted advertising or sell it to third parties. If you use an ad blocker, you can prevent invasive tracking from happening in the first place.

Save Money

The more elements a website has to load, the more internet usage you incur. Because ads are added elements, they can drain your internet quickly, especially when you use mobile data. By using an ad blocker, you can remove extra elements and make your data last longer, thus saving you money.

Load Pages Faster

Extra elements on a web page also cause that page to load a lot slower. With an ad blocker, extra text, images, and code won’t take up any computing power. The web page will have the ability to focus on loading the content you actually want, without annoying extras. Not to mention, the websites you visit will also look cleaner and less cluttered.

Are There Cons of Ad Blockers?

Like with any technology, there are pros and cons. A few of the cons of ad blockers include:

  • Some ad blockers accidentally identify real web features as ads, and block them. When this happens, some websites might not work correctly. You can get around this by turning your blocker off for specific websites, if you know it causes problems.
  • Although an ad blocker prevents ads from collecting and selling your data, a few of the blockers themselves may be tracking you and selling your data.
  • We tend to trust ad blockers to block all ads. However, some big companies may pay blockers to whitelist their ads, defeating the purpose of the blocker altogether.
  • Finally, some websites rely on the income they generate from ads. If everyone uses ad blockers, they can’t generate income and may shut down, which poses an ethical question regarding the use of ad blockers. 

Ad blockers are an excellent tool for preventing tracking online. Combine blockers with HotBot VPN for the ultimate private browsing experience.

Posted by Rhiannon

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