Adguard review : Is it the Best Ad Blocking Software 2023?
AdGuard for Mac is a standalone ad blocker program that isn’t a browser extension – it’s far more powerful than that. It’s also available as part of the Setapp suite of Mac apps. Setapp contains over 190 useful apps, all packaged neatly in one place so you never have to go searching for the app you need. AdGuard claims that installing the app will give you:
- Efficient ad blocking – Blocks pop-ups, video adverts, banners, etc.
- Safe web surfing – Protection from phishing and fraudulent websites
- Privacy protection – Protects from all trackers and analytical systems that spy on you
- Filtering inside apps – has an option to filter the ads on any app installed on your Mac
- Works with all browsers – compatible with all browsers from the common ones like Safari and Chrome, to the most obscure ones
- 3-in-1 – You don’t need extra apps or browser extensions
Those are some big claims, but does AdGuard live up to them? We’re going to look at the pros and cons, how to use AdGuard, how much it costs, and answer some frequently asked questions about AdGuard.
AdGuard for macOS and Windows
One of the key differentiators between AdGuard’s desktop apps is the comprehensive protection they offer.
Unlike a browser extension, which only protects that specific browser from ads, AdGuard’s desktop apps protect any and all applications that access the internet. That means web browsers, email, Skype, torrent clients and much more.
AdGuard for macOS has the distinction of being “the world’s first standalone ad blocker for Mac.” On macOS, in particular, this can be a big selling point since Apple changed how web browser extensions work.
As a result, many popular ad blockers either don’t work anymore, or they don’t work as well as they once did. This has led to a whole slew of ad blockers for Safari shutting down altogether. AdGuard for macOS gets around that because it’s not a browser extension. Instead, it’s a standalone application that operates independently. To make it work in Safari, simply add the browser to the list of applications for AdGuard to protect.
The macOS and Windows versions include features that go beyond basic ad blocking, such as Browsing Security, which is designed to block phishing and other malicious websites. According to the company, AdGuard has cataloged some 15 million websites, flagging 1.5 million of them as malicious or phishing websites. Both versions also include Privacy Protection, which “protects you and your personal info from being tracked by online statistics gathering resources.”
Both desktop clients include Stealth Mode, a feature designed to prevent websites from gathering more detailed information, such as your browser, computer operating system (OS), IP address, the last website you visited, your monitor’s screen resolution and more.
There’s a lot to like in this app, and here’s why:
- Comprehensive ad and content blocking solution
- A different option for different uses cases
- Reasonable price, including lifetime license option
- A number of open source offerings
- Works with Apple’s latest Safari requirements
- Can be used to protect an entire network
- Abides by the EU’s GDPR
In a perfect world, AdGuard would be a perfect app. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world, and there are a couple of minor issues with AdGuard, but definitely not enough to put us off using it:
- AdGuard teamed with Safari works very well, but sometimes a little too well – on sites like Reddit, it didn’t just block the ads, but parts of the page as well!
- AdGuard consumes up to 120MB of RAM, which is twice as much as the Safari ad blocker extension does. However, we didn’t have any noticeable slowing down of our system while using it.
For individuals who don’t want to install any applications on their computer, AdGuard DNS is an option. The service is free to use and provides DNS information to replace the DNS addresses provided by your internet provider.
When your device uses AdGuard DNS, the company’s servers respond to any ad requests with an empty response. The DNS service is open source, and completely free to use for personal use.
AdGuard Home is a DNS server designed to protect your entire home network, protecting all your devices from ads and trackers. The server can be installed on a Raspberry Pi or a Virtual Private Server, and works with routers, macOS, Windows, iOS and Android.
AdGuard Browser Extensions
In addition to all of the above, AdGuard also makes traditional browser extensions. The extension blocks ads, adware installers and spyware installers. It also protects you from malware and phishing websites. As an added bonus, AdGuard works with Safari’s new extension system.
The browser extension works with the following browsers:
- Microsoft Edge
- Yandex Browser
Pricing and availability
|Pricing Model: Flat Rate||Pricing Model: Flat Rate|
|Payment Frequency: Per Month||Payment Frequency: Per Month|
|The plan is billed annually and the price is exclusive of VAT. Besides, there is a lifetime subscription option available with one-time fees||The plan is billed annually and the price is exclusive of VAT. Besides, there is a lifetime subscription option available with one-time fees|
|Family plan includes:||Personal plan includes:|
|Protect All Your Devices||Protect All Your Devices|
|Surf the Web Safely||Surf the Web Safely|
|Up to Any 9 Devices||Up to Any 3 Devices|
AdGuard pricing has different tiers for the number of devices you want to use it on, but alternatively comes as part of the Setapp suite of over 190 Mac apps for a subscription of only $9.99 per month (plus VAT).
Setapp comes with a 7-day free trial, so you can try before you buy.
The AdGuard website offers options for Android, iOS, and Windows, as well as Mac, and they overhauled their licensing system so there’s now only Personal and Family licenses available:
- Personal – Allows you to activate AdGuard on any three devices
- Family – Allows you to activate AdGuard on any nine devices
One great feature of this is that it doesn’t matter what type of devices they are – you can have a mix of Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android versions of AdGuard. You can also choose between the Lifetime one-off payment, or Yearly subscription, and there are often deals to be had on the prices:
- Lifetime – up to three devices: around $78
- Lifetime – up to nine devices: around $182
- Yearly – up to three devices: around $2.60 per year
- Yearly – up to nine devices: around $5.88 per year
AdGuard can be bought on the AdGuard website, and is also available in Apple’s App Store and Google Play for Android versions.
The company offers email support, with 24 hour turnaround, as well as telephone support. The latter is especially welcome in an age when most internet companies offer email or live chat support only. There is also an extensive knowledge base to educate users on the finer points of how ad and content blocking works, as well as to walk them through installation.
Unfortunately not. However, you can get a 14-day free trial. On the AdGuard website they also offer a free license key provided you assist them in some way, like providing a short written or video review.
I have no issues with AdGuard, and it has 25 million happy users worldwide. AdGuard is available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store too. Many of the user reviews about AdGuard on the web are glowing – they do offer a free licence key for a short review, so keep that in mind when you’re reading them.
While it does take up a fair bit of system resources, I never noticed any real issues with the app slowing my Mac down.
Adguard is a premium ad blocker solution for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android & home networks. The service utilizes downloadable software applications and system extensions to neutralize and block all incoming advertisements while browsing the Internet.
Adguard can also block tracking scripts from identifying your IP address for complete anonymity while online.
Founded in 2009 in the Moscow area, Adguard’s first office was in one of the co-founder’s apartments.
In the following years, the company continued to grow, rework its products, establish new offices and eventually headquarter in Cyprus in 2017.
The company has continued to expand its product line to incorporate support for multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, web browsers, and more.
Ad-blocking is not new technology and has been around for many years at this point. What makes AdGuard unique is how thoroughly it works to block ads.
AdGuard starts by scanning your browser and identifying all of the ad-related components that are loaded on each page you visit, such as scripts, images, CSS files, etc.
It then searches for filters in its database which match these elements; there are filters for tracking scripts, ads, and pop-ups.
Once AdGuard has identified the relevant filters, it will create a list of rules to block those elements from loading in your browser. This means that any ad on the page you are visiting is blocked before it even loads at all!
AdGuard filters are capable of blocking a large range of advertisements. Adguard has a large variety of different filters – some made by them, and others built by enthusiasts.
Ad filtering options depend on which AdGuard product you are using. Browser extensions rely on filtering capabilities provided by what’s available to them within the application.
AdGuard for Windows, Mac and Android work independently from your browser, using a different filtering algorithm.
There are two ways to install AdGuard on your Mac or PC. Both are solid options depending on how you use your computer and how much adblock coverage that you seek in the future.
There is a default installation wizard that comes with the program when you download and it walks you through all of the necessary steps: downloading, installing, and updating AdGuard for both Windows and macOS.
The first and easiest way to use is AdBlock is through their extension for your web browser. This extension can be used on any computer as long as you have internet access.
However, if you want to block ads for all your applications, the best option is AdGuard’s standalone desktop version. This will also allow users who do not use a web browser at all or are looking for more extensive ad blocking coverage to use AdGuard.
Given that AdGuard is a third-party software, it is normal for some users to question the potential motives and vulnerability of the service. Thankfully, AdGuard is a piece of software that poses no security threats to your browsing experience.
For starters, AdGuard has gone to great lengths to protect its users. They have never collected any of your browsing history or other personal information, and we don’t plan on doing so in the future either.
AdGuard is 100% open-source, so it’s possible for anyone who wants to take a look at their code and see what we’re doing – that said there are no known vulnerabilities in any of the security modules used by AdGuard.
While I wouldn’t recommend Adguard as a replacement for proper security software, the software actually makes your online usage safer as it can prevent malicious attacks by blocking adware ads and potential threats from loading in your browser or other applications (depending on the AdGuard product in use).
AdGuard is a great tool for anyone who uses the internet – but especially those who use it a lot. It will zap all those annoying ads as well as protecting your data and security online by warning you about phishing and fraudulent websites.
The app is easy to download, install, and once set up can be left to happily run in the background until it detects an ad or a problem. The minor flaws are just that – minor – and if you’re looking for a powerful ad blocker then why not give AdGuard a try?
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