Most of us use Firefox or Chrome to browse the web. Most of us also deal with ads, popups and tracking every day. It’s annoying, but there IS a way to slow it down or stop it.
Firefox and Chrome are both great browsers, but there is always room for improvement. Fortunately, both browsers have the ability to add extensions to add functionality. Extensions are like apps for your browser. With the careful selection of extensions, you can make your browsing experience even better. The two extensions I prefer for privacy are uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger. Both are free and open-source extensions that will work in multiple browsers. Each extension is great on its own, but they work even better when you combine them.
What do they do? Both of the extensions help to block trackers, and one of them blocks ads as well. They’re lightweight, unobtrusive, and both of them do their job well.
Each browser has a different method to install extensions, so follow the directions for your preferred browser. Firefox and Chrome are the most popular, but other browsers can be extended as well.
On Google Chrome, browse to the Chrome Web Store and search for the extension you want to use.
On Firefox, go to the Firefox Add-ons page.
uBlock Origin blocks ads and trackers by using blacklists. It knows who is already out there trying to track you, and it blocks them. The downside to blacklists is that they need to be updated regularly. So far, uBlock keeps up pretty well, and you can always manually add your own custom blocks. If you’d rather not have to deal with manually setting up custom blocks all the time, this is where Privacy Badger comes in.
Privacy Badger attacks trackers in a different way, by using heuristics. It takes up where uBlock Origin leaves off. Rather than using blacklists, Privacy Badger detects tracker-like behavior and blocks it. Why use both? Privacy Badger doesn’t block ads, just trackers. Most of us would prefer to block ads as well, and that’s what uBlock Origin does best. Between the two, you get a pretty solid privacy barrier in place.
Sometimes the use of ad blockers will make a website non-functional. Fortunately, both extensions have the ability to quickly disable them for a specific website by clicking on the extension icon in the top bar of the browser and turning it off. If you find a specific website isn’t working the way it should, or something seems to be “missing” from a page, try turning off both extensions and reloading the page.
Everything you need
Is this solution going to block everything? No. But it will drastically cut down on the number of ads and trackers that you have to deal with on your travels around the internet. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment here!