Banner ads are almost universally reviled by Internet users as annoying and intrusive. Over the years, there have been many attempts to make banner ads less intrusive, but far-and-away the most popular (and successful) method has been through ad blocking programs.
The most popular of these programs is AdBlock, an extension available for browsers such as Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. Adblock, in conjunction with the AdBlock library, prevents banner ads from being displayed (and, in the Chrome and Firefox versions, even prevents ads from showing up in YouTube).
AdBlock is remarkably easy to install. All you need to do is go to the AdBlock Plus website and install it for your primary browser. Once you do so, the software will ask you if you also want to install the AdBlock library. Say yes — this will enable you to block just about every banner ad available.
Note: the contents of this article were up to date at the time of this writing.
Although it is a small application, AdBlock is full-featured. Whenever you click on the AdBlock button in your web browser, you will see a list of options such as:
* Block an ad on this page.
* Don’t run adblock on this page.
* Pause Adblock.
These features allow you to customize AdBlock, only running it on certain sites.
A Cautionary Note
It is worth mentioning that, for obvious reasons, AdBlock is very controversial in the web publishing community. On one side, people (rightfully) believe that banner ads have become too intrusive, and therefore it makes sense that users will want to block them.
On the other hand, some web publishers, such as Ars Technica (published by Condi Nast) have taken measures to prevent those who block banner ads from their site from looking at their articles. These publishers claim that such users are freeloading and, if everyone used such banner ads, such Web sites would not be able to exist in the first place.
Therefore, you should do the right thing. If there is a Web site that you frequent (especially one that you frequent multiple times per day), support it. Go into the AdBlock settings and “whitelist” (or allow ads from) the site. Visit CNN.com every day? Consider unblocking the ads — especially if they are fairly unintrusive.
On the balance, we highly recommend using AdBlock Plus to block Web sites. Doing so will help Web sites load faster, provide you with a much more aesthetically-pleasing experience on the web, and will limit your frustration with banner ads. Since it is so easy to set up, just about every Internet user could benefit from running AdBlock. This is especially true as an increasing number of banner ads contain malicious code that can harm your computer.
However, as mentioned previously, be a good web citizen. Do not block all banner ads, and if you find that you are constantly visiting a certain site, make sure that you whitelist it.
After all, the banner ads on many of your favorite Web sites are their primary revenue sources.