Everyone hates online ads – they’re a privacy risk, they slow down web browsers, and they’re downright annoying. Ad blocking extensions could help, but what about VPN ad blockers? Can they get rid of ads for you? Since using a VPN is already convenient because it protects your data and helps you unblock content. If it could also get rid of ads, that’d be even better.
We went ahead and tested the top VPNs with ad block features to see how well they worked. We also answered some FAQs at the end of the article.
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Here’s the best VPN ad blockers:
How to Pick a Good VPN with Ad Blocking
These are the metrics we used to rank the VPN ad blockers in this article:
- Block most ads – VPN ad blockers can’t block 100% of the ads, but a good one will stop you from seeing most of them.
- Block malicious sites – a VPN ad blocker should stop connections to malicious and unsecure sites to protect you from malware and phishing.
- Work on most platforms – the feature should work on most major platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. Only blocking ads on one or two platforms doesn’t offer enough flexibility.
- Are easy to use – a simple on/off switch is all that’s needed. You shouldn’t need to follow step-by-step tutorials to learn how to use the ad blocker.
- Don’t cost extra – a VPN ad blocker should be included in all the provider’s plans.
How We Tested the VPN Ad Blockers
We ran multiple tests to see how good the VPN ad block features are. We used the following online tools:
Besides that, we also manually tested the VPN ad blockers against:
- YouTube ads
- Media site ads
- Malicious sites
We did that by visiting multiple ad-heavy social media sites and media outlets. We also viewed multiple YouTube videos from popular channels that use ads. And we tried to visit unsafe HTTP sites.
Best VPNs with Ad Blocking
We tested the top VPNs that block ads – these are the best 5 services according to our results. We used the points-based ranking system from the GitHub Ad Blocker Test tool to showcase how well each VPN performed.
1. NordVPN – Best VPN Ad Blocker Out There
NordVPN offers excellent ad blocking. Its ad blocker, called CyberSec, scored really high in all tests. And we never saw ads on ad-heavy pages – banners, pop-ups, or video ads. NordVPN even blocks ads on YouTube – the ones at the start of a video and during it. The only YouTube ads CyberSec struggled with are the overlay ads – we saw them more than half of the time. And CyberSec was able to block our connections to malicious HTTP sites.
NordVPN’s ad blocker is very simple to use – you just enable and disable it from the settings. And CyberSec is available on all platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome, and Firefox. The only issue is that CyberSec only blocks malicious sites on Android if you get NordVPN’s app from the Google Play Store. You need to download and install the APK version from NordVPN’s site to get ad blocking on Android.
CyberSec is included in all NordVPN plans, which are cheap if you get a long-term subscription. All plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you encounter any issues, you can reach the support team 24/7 through live chat.
Besides NordVPN’s good ad blocker, you also get great security: bank-grade encryption, secure protocols, and a kill switch. NordVPN also has a twice-audited no-logs policy, RAM-only servers, split-tunneling, and obfuscation. Other perks include a large server network, very fast speeds, and excellent P2P and streaming support.
2. Surfshark – Block Ads on Unlimited Devices
Surfshark’s ad blocker, CleanWeb, is very reliable – it scored high in all ad tracking tests. And we never saw ads on media outlets – sites like Forbes and WhatCulture actually loaded faster than before thanks to CleanWeb. Surfshark successfully blocked malicious sites, but it wasn’t able to block YouTube ads.
CleanWeb is very simple to use, and it works on all platforms – Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Android TV, Firefox, and Chrome.
Surfshark’s ad blocker is available for free on all plans. We recommend long-term subscriptions since they’re super cheap and covered by a 30-day refund. And for a very cheap upgrade, you get features that protect you from identity theft and secure your online searches. Surfshark also offers 24/7 live chat support.
Alongside a good VPN ad blocker, you also get powerful encryption, strong protocols, a no-logs policy, and a kill switch. Surfshark also offers obfuscation, split-tunneling, and RAM-only servers. It has a large server network, fast speeds, great P2P support, and unblocks popular streaming sites.
3. Private Internet Access – Secure Ad Blocking Across a Huge Server Network
Private Internet Access’s ad block feature, PIA MACE, scored high in our tests. It had trouble with pop-up ads on Can You Block It? but we never saw any pop-up ads on media sites. PIA MACE successfully blocked other types of ads too, and also blocked connections to malicious sites. But it labeled some secure sites as unsafe, though this problem didn’t occur often. Also, PIA MACE wasn’t able to block YouTube ads – pre-ads, mid-ads, and overlay ads.
PIA MACE is easy to use and it’s available on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. It doesn’t work on iOS, and you’ll need to get the APK app to use it on Android.
You get PIA MACE for free with all plans, and we like how cheap PIA’s prices are. Your purchases are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you also get 24/7 live chat support.
With PIA, you also get the largest server network on the market (30,000+), fast speeds, and excellent streaming and P2P support. It also offers standard security features like a kill switch, strong encryption, and secure protocols. Its no-logs policy has been proven true in court multiple times, and PIA open-sourced all its apps. On top of that, you also get obfuscation, split-tunneling, and RAM-only servers.
- Block ads, trackers, and malware
- Can be used with 10 devices simultaneously
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- 3200+ Servers in 29 Countries
- No Traffic or Request logs
- 7-day money-back guarantee
4. Windscribe – Highly Customizable VPN Ad Blocker & Free Plan
Windscribe’s R.O.B.E.R.T. ad blocker scored just as well as other top VPNs in our tests. It successfully prevented ad tracking and blocked all ads on media outlets. Windscribe also kept us safe from malicious sites, but it failed to block YouTube ads.
R.O.B.E.R.T. is easy to use, but you don’t enable/disable it inside the app. Instead, you do it in your account’s dashboard. We were really impressed by how customizable this VPN ad blocker is. On top of blocking ads and malware, it can also block:
- Social media networks and their trackers.
- Pornographic content.
- Fake news and clickbait.
- Gambling sites.
- Ads and trackers from other VPNs.
And you can even configure R.O.B.E.R.T. to blacklist or whitelist specific website domains or IPs. Windscribe’s ad blocker works on all apps except the browser extensions.
Widnscribe has a free plan and paid plans. You can use R.O.B.E.R.T. with the free plan on all devices, but it only blocks ads and malware. To get full functionality, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid plan. Windsribe’s paid plans are cheap and the VPN even lets you build your own plan. But, unlike most VPNs that have 30-day refunds, Windscribe only offers a 3-day money-back guarantee. In terms of support, you can only talk with the reps over email.
Besides that, Windscribe also offers excellent security. You get a kill switch, powerful encryption and protocols, and a no-logs policy. There’s also obfuscation, split-tunneling, and timezone and GPS spoofing. Windscribe can even offer limited protection against browser fingerprinting. It also has good P2P support and unblocks Netflix US.
5. Perfect Privacy – Good VPN Ad Blocker for Advanced Users
TrackStop, Perfect Privacy’s ad blocker did well in our tests. It blocked ad trackers, stopped ads from loading on websites, and blocked traffic to unsecured sites. But it wasn’t able to block YouTube ads.
TrackStop is user-friendly, but you have to configure it in your account’s dashboard. It offers multiple customization options. Besides blocking ads, the feature can also block:
- Sites that host fake news.
- Sites that are inappropriate for kids.
- All Facebook domains.
- All social media sites.
Perfect Privacy’s ad blocker can even block all Google domains – YouTube, Google Search, Gmail, etc. But we don’t really see why you would use this option.
TrackStop is included in all Perfect Privacy Plans, though they don’t come cheap. Also, Perfect Privacy only has a 7-day money-back guarantee and email support.
Perfect Privacy offers great security features. It has a no-logs policy, uses powerful encryption and secure protocols, and a very customizable kill switch. But this VPN is more suited for advanced VPN users because the user interface isn’t that beginner-friendly. Also, Perfect Privacy lets you configure advanced security settings – like setting up a multi-chain connection with up to four hops. It also has great P2P support but doesn’t work with streaming sites.
VPN Ad Blockers – Test Score Overview
|Ad Blocker Test Score||Blocks Media Outlets Ads||Blocks YouTube Ads||Blocks Malicious Sites|
|NordVPN||95%||Yes||Yes (But Not Overlay Ads)||Yes|
Is CyberGhost VPN’s Ad Blocker Good?
CyberGhost’s ad blocker is hit-and-miss. It performed well in the online tests. But when we used CyberGhost VPN, we still saw some ads on media sites. And it can’t block YouTube ads. Also, CyberGhost’s ad blocker doesn’t block malicious sites. It only warns you if you’re visiting one.
We recommend using NordVPN instead. Its CyberSec feature is good at blocking most ads and malicious sites. Also, NordVPN is one of the only VPNs that blocks YouTube ads. It can’t get rid of the overlay ads, though.
Is It Enough to Only Use a VPN Ad Blocker?
Most VPN ad blockers are good, but it’s not enough to only use them. You’ll still see some ads sometimes – especially on YouTube. VPN providers don’t specialize in ad blocking. They focus on unblocking content and encrypting user traffic instead. It’s understandable that their ad blockers aren’t 100% effective.
To get rid of all ads for good, we recommend using uBlock Origin alongside the VPN ad blocker. uBlock Origin is an open-source ad and script blocker. We always scored 100% with it and never saw any YouTube ads – pre, mid, post, or overlay. And here’s another good reason to use uBlock Origin – it can prevent WebRTC leaks. Many VPNs actually don’t offer protection against those leaks.
To be even safer, you could also use uMatrix. It’s an open-source script blocker that protects you from ads, malicious scripts, and unsecure sites. But uMatrix isn’t very user-friendly and it can prevent you from using some website features.
uMatrix and uBlock Origin are free to use. They also have extensions for almost any browser.
Can VPN Ad Blockers Protect You Against Browser Fingerprinting?
No, VPN ad blockers can’t prevent browser fingerprinting. They can only block ads, malicious sites, and trackers. And VPNs themselves aren’t good against browser fingerprinting because they only hide your IP. Browser fingerprinting collects more data: device type, OS, timezone, screen size, etc.
Windscribe is the only VPN that includes some protection against browser fingerprinting. Its Split-Personality feature will rotate your user agent to make you stand out less. Also, it features timezone-spoofing, so sites can’t use browser fingerprinting to find out which timezone you’re in. But that’s about it.
One thing you can do to make browser fingerprinting less effective is to use Tor. It’s a free privacy tool that hides your IP and encrypts your traffic. All Tor users also share the same browser fingerprint. But you need to use Tor over a VPN connection because Tor can suffer IP leaks. Just keep in mind that your speeds will be very slow – we experience 80-90% slowdowns with Tor over VPN connections. All the VPNs listed in this article support Tor traffic on their servers.
There are also other things you can do to prevent browser fingerprinting. You can use a virtual machine, a different browser for each online activity, and burner phones and laptops. But, really, the only way to be completely safe from browser fingerprinting is to not use the Internet.
Bottom line – it’s best not to worry about this too much. As long as the VPN ad blocker prevents ads from loading and blocks malicious sites, it’s a good feature. What matters the most is for it to improve your online experience – increase browser performance and keep you safe.
Here are some common questions people ask about VPNs with ad blockers, ads, and anything similar to this. If you have more questions, please leave a comment.
Do VPNs Block Ads?
Yes, VPNs can block ads with ad blocking features. They have settings inside the app or account dashboard that let you enable ad blocking. VPN ad blockers can also block malicious sites.
But not all VPNs with ad block features work well. According to our tests, NordVPN has the best ad blocker. It blocks annoying ads on websites, some YouTube ads, and unsecure sites. Surfshark and PIA also offer great ad blocking features.
Does a VPN Block Pop-Up Ads?
Yes, VPN ad blockers can block pop-up ads. When we tested the VPNs on this list, we never saw pop-up ads on media websites. We saw pop-up ads with PIA on the Can You Block It? test but none on other websites.
Does ExpressVPN Have an Ad Blocker?
If you want a VPN that blocks ads that’s as good as ExpressVPN, we recommend NordVPN. It’s just as secure, fast, and easy to use as ExpressVPN. But it also has an ad blocker that blocks website ads, some YouTube ads, and malware-infected sites.
Does IPVanish Offer Ad Blocking?
No, IPVanish doesn’t have an ad blocker. We recommend using Surfshark instead. It has a good VPN ad blocker, it’s cheaper and more secure than IPVanish, and it allows unlimited simultaneous connections just like IPVanish.
Does a VPN Block YouTube Ads?
Most VPN ad blockers can’t block YouTube ads. In our tests, only NordVPN blocked YouTube ads. But it didn’t block all of them – we still saw overlay ads.
To get rid of all YouTube ads, we recommend using uBlock Origin alongside the VPN ad blocker. We tested 20+ ad-heavy YouTube videos with this combo and never saw YouTube ads.
How Does an Ad Block VPN Work?
Most VPNs use their own DNS servers to block or redirect DNS requests to advertisers’ servers. Your browser won’t show ads once the DNS requests have been blocked or redirected.
VPNs also block ads by redirecting ad trackers to invalid IPs so that they can’t be resolved. For example, redirecting to “localhost” or 0.0.0.0 shows a message saying that “the website is not reachable.”
And VPNs block malicious sites, tracking cookies, and ad trackers with third-party blocklists. VPNs basically blacklist malicious and advertiser IPs. The providers pay for the blocklists so they always get up-to-date lists.
How Do Ads Track You?
Ads use tracking cookies, tracking pixels, browser fingerprinting, URL trackers, and IP addresses to track you. They monitor your behavior and preferences to target you with personalized ads.
VPN ad blockers can protect you from most tracking methods, but they won’t prevent browser fingerprinting. Also, they can’t block ads 100%. To get rid of most ad tracking methods (except browser fingerprinting) you should also use uBlock Origin and uMatrix.