Adblock v. Adblock Plus: two Chrome extensions compared

Chrome Extensions are small programs that modify and enhance the functionality of the Chrome browser. The two most popular extensions listed in the Webstore are “AdBlock” and “Adblock Plus” – but which one of the two is the better one? This post will explore the differences between the two ad blocking extensions.

[Editor’s note: this review was written by Tom from chrome-plugins.org, a non-profit project that features reviews of extensions, apps and themes for the Google Chrome browser.]

AdBlock was created by an independent developer for Chrome and Safari when Adblock Plus was still only available for Firefox. He claims to have been inspired by the Adblock Plus movement but is not related to it. Instead he is working on AdBlock for profits from donations as well as paid clones users can purchase voluntarily to support him. Both adblock extensions provide exactly the functionality you expect from them, all ads are reliably blocked on every website. The extensions themselves don’t block anything – the unwanted elements such as advertisements are defined by filter lists.

Adblock Plus for Google Chrome was created by the Adblock Plus community, an open-source movement that is supported by many voluntary contributors who aim to make the internet better for everyone by eliminating bad advertisements. It was originally created for Firefox and was only recently ported as a beta version to Google Chrome. With more than 125 million downloads it is themost popular browser addon in the world.

Both AdBlock and Adblock Plus use the same filter lists that were created for Firefox Adblock Plus. While this works fine on banners and layer-ads, blocking ads embedded in videos is not possible due to a limitation in the blocking capability of the Chrome browser. Adblock Plus has implemented a workaround to that limitation which, unfortunately, only works on Youtube.com and not on other video sites or embedded videos.

While both extensions work almost on a same level, a more detailed analysis is needed in order to find out which one of them is the better adblocker:

Adblock Adblock Plus
Installation process 8 10 Small deduction of points for AdBlock due to the fact that an intrusive window is opened during the installation that asks for a donation to the developer
User interface 9 7 Adblock Plus is still in beta and so far only has a rather minimalistic interface
Speed 8 10 AdBlock slows down the browser when multiple tabs are opened
Blocking banner ads 10 10 Both are using the same filter lists and hardly miss any ad
Blocking video ads 4 7 Video ads often cannot be blocked due to a limitation in the WebKit engine Chrome is based on. Adblock Plus performs significantly better on youtube.com
Creating own filters 9 7 Both provide the functionality to easily create own blocking rules;AdBlock makes it slightly more convenient to select unwanted elements on a website
Total 48 51

 
Conclusion: In conclusion, both extensions are efficient adblockers, although not as good as the Firefox one. Adblock Plus is based on the same code as the Firefox version and therefore is little bit more sophisticated as it doesn’t negatively impact the performance of the browser and works more reliably on youtube.com. You can install the Adblock Plus extension here.


 
 
 
Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
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  • J.L.

    Good article, but I notice a mistake. Adblock Plus is not based on the Firefox version, but on AdThwart.

  • Ellison

    None of these two really “block” ads. They only hide them. Infact, Chrome can’t block adblock due to it add-on system which is really js injection.

  • Ché

    @Ellison – Indeed, these only hide ads in Chrome..

    I strongly recommend using an up-to-date HOSTS file,
    as this will effectively prevent ads from loading.
    -> info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_(file)

    Get a good base HOSTS file here:
    http://msmvps.com/blogs/hostsnews/default.aspx

    + Additional entries can be added with apps like
    SpyBot Search & Destroy
    http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html
    and Advanced Systemcare Free
    http://www.iobit.com/advancedsystemcareper.html

    By the way: Comodo Dragon is a privacy-safe version of Google Chrome
    -> http://www.comodo.com/home/browsers-toolbars/browser.php

    Enjoy! =)

  • http://carbonize.co.uk Carbonize

    Firstly I’d like to point out that Chrome is not the only browser to have extensions despite how the first line of this article makes it sound.

    Second Ellison is correct. Googles overly paranoid security means that extensions for Chrome can never be as powerful as the extensions for Firefox are. Chrome extensions are not allowed to touch anything under the hood so ad blockers can only hide the ads and not prevent the browser from downloading them which makes this pointless if one of the reasons you are blocking ads is to try and save bandwidth.

    @J.L. if you go to the Adblock Plus extension page and click Develpers Website you will see it is being made by the same people that make Adblock Plus for Firefox.

  • Fran

    I tried both, and for Chrome I think Adblock works better. About the author asking for donation during installation, there’s nothing bad about that. The man is trying to make a living for himself and his family and I think that is not something to put on balance when you do the compararison.

  • Steve

    Since I switched to Adblock Plus my Chrome not once became slower like it often did with AdBlock.

    Adblock Plus is still in beta but already a lot better then “AdBlock”. I think the only reason people are using the copycat is because they think it is the same as the Firefox version.

  • http://mynimi.net/ Nimi

    Nimi Cleanser
    -basically works out of the box
    -uses kind of heuristic approach
    -checks even scripts
    -configurable patterns – not list based
    -optimized for speed

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gjplafconmhcbbkeebpkokelkghjglec

  • Crepe

    The posts above claim that Chrome cannot block ads, but this is not correct. Apple (largely at the instigation of the AdBlock developer) added content blocking to the WebKit code base a year ago, and this was quickly taken up by Google Chrome. It’s true that it’s still less powerful than the blocking on Firefox (it doesn’t work on content downloaded by plugins, hence the Youtube trouble) but it does work in the vast majority of cases.

  • Dudeguy

    Does Nimi Cleanser block graphic ads or simply hide them, as Crepe is suggesting is possible in Chrome?

  • http://mynimi.net/ Nimi

    *Dudeguy, regarding Your questions – Nimi Cleanser process webpage on:
    -node creation
    -before load and on page load (two different events, with small differences)
    with events processed before passing further, by so depending on which mechanism identified malicious content (for example size detection requires object to already have comparable bounds) those in theory should be removed before generated. As I recall we tested that on scripts – with positive results.

    For further theoretical background – experimental API has some functions allowing control over outgoing requests – filtering those. Still that wouldn’t defend against all threats as many malicious content can be just embedded into page.

    Using opportunity – there is already new version, shield based.

    Best regards,
    Samantha
    Nimi projects

  • http://www.godotmedia.com/ Godot

    Well written. I am glad they included comparisons between Adblock and Adblock Plus.

  • SnarkAttack

    When I finally got around to using Chrome, it was basically because Firefox–v4&5–got SO bogged down. I open a lot at once. I like my page to STOP reloading, which I’ve noticed Chrome is constantly doing–so frustrating–but I digress.

    Been using Adblock Plus (Ads were yesterday is how I know which is which!) since the Fanboys list got tweaked to block the right material–it’s the one I use to this day, though there are others like Easy Script that are supposed to be fine and if I ever go to China sites, where I probably won’t recognize ads unless they’re flashing around, I like having the option of national variations.

    I use Chrome for its SPEED. That said, being spoiled on ABP with Firefox, man, having febreze and zyrtec and crap advertised made me go bonkers. Going onto quite a slew of TV stations, I’ve noticed plenty of them have managed to bypass the ability to block their ads, ugh. Good thing I dislike 99.999% of TV (Jon Stewart would totally be worth ads :P)

    My solution is simple enough: Chrome for YouTube (as long as I don’t load much–it gets stupid “wait” vs “kill pages” things toooo often and when I browse, I usually have nothing but the browser and maybe notepad if I’m jotting down quick thoughts or whatever. If I open a browser while working, I kill it after I’m done. I like not constantly using memory and bandwidth for stuff I’m not doing. Old school habits die hard (late 80s through entire 90s era old school)… Firefox gets almost everything else. If something’s super important and not working well on one, I’ll swap, but here, I’m on Firefox; a YT watch later list is hovering in Chrome. I wish Chrome would allow us to decide more because it IS faster, significantly, for me, but alas, I’m stuck with the system resource hog of Firefox a bit too often. What can ya do? I AM going to go check out that host info… might be useful. Thanks to the one who suggested it and linked to it :)

    Cheers to all! I don’t mind the popups when they ask for a donation as long as it is not every browser load etc (download helper would open a tab and do all sorts of junk I got sick of in about 2 days’ time–I like things to sit down and shut up until I make them do something :))

  • didyomama

    if it doesn’t block hulu ads, it’s worthless. so f**k adblock

    • Samer

      @ didyomama: see here; this one will block video ads, even from Hulu

  • Pingback: 20 Amazing Chrome Extensions for Librarians

  • B.S.

    This is not a comparison. It’s an ad about adblock plus, which is based on adthwart and which sucked bad. Adblock plus even though it’s open source is nowhere near Adblock. I tried them both and using Adblock for years although i would like to use Adblock plus if it was working like it worked at Firefox. Although i must say that both plugins still can’t stop ads from downloading sometimes.

  • Kovarsky Kirill

    Thank you for the analyse, i prefer adblock plus for it’s opensource property and performance with many tabs.

  • Kokain

    I used them both for less than a year and while I thought it’s enjoyable experience not seeing the adverts, the guys above me are right, it does not exactly block just hides. My main motivation to leave both of them is because of the new whitelisting which allowed small adverts to work by default. As soon as I installed the good old AdMuncher, Chrome was flying again and sites started opening much quicker than before. It also takes less memory in task manager compared to either ABP or Adblock inside chrome manager. AdMuncher currently takes 9367k! I bet you the other two can’t hit anything below 20k.

    Try AdMuncher I highly recommend it.

  • beastmaster

    I really want to ask that installing these add ons really block advertising from loading or just hide them as i found while using AdBlock Plus on Google Chrome the pages load faster and without it the same page loads with little bit of delay,so please clarify does installing these extensions really saves bandwidth or not.

  • CF

    ABP doesnt block ads anymore. The author accepted money from the ad companies and is whitelisting the ads.

    • hi

      Only if you have “allow some non-intrusive ads” checked in the settings.

  • Adrian

    @ CF Wrong info, as my ABP still works great! What’s your source for the rumours?

  • JoerKun

    Sure cleaned up this website, :) those annoying hover over text adds are the worst! You can’t even read an article, kind of Ironic being about ads it was flooded with them. :(

    • Samer

      @ JoerKun: I know, those ARE the worst! ;)

  • Reading

    Adblock, as of right now, is better than Adblock Plus. Look at Adblock’s update list for version 2.5. It can now block ads in all videos, including youtube, and Hulu. It also can block ads in all flash games. It claims it is now twice as fast than before and uses less memory. It added a toolbar to allow customization of adblock filters. Also, ads are now blocked from downloading, instead of just being removed afterwards.

  • J

    Adblock Plus for Chrome is simple and lightweight. I trust it more as it’s now being taken care of by the ABP project. “Adblock” is not terrible by any means but it’s just one man doing his best. I’ve never found Adblock to be quite as good but as they use the same blocklists it’s mostly personal choice.

  • Bill

    Does AdBlock actually prevent ads from downloading?
    Yes! Ad scripts, images, and Flash are not sent to your computer, saving you bandwidth.

    http://code.google.com/p/adblockforchrome/wiki/FrequentlyAskedQuestions#Does_AdBlock_actually_prevent_ads_from_downloading?

  • To Samer

    Dear Samer, please update the article. People reading may not go to the bottom of the comments section to find out that ads in all videos are blocked and that ads aren’t downloaded at all, saving bandwidth.

  • pradafang

    You’re forgetting one VERY important thing.

    Adblock has a “pause” option, while adblock plus does not. It only has an “enabled for this site” option (and so does adblock).

    Basically, the fact that you can enable/disable adblock much more easily than adblock plus (which requires you to enter the Chrome settings to enable it again) are what made me choose adblock over ABP.

    If adblock lost 2 points for the installation process (which, to be honest, most users will only need to do once per machine), it wins 100 more over ABP due to them lacking a simple “pause” feature.

    • Read That Fucking Manual

      but you just have to click on the ABP button in your banner to deactivate it or reactivate it. So it’s like a Pause button, right?

  • Luke Lnx

    Check the “Conclusion” last sentence, “… You can install the Adblock Plus extension here.” <– LoL. How do I remove this 'ad'?

    • Samer Kurdi

      (?) This link is not an ad, it is a link that you transports you to the page where you can install the Chrome extension.

  • Anonymous

    I just installed AdBlock and it does indeed disable ads in videos. The original article should be updated. However, hulu does not like its ads to be disabled so you have to Pause AdBlock to get hulu to continue to play. Meh. It still works well on Facebook and Twitter. Have not noticed any difference in speed and I always have multiple tabs open because I have a short attention span.

  • Ben

    I find it harsh that AdBlock was redacted points for asking for a donation once immediately after its installed, you never see it again ever. If that page never came up he would pretty much probably loose 90% of his donations since nobody will know they can and should donate.

    What makes it worse is that both software bring up a page after installation, one just has a donation part on it. So they both are equally in your face(more like not in your face) but they still got equal marks?

    • pradafang

      Exactly, even though AdBlock Plus lacks a simple but useful “pause” function that AdBlock does have, they don’t lose points. But OMG! A developer asking for a donation ONCE loses points for that even though the program (you know, the thing that matters…) is actually better. It’s not like wikipedia that asks for donations every two days or so, they ask ONCE.

      • Solomon

        For ABP you just click on the logo and it’s disabled. You re-click on it and it’s re-enabled. -> ABP does have a pause button.

        The fact is that ABP does allow “acceptable ads” by default, and it’s a negative point. On the other hand, you just need to uncheck “allow acceptable ads”.

        On the other hand, AB’ developer heavily asks for a donation for having ported a free, popular and opensource program. Highly questionable. (even if he claims he has stopped working to spend his entire life maintaining a single extension. I do believe he stopped working, though).

        Both adblockers are maintained by greedy ppl: Adblock draws on your sympathy; ABP draws on your lazyness.

        I prefer the second one since I find it easier to overcome. But it’s a matter of choice.

        • Message From Xenu

          AdBlock isn’t a port of Adblock Plus for Firefox, it’s a an entirely different extension with a similar name. That would seem to tip the scale in AdBlock’s favour.

        • waraji

          I have been using AB for years and yes, he asks for a donation ONCE. You say he asks for a donation “heavily” ???

          It is OK to have some sympathy.

          I’ll bet though that you are happy when you get the adblocker installed and blocking the ads. Eh?

          Why do people complain about free stuff that someone else spent hard work on?

          That sounds like a degree of “greed” too !

        • Chris

          Yeah you’re right the creators of FREE ad blocker extensions are greedy. Solomon you should probably go find some ad blocker that you can purchase somewhere… you wouldn’t want to support the greedy people by using their FREE extensions…

    • http://fuzzy76.net/ Håvard Pedersen

      When one of the sections is about “installation”, everything in there is about stuff that happens once.

    • Ellis Meret

      Agreed. The page wasn’t even slightly intrusive. Installing was as easy as a couple clicks (literally, for once) and then a gracious note asking those who can afford to give, for a small donation of their choice in size (also rewarded with several fun little bonuses he created). Frankly I was impressed by the page, and it only came up once. Strange that the author even mentioned it.
      I have both extensions installed. I was searching around to see if they can conflict with each other. Seems redundant, I know, but I wasn’t sure what the differences and functionality were like.

  • http://aardling.com Stijn V.

    Short question: what would be the consequences of using them both at the same time?

    • http://secureweb.persianblog.ir/ Peaceful1

      It will slow down $ crash more often & block unexpected stuff

    • Forkingham Melle

      i have been doing so, no crash, no slowing and very much 100% adds gone

    • Hardy Stevenson

      You dont need both. It also depends on which browser you use.More add-ons can
      create slower loading especially on a slower connection. You can use both but why?
      Its either or….

  • CtV

    Two very good reasons to use anythng other than ABP

    1. ABP has a partnership-program for advisers – Pay and you are whitelisted.

    2. http://chrome-plugins.org/ belongs toTill falda who is co-owner of AdBlockPlus. It was his own employee who wrote this article!!

    • Hi

      Only if you have “allow some non-intrusive ads” checked in the settings does it whitelist anything.

  • Felix

    Hi, I just read in a German newspaper (Sueddeutsche.de) that AdBlock Plus has contracts with companies and does NOT filter out “acceptable” ads by those companies. For that service they get money. And if the journalist is correct – and they mostly are – the process of which ads are “acceptable” is highly intransparent and very often the ads are difficult to detect as they are integrated into the text. AdBlock Plus is paid for the service, says the newspaper. If that is true it is a scandal, I think.

    This is why I checked for comparisons between AdBlock and AdBlock Plus and found this blog. I am really happy that I installed AdBlock. I think it is more than justified to ask for some donation – if you are really working for free. In the light of this, I would deduct at least 10 points from AdBlock Plus because it does NOT filter out all the ads but shows some of them. However, I do not want to criticize the author as these “acceptable” ads are – according to the newspaper – relatively new. I assume it was not an issue when the author wrote the article.

    Can someone confirm this who is actually using AdBlock Plus?

    • Open your eyes

      Yes. But you can uncheck the box “Display acceptable Ads”.

      On the other side, no it is NOT acceptable for the “adblock developper” to ask for money. All he did was to port opensource, free, popular software early to a new platform (still leeching their blocklists and the majority of the code), and then taking a close name to let ppl think you are the one and asking for money? it’s code-jaking.

      What if I would take all the Firefox code, name it “Firefox PLUS” and then suggesting you should give me some money… there is some fallacy in this.

      (OMG 35$ for an adblocker! are you SURE??? Firefox is free, Noscripts suggests only 5$… wake up, HE DID NOT DO IT BY HIMSELF!)

      • Message From Xenu

        Gundlach didn’t “port” Adblock Plus, AdBlock was written entirely from scratch. It would have been impossible to port the Firefox extension to Chrome, anyway–the internals of Webkit and Gecko are far too different. (Adblock Plus for Chrome’s code derives from AdThwart.)

        The only thing AdBlock shares with Adblock Plus is its filter syntax, and it would have been absurd to devise a wholly new filter syntax when ABP’s worked well enough and a great many filter lists had already adopted it.

    • Nix_Nightbird

      All I know is that AdBlock Plus allows little nag banners from some sites to come up at the top of the screen for me. These are basically window-wide strips at the top of a web page that say “We know you’re using AdBlock Plus, please consider not blocking the ads on our page.”

      AdBlock doesn’t do this. It blocks the ads on the page AND blocks the annoying “please don’t block OUR ads” nag bars.

  • JD

    i just use both extensions.

    • Forkingham Melle

      me too

  • Mike0001

    This is out of date, since Adblock Plus sold out to Google Ads recently.

  • marquis

    You can install Adblock Edge, free GPL & opensource.

  • Forkingham Melle

    i use srware iron with both addblocks and ultimate user agent sniffer with softether vpn agent and https everywhere. no crashing or speed problems, and no nosey bastard prying into my business

  • A Really Weird Guy

    cock

  • anonymous

    Thank you for this!

  • Klefki

    I have an idea… enable BOTH!!!!!

  • Peteris Petersons

    ok, that was 2011, what about now?

  • MCArth

    I’m using adblock plus, and it doesn’t block ads efficiently. It didn’t block this article.

  • AnonymousCoward

    Motive: AdBlock Plus was made possible by a community, adblock is from someone who saw an opportunity to make something that already existed, compatible with, for what ? seek donations ?

  • use AdBlock not AdBlock Plus

    Do not use AdBlock Plus, the editors allow whitelist.

    2 ways to be whitelisted :

    - respect rules so adds are no intrusive, this is a good idea considering all independants websites financed by small not intrusive publicity

    - subscribe to the whitelist by paying !!! or be friend with AdBlock Plus such as reddit…

    Yeah AdBlock Plus can be compared to legal racketeer/mafia