Well, I have NordVPN with it's Cybersec ad blocking and also run Safari with UBlock and while it seems to block some ads, a bunch more seem to appear. So to welcome in 2021, let's see how to figure out how effective these are. I normally use open source blockers like UBlock origin or KaBlock! just because they might be safer 🙂 Note that UBlock is actually now owned by AdBlock and they allow ads through and are closed source. So even looking at things like Tom's Guide and Lifewire, you have to be careful about the ad blockers themselves, so I start with pure open source and then go to commercial ones as a last resort.
As an aside, you will see getting a good Safari blocker is hard. They are limiting the number of rules that can be run in Safari so that the best blocking happens on Chrome or Firefox. You are warned (and it's kind of sad they did this). And it could be down to Firefox if Chrome goes ahead and limits ad blocking (for obvious reasons).
Chrome or Firefox with uBlock Origin
- Chrome with UBlock Origin. Like most things that are Ad Block Checking with Can You Block It which throws up horrible ads like Interstitials and various JPEGs that are nasty. UBlock Origin is only available on Firefox and Chrome (not Safari as they stopped working on Webkit based browsers) and it is outstanding. It block everything in the Extreme and the Normal tests. The only thing it didn't work on was the Adblocker detected warning.
- Safari with kaBlock! Because uBlock Origin isn't available, what are the choices on Safari, well with kaBlock, is also open source but less aggressive that UBlock Origin. It doesn't have a block list, so you have to update the application itself from the Mac App Store for this to work. It is definitely less effective that uBlockOrigin. On the simple test, it allowed the interstitial and all the jpegs banners so it isn't great. ON the extreme test, it also allowed in page push ads, direct link and pop under ads, but did block video ads and lock the JPEGs on the Extreme but not the Simple test.
- Safari with KaBlock and NordVPN CyberSec. NordVPN also has ad blocking at the VPN level, so when you add it to KaBlock!, the interstitial ads are blocked by CyberSec and 2 of the five banner JPEGs, so it does more than KaBlock and it also blocks the Page Push but the ads before videos still happen still not the direct link ads.
Net, net if you are surfing the web a lot, using Firefox or Chrome with uBlock Origin is probably the best choice. With Safari, KaBlock with NordVPN is decent but not perfect in the pure open source world for Safari.
Safari use Ghostery Lite
Now if you open up to the non-open source systems then you can try on Safari. The most confusing thing is that there are three different products with nearly identical names, Ad Block Plus by Eyeo, Ad Block by Betafish and Ad Block Pro by Crypto
- Safari with AdBlock Plus. You do have to go into settings and turn off
Allow some non-intrusive adsand then you get blocked interstitial, and all the banner ads which was better than KaBlock. The only thing in the simple test it didn't handle with the "disable adblocker warning". In the advanced test, it was about the same as KaBlock it didn't handle the webpage pop-up ads nor the pop-under ads nor the direct link, but did handle everything else.
- Safari with Ghostery Lite. Ok this one was similar to AdBlock Plus, it does block the interstitial but not the disable adblock, and it does handle all the banner ads (unlike Kablock). On the extreme test, it does block the push notifications, page push, pop under ads, so worked better than AdBlock Plus. Part of this could be the setup is more complex, it loads five Safari Extensions (probably to get around the 50K rules per extension limit Apple has).
- Safari with AdGuard. It uses the same trick as Ghostery with lots of extensions for specific rule sets. It blocks interstitials, and banner ads but not the disable ad blocker. It did block the interstitial, video pre-ads, on the extreme test but did not block the pop under or the direct link. So Ghostery Lite was a little bit better