Adblock vs Adblock Plus – Which performs best?
The online experience can be a jangling, ad-filled mess if you don’t have good ad-blocking software running. With ads becoming more invasive and more annoying, ad blockers are a growing industry and have gone from being a convenience for power to users, to being an absolute necessity. Add the potential for malware injection from hacked or compromised ads and you have every reason to block them. Two of the biggest names out there right now are Adblock and Adblock Plus. Despite their nearly identical names, the two products are unrelated, although both do much the same thing in a very similar way.
In this article I’ll discuss both of these tools, putting them head to head. Hopefully, by the end you will have a good idea of which one will work best for you. So here is Adblock vs Adblock Plus – Which performs best?
Adblockers and their use
The use of software to block ads is more and more common all the time, with good reason. Ads are becoming more invasive, more annoying and are working harder to get your attention, all of which gets in the way of the content you’re trying to enjoy. However, many websites depend on ad revenue to survive and there is a school of thought that says ad blockers deny them that revenue. In my view, it isn’t the ad blockers that deny websites their revenue, it is the broken ad system itself. If websites hosted their own ads or had tighter control over what ads they displayed, there would be no such thing as ad blockers as they wouldn’t be necessary.
Instead, websites rely on third-party ad services that dynamically serve advertisements from a remote server. Those ads can be annoying, infected, annoying, compromised, annoying and irrelevant to the site itself. Hackers just love breaking into them an injecting their own malware-infested ads to be served on legitimate websites.
While the ad model remains so self-serving, ad blockers will continue to increase in popularity. Even if I didn’t mind pages loading slowly or flashing banners on every page, there is no way I am leaving my computer open to malware through an infected ad server.
Adblock vs Adblock Plus – Features
Adblock was originally inspired by Adblock Plus and was programmed by an individual rather than a collective like its contemporary. It began life as a Chrome extension before being made available to other browsers. Meanwhile, Adblock Plus was the first ‘proper’ ad blocking extension released. Initially only available Firefox, it quickly gained traction and is now available for all mainstream browsers. The extension is open source and was created by a community of coders who wanted a much cleaner browsing experience.
Both Adblock and Adblock Plus are very similar in look, feel and features. Each plugin offer whitelists, blacklists, counters, tracking control, infected domain warnings and more. In addition, both also allow ‘acceptable ads’ by default, along with blocks for Facebook and YouTube ads. Each blocker is sourced from the same ad filter, EasyList which is maintained by the people behind Adblock Plus. So if one extension blocks an ad, both will. Conversely, if one finds an ad acceptable, they both will.
Adblock has one feature advantage over Adblock Plus. In Adblock, you can right click in a web page element to block that element. If a particular ad gets through, you can right click on it and select block element. If the advertiser isn’t paying Adblock to ignore the ad, it will be blocked.
So which is best? Both are neck and neck really but I think Adblock edges it with the ability to block a page element. You will use it more than you might imagine.
Adblock vs Adblock Plus – Usability
To be successful, any piece of software has to be easy to use, intuitive and simple to understand. Adblock and Adblock Plus are all of these. Both extensions are quick to install, the default options are enough to get you started and you don’t actually have to do anything else to improve your browsing experience if you don’t want to. Both can be easily turned off by clicking the icon in the browser. Both can add exceptions, allow you to build entire whitelists, add sites to a blacklist and customize certain options.
Click the icon in the browser and both show you a decent amount of information and quick access to options. Adblock Plus looks more user friendly and shows you how many ads are blocked on the current page while Adblock does not. However, both are very simple to use.
Which is best for usability? Again, it’s tight between them but I think the UI for Adblock Plus is friendlier. While the options are buried a little deeper, the average user wouldn’t use them anyway.
Adblock vs Adblock Plus – Performance
Now we really get down to it. How do Adblock and Adblock Plus perform? Both are r bveasonably good at blocking the majority of ads. The results are muddied somewhat by the ‘acceptable ads’ situation. We know some companies pay both extensions to whitelist their ads. We also know that Google dodges these extensions somehow in Chrome so some ads still get through. This gets in the way slightly. However, both block the vast majority of ads, popups, text ads, flashing banners, video ads and pop-under ads.
In our tests, Adblock was slower in both Chrome and Firefox. The more tabs you have open, the slower they run and enabling and disabling Adblock while testing multiple tabs shows a slight but noticeable slowdown in browser speed. Adblock Plus copes better with multiple tabs and works very well in Firefox. The Chrome sideloading (or whatever) of ads slips them through occasionally but I don’t think that is the fault of either extension. Performance is good across the board and we experienced no noticeable slowdowns in our test browser even with 25 tabs open at once.
So which is best for performance? Adblock Plus. If you’re constantly using multiple tabs, you’ll need something that can handle the increased workload.
Adblock vs Adblock Plus – Conclusion
Any head to head battle like this Adblock vs Adblock Plus one is mainly subjective and this one certainly is. Both extensions work well. Both perform very similarly and both use the same lists to block or allow ads, so there really is little to choose between them. While it is annoying having to opt out of ‘acceptable ads’ both extensions make it simple and the same can be said for making any changes.
So which should you choose? That is up to you, but if like me, you use multiple tabs and care about speed, Adblock Plus has the edge.