What do you use to block ads when you browse the internet?
October 28, 2004 12:41 PM   Subscribe

What do you use to block ads when you browse the internet? Does it ever erroneously block sites? Does it cost much, does it have special features? I'm looking for something to scrub the web clean - any/all platforms - without blocking innocent third parties.

I say any platform since many of my friends are asking me for advice on this, and probably a few in here are interested if you have found the perfect blocker. Personally I'm a panther gal, but lets spread the joy.
posted by dabitch to Computers & Internet (24 answers total)
Mozilla and Adblock. For some reason, I haven't gotten hip to Firefox like everyone else I know. Both are free.

Added bonus of Mozilla is that so many of the extra annoying "features" like curtains and weird shoshkeles are done in Active X, which doesn't exist in Mozilla.
posted by stet at 12:48 PM on October 28, 2004

"Flash Click to View" is the other killer Firefox (and probably Moz, too) extension for this purpose.

For a large amount of bang for buck (i.e., free, low effort) you could also use a hosts file to automatically dead-end requests to ad sites. But, then again, with Firefox, Adblock, Flash Click to View, I don't bother with this anymore.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:59 PM on October 28, 2004

Adblock in Firefox works great. It's more finely grained than the standard "block images from this site" feature that's built in. You can block specific directories and such. So if you're careful enough, you won't get false negatives.
posted by smackfu at 1:22 PM on October 28, 2004

Response by poster: Cheers!
What could I recommend people hooked on Norton Internet Security (but too lazy to tweak properly) to use instead? There has to be some alternative for these fine folks out there, even if they just plain won't change browsers? (personally I don't understand why they use it in the first place but maybe a NIS user here could enlighten me. Naturally I tell them to try Firefox and Moz all the time.)
posted by dabitch at 1:38 PM on October 28, 2004

Host file.
Works on all platforms. Free. Easy once you know how.
One of many references.
posted by TimeFactor at 2:23 PM on October 28, 2004

Whoops, I missed Zed_Lopez's post. Please disregard.
posted by TimeFactor at 2:27 PM on October 28, 2004

I use Privoxy on linux, and swear by it. There are builds on the download page for pretty much every kind of computer I've ever heard of too.
posted by Gamecat at 2:37 PM on October 28, 2004

What if all the ads are in an "ads" subdir of the site? That's where a hosts file doesn't work so great.
posted by smackfu at 3:00 PM on October 28, 2004

I rely on Opera (blocks all unrequested popups) and a hosts file. The combination eliminates about 90% of advertising.

Most ads are served up by one of the big adservers, so hosts files do well against them. Little private ads I don't care about so much.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:12 PM on October 28, 2004

Windows: Proxomitron
Linux: Mozilla's pop-up blocker and a .hosts file so far. Probably a squid blocking list soon. Or I might see if WINE can run proxomitron...
posted by krisjohn at 3:36 PM on October 28, 2004

For Safari: PithHelmet. V2 is $10 shareware, but earlier, less ambitious versions are still free.
posted by britain at 3:43 PM on October 28, 2004

I like avantbrowser.
posted by mcsweetie at 3:46 PM on October 28, 2004

Admuncher is far and away the best. Tiny, lightweight, insanely feature-rich, minutely configurable while easy to use, but not free. Give the trial a try, and you'll never go back. I haven't seen more than one or two ads a month in a couple of years.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:05 PM on October 28, 2004

Call me a lemming, but since upgrading to Service Pack 2, the built-in ad blocker for IE seems to work pretty well.
posted by swank6 at 4:15 PM on October 28, 2004

I second gamecat. I installed privoxy at work on the gateway and transparently proxy (using transproxy -- which is a pain to find!) everything through it.

It presently doesn't seem to screw up EXCEPT for Windows 98 updates, so I have it disabled temporarialy for now. Probaby just some new MS server that needs whitelisting.

It does more than block pop-ups, it "freezes" animated gifs, blocks flash/jpg/whatever ads, and it dynamically rewrites your pages to remove things like google ads, etc. :-)
posted by shepd at 4:28 PM on October 28, 2004

Response by poster: I just want to say thanks all. This is a very bookmark worthy thread, good input. :) privoxy freezes animated gifs? I'm so installing that on my mums machine.
posted by dabitch at 4:50 PM on October 28, 2004

It's by no means perfect, but I'm using a custom CSS file that sets to "display: none !important" a lot of ad hosts. The nice thing is that it's free, and works with all the browsers that I actually use.
posted by adamrice at 5:49 PM on October 28, 2004

I'm a big fan of the Google toolbar on IE. The WinXP Service Pack2 popup blocker works well, except on MSN and MSNBC. There are some pages, like online galleries, where popups are good, so on IE, it's useful to remember how to enable popups temporarily. Not only does Firefox block popups, but tabbed browsing is way better, esp. on MeFi, where I like to open new tabs for links. Firefox, and other non-IE browsers, are also significantly more secure.
posted by theora55 at 6:27 PM on October 28, 2004

Dude! That's your hosts file? That's the one I use on all my PCs. You rock.
posted by krisjohn at 7:43 PM on October 28, 2004

Adblock is better than using a hosts file, for the simple reason that Adblock removes the image/flash element entirely, compressing space and making the page more compact and appealing. Usually it's like there was never an ad there at all.
posted by neckro23 at 8:01 PM on October 28, 2004

"Adblock is better than using a hosts file"

This is not an either/or decision. Use both.
posted by krisjohn at 10:41 PM on October 28, 2004

A second cheer for skallas' host file!
posted by clockwork at 10:06 AM on October 29, 2004

skallas's hosts file is the One True Hosts File.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:28 AM on October 29, 2004

posted by erebora at 3:21 PM on October 29, 2004

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