How to Block Ads on Windows 10, Adblocker vs HOSTS file

By | April 28, 2020

If you are on this page you are probably fed up with browsing the internet filled with Pop-ups, autoplay video, and huge banner ads. Digital advertising is by no means polite and ethical. Online ads follow you in apps, in social media, and in your Google Chrome browser. No wonder you ended up Googling “how to block Ads.”

It is very easy to get carried away by the ads and also get annoyed by it. Sometimes Ads can be useful and that’s how the internet and websites work, with ad revenues but other times it is just annoying. As I support their cause, sometimes all you need is to watch some videos without interruption.

Basically there are two prominent methods to Block ads on your Windows machine and those are
1) AdBlocker
2) HOSTS files.

AdBlocker

If you have researched this topic earlier you would know that enabling adblocker chrome extension on your browser will probably get rid of most of the ads on websites and in-video ads. if you just want to get rid of the ads in your browser go ahead and install this Plugin and it should resolve the issue,

Got to https://adblockplus.org/ 

Click on GET ADBLOCK PLUS FOR CHROME

 


Click on Add to Chrome

 


Click add extension

And the extension will be installed.

The downside of Adblocker plugin is that the plugin will just block the Ads appeared in the web browser and if you are using more than one browser you need to install the plugin to another browser as well. In short, the Adblocker plugin will function well for just browser wide ads not for system-wide ads.

HOSTS Files

If you are using a Windows operated machine you can make use of host files to block ads completely. The HOSTS file is just a TXT file and doesn’t have any extension. HOST file will Help to manually link IP addresses with domain names (i.e., Amazon.com,) This leads to Domain Name Server resolves the address quickly.

The trick behind the blocking ads is assigning IP 127.0.0.1 to the Ads server.127.0.0.1 is the IP address of the Local system such as your windows laptop or PC.

This means when you are trying to load a website filled with ads on a browser the website with ads banner or image will try to load on your system. This banner or images will be sent from ads servers such as ad.doubleclick.net will try to load. If you associate this domain name with the IP address of your local computer, 127.0.0.1, whenever the browser tries to load that image from that website, the image will not be found because DNS will be redirecting that URL to your local PC, which obviously isn’t storing that image. Therefore, the ad will not display on that webpage.

Location of HOST files

Depending on the version of windows you are using the host file location will be different.

Windows 7, 8, 10, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003:

C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc

Windows 2000:

C:\WINNT\system32\drivers\etc\

Windows 98/ME:

C:\WINDOWS

So let’s go ahead Updating your HOST file with the address which is known for sending out ads. You can download the HOST files from forums and websites such as GitHub etc.

I prefer http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts2.htm

Download the ZIP file from the website, It will give you the HOSTS file. The zip file also includes a batch for easy installation. You may use the included batch file “mvps.bat” to copy the included HOSTS file to the proper location on your machine. This batch file will back up the existing HOSTS file prior to copying the updated version. The backed-up file will be renamed to HOSTS.MVP.

To use: right-click mvps.bat and select: Run as Administrator (older Windows versions = double-click to run)

Important: Different Windows versions require special instructions:

http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hostswin8.htm (Windows 10/8)

http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hostswin7.htm (Windows 7)

http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hostsvista.htm (Vista)

Note: Go through the Readme.txt file in your download to safely install the HOST file it a good idea to backup your current host files before you make any changes.

That’s it. Congratulations!!!. You have successfully Blocked the Ads from your Windows Machine. Make sure you are updating the HOST files regularly from http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts2.htm as the new server will be added regularly.

Pros and Cons of using AdBlocker

Pros:

  • Flexibility: Adblocker will allow blocking of specific section(s) of a domain instead of the entire domain.
  • Adblocker can be enabled or disabled as desired for the site.
  • Browser-based UI is easily accessible.
  • Adblocker plugins are updated frequently hence can block newer ads server.

Cons:

  • High Ram consumption on the system.
  • AdBlocking is limited only to browsers. Adblock plugin does not work system-wide.
  • Sometimes can break website functionality.
  • Slows browser and PC down because every element URL request has to be checked against blocking rules first, which holds up everything else while that happens.

Pros and Cons of using HOSTS

Pros:

  • No RAM penalty.
  • No CPU penalty.
  • Ads are blocked for the entire operating system including browser.
  • It does not affect browser functionality.

Cons:

  • Flexibility is less Hence it can block some websites entirely.
  • No option to enable and disable per site.
  • It cannot interactively block elements onscreen. It does not affect browser functionality.