How exactly do Ads and AdBlock work

Get started with Adblock Plus

What is Adblock Plus?

Adblock Plus is the most popular browser extension for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Android. Its main benefit is to remove all intrusive ads: YouTube video ads, Facebook ads, banners, pop-ups, pop-unders, background ads, etc.

How does Adblock Plus work?

In order to be able to block advertising, Adblock Plus needs so-called filters to be told which requests should be blocked. By default, Adblock Plus comes without any filters, but it suggests a filter list the first time it is started. With these filters, it can block specific requests from websites, usually requests to deliver an advertisement. Blocked advertisements often leave a blank space or "ad label". Adblock Plus can nevertheless remove these elements with a functionality called "element-hiding": Adblock can remove these elements from the website based on certain characteristics.

Install Adblock Plus

For Firefox

If you are using Mozilla Firefox, simply click the install button on the Firefox installation page. Firefox will then ask you to allow Adblock Plus to install the add-on: click "Allow".

Firefox will then start installing our ad blocker and ask you to confirm that you trust the author. Click Install Now to add Adblock Plus to your Firefox browser.

You are now protected against all kinds of annoying advertisements.

For Chrome

Google Chrome allows two ways to install our ad block software. The easiest way is through our website, the second through the Chrome Web Store.

Installation via our website in two steps

Just go to our Chrome installation page and click the install button to run the ad blocker

Adblock Plus will be installed in your browser. If the following message appears, the installation was successful:

Installation via the Google Chrome Web Store in three steps

If you want to install Adblock Plus from the Chrome Web Store, click here to open Adblock Plus. The following window will open our adblock for Chrome:

In this window click on the blue "Add" button in the upper right corner. After clicking on the button, the following pop-up will open in which you can add Adblock Plus to your browser by clicking on "Add".

Once that's done, you'll be protected against all kinds of annoying online advertising by the world's most popular ad blocker.

For Opera

To install Adblock Plus for Opera, go to the Opera Add-ons page and click "Add to Opera". You will then see the following pop-up:

After confirming the installation by clicking on "Install", Adblock Plus will block all advertisements in your Opera browser.

On Android

Adblock Plus is also available for Android devices. It is important to note that there are a few restrictions on non-rooted devices. To install Adblock Plus you must first allow installation from unknown sources:

  • Open "Settings" and go to the "Unknown Origin" option (either under "Applications" or "Security", depending on the device)
  • Tap on the checkbox and confirm the message with "OK"

To download Adblock Plus for Android, go to the Android installation page, download and open the app.

Once Adblock Plus has been installed, enabled and configured, all types of advertisements should be blocked.

First steps

Choosing the right filter list

As described earlier, Adblock Plus needs filter lists in order to block advertisements. On its own, Adblock Plus can only see the website to be loaded, but must be told by the filter lists which elements should be blocked. When you install Adblock Plus for the first time, a filter list is automatically suggested for you based on the language settings of your browser.

There are two basic lists, EasyList and Fanboy's List. these two lists block ads from the most popular (mostly English) websites. However, these lists do not block advertisements from lesser known country-specific websites. If you come from Germany, for example, you must also subscribe to the German filter list. In this case "EasyList Germany + EasyList". You can find an overview of all lists here.

It's important to mention that you shouldn't add too many filter lists to Adblock Plus. This could slow down the ad blocker and thus also the surfing on the Internet. Basically you can say that you shouldn't use similar filter lists (e.g. choose either EasyList OR Fanboy's List).

You can also use filter lists to protect yourself against tracking, malware, social media tracking, etc. Read more about it here.

How to add a filter list

If you want to remove a filter list, check out this tutorial.

In Firefox

Select Firefox >> Add-ons (for Mac OS X / Linux, "Tools" from the menu bar >> "Add-ons"), which will open the Firefox Add-ons Manager

On Windows:
On Mac OS X / Linux

Adblock Plus can then be found in the Add-ons Manager in the "Extensions" tab.

Select "Settings" to access the Adblock Plus profile and click on "Filter Settings":

The Adblock Plus filter settings menu then opens.

Click on "Add filter subscription" and open the drop-down menu for the filter lists to add new / more filters. Select the list you want to subscribe to and Adblock Plus will activate it automatically. This list shows only the most popular and recommended filters. You can see more filter lists here.

In Google Chrome

To add a filter list in Google Chrome, select "Settings" from the menu in the top right corner. The menu is located next to the symbol with the three horizontal bars.

Select "Settings" from the drop-down menu. Then click on "Extensions" on the left side of the screen. A list with the extensions for Google Chrome opens, where Adblock Plus can also be found.

Under its description you will find the link "Options". Click this link to open the Adblock for Chrome menu.

In the Adblock Plus options menu there is an overview of all installed and activated filter lists. To add a new filter list to the ad blocker, select "Add filter subscription".

A drop-down menu appears with the most popular and suggested filter lists. Select a filter list that you want to activate and click on "Add". If the filter you want is not in the list, go to this page.

In Opera

To add a filter list in Opera, click the "Menu" button (for Mac OS X / Linux, "Tools"), select "Extensions" >> "Manage Extensions". A list of the currently installed extensions opens, including Adblock Plus:

To get to the filter settings, click on the small tool symbol in the upper right corner. This opens the Adblock Plus options menu, in which you can add filter lists.

Click on "Add Filter Subscription" and a drop-down menu with the most popular and suggested filter lists will appear.

Select a filter list and click "Add".

On Android

It is not possible to select multiple filter lists on Android. To change a filter subscription, open the Adblock Plus app and select "Filter Subscription". A menu opens with which you can change your filter subscription.

Deactivate Adblock Plus on frequently used pages

Many websites are dependent on advertising income. If you visit a website regularly, consider allowing advertising on that page. You do that by going to this page and clicking the Adblock Plus icon in the toolbar. In the menu one then selects "Deactivate: on ..." by clicking on the corresponding on / off switch (this selection can be undone at any time by clicking on the same menu item again). Then click the Refresh button or use another method to return to the website.

If you select this menu item, a filter such as, for example, is added to the filter list. More information about such exception rules can be found in Creating a filter for Adblock Plus.

You can also deactivate or reactivate Adblock Plus on all domains together. Instructions can be found here: Switch Adblock Plus off and on again on all websites

Switch Adblock Plus off and on again on all websites

In Firefox

To be able to deactivate or reactivate Adblock Plus in Mozilla Firefox for all websites together, first go to the "Add-ons Manager", which you can access under "Firefox" >> "Add-ons" (for Mac OS X / Linux, select You "Tools" from the menu bar >> "Add-ons"). Here you will find an overview of all currently installed add-ons. Find Adblock Plus and just click the associated on / off switch.

For more information on how to remove add-ons, see the related Firefox page.

It's important to mention that Adblock Plus remembers your preferences. If you install ABP again at a later point in time, you do not have to reconfigure your settings again. However, if you do not want this, delete the directory "adblockplus" in your user profile (how to find the user profile). You should also open about: config and reset all settings that begin with "extensions.adblockplus" (to reset, click the entry with the right mouse button and select "Reset" in the context menu).

In Google Chrome

To be able to deactivate or reactivate Adblock Plus in Chrome for all websites together, go to "Settings" in the menu in the upper right corner. Then select "Extensions" on the left. Find Adblock Plus and click the On / Off switch to the right of it.

In Opera

To uninstall Adblock Plus for Opera, click the "Menu" button (for Mac OS X / Linux, "Tools" in the menu bar) and select "Extensions" >> "Manage Extensions". This opens the menu for the extensions. Find Adblock Plus, click on "Uninstall" and confirm this in the following dialog.

On Android

Adblock Plus for Android can be uninstalled like any other app you've downloaded.

  1. In the menu, go to Settings> Applications> Manage applications (on devices with Android 4.x, Settings> Apps).
  2. Go through the list until you find the app that you want to uninstall.
  3. Tap the app you want to uninstall.
  4. Tap on "Uninstall".

Typical problems

What to do if Adblock Plus blocks too much?

It can happen that a website does not work properly because of Adblock Plus. Usually, this is not caused by a bug in Adblock Plus, but rather a problem with the filters (or filter subscription) you are using. These filters tell Adblock Plus to block something that shouldn't be blocked. It can be checked by temporarily turning off Adblock Plus. If this "solves" the problem, a filter is almost always responsible. Please report incorrect filters using the "Report errors on this page" function, which will automatically collect the important data for the website:

When asked about the type of error, please select "Adblock Plus is blocking too much":

Your bug report will automatically be sent to the authors of the filter list you are using. Please understand that the authors of the filter lists cannot answer every one of the many filter reports. Your bug report is more likely to be noticed if it contains additional information that makes the problem more obvious and easier to reproduce.

What to do if Adblock Plus doesn't block a banner ad?

If you have found a banner ad that Adblock Plus is not blocking, you should first check that you have subscribed to the correct filter list. E.g. a filter list for French websites cannot be expected to reliably block advertisements on Bulgarian websites as well - you should subscribe to a Bulgarian filter list for this task. However, if it is the correct filter list, the author of that filter list is simply unaware of the problem. You should notify him with the function "Report errors on this website", this will automatically collect the important data for the website:

When asked about the type of error, please select "Adblock Plus will not block an ad":

Your bug report will automatically be sent to the authors of the filter list you are using. Please understand that the authors of the filter lists cannot answer every one of the many filter reports. Your bug report is more likely to be noticed if it contains additional information that makes the problem more obvious and easier to reproduce.

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