We may earn affiliate commissions for the recommended products. Learn more.

uBlock Origin Review 2024


uBlock Origin, a free and open-source ad blocker, was released in 2014 and is now available in 70 languages. Like other ad blockers, it aims to provide you with an enjoyable and safe browsing experience by blocking ads and potentially malicious websites that can infect your device with viruses.

The uBlock Origin extension is one of the most popular ad blockers. It has 35 million downloads in the Chrome web store, 7 million in the Firefox add-on store, more than 10 million in the Edge web store, and 12 million in the Opera add-on marketplace.

However, there are some drawbacks as well. The extensions lack system-wide apps and customer support. Moreover, while there are plenty of features and settings to explore, it could be hard to navigate if you're a beginner with ad blockers. Luckily, there are many reliable and user-friendly providers, such as Total Adblock.

Best alternative to uBlock Origin
Total Adblock is a top-notch ad blocker. It shields your browser from intrusive ads, such as banners, pop-ups, video ads, trackers, and other forms of adware. You can try it for free and protect all of your devices now.
cybernews® score
4.7 /5

In this uBlock Origin review, I’ll go into more detail about this ad blocker's pros and cons, safety, features, and capability and teach you how to use it. Keep reading to learn more about uBlock Origin!

Total AdBlockuBlock Origin
⭐ Rating:
4.7
4.1
🥇 Overall rank:#2 out of #9#8 out of #9
💵 Price:From $1.59/month-
✂️ Free version:YesYes
🛑 Blocks trackers:YesYes
🍿 Blocks YouTube ads:YesYes
🖥️ Compatibility:Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
🌐 Supported browsers:Chrome, Safari, Opera, and EdgeChrome, Chromium, Edge, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Pale Moon
🔥 Coupons:Total Adblock coupon 80% OFF!Cybernews ad blocker coupons
Best alternatives:

uBlock Origin pros and cons

uBlock Origin capabilities

uBlock Origin is a free, open-source ad blocker that neutralizes privacy-invading methods that cybercriminals use. It serves as a wide-spectrum content blocker that can block follow-along video ads, display ads, banner ads, pop-up ads, and error trackers and mute notifications. To achieve this, uBlock Origin uses a wide range of features:

  • Block all pop-ups
  • Block large media elements
  • Block cosmetic filters
  • Block remote fonts
  • Disable JavaScript
  • Element Zapper mode
  • Element picker mode

For more information on these tools and why they’re important, check out our detailed list of uBlock Origin features.

Is uBlock Origin safe?

Yes, uBlock Origin is safe. While there are many reliable ad blockers, some providers have started selling websites the ability to show ads to visitors while using their ad blocker. Luckily, uBlock Origin’s developer has no intention to ever monetize it or create a list of “acceptable” sites.

uBlock Origin also comes with various features that block all suspicious websites, links, and page elements, as well as regular ads that may contain malware.

Finally, uBlock Origin has never had any security issues, and since it’s open-source, anyone can audit it and check its reliability.

Compatibility

The uBlock Origin ad blocker is compatible with all common browsers. You can download and use the uBlock Origin extension on Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Opera.

As it’s open-source, you can also download the source code from the Github repository and install the ad blocker on other browsers or change the application to suit your needs.

uBlock is now available on browsers for Android mobile devices, as well as Apple devices that use Safari. But keep in mind that you can only install uBlock Origin on Safari versions up to 13.

Is uBlock Origin free?

Yes, uBlock Origin is free. Most free ad blockers come with many limitations and, in some way, make you upgrade to the premium version.

However, uBlock Origin is entirely free, and the developer has no plans to ever monetize it. You’ll never have to pay anything, and you’ll still have access to the best ad-blocking and security features.

How to use uBlock Origin?

  1. Open your default browser (or the browser you’re using).
  2. Go to the browser web store, e.g., the Chrome store, and type “uBlock Origin” in the search box.
  3. Click on “Add to Chrome” (make sure that it says "offered by Raymond Hill").
  4. Confirm by selecting “Add Extension”.
  5. There you have it! You can now browse safely and enjoy ad-free content.

Interface and ease of use

What I love about uBlock Origin is that its interfaces are exactly the same across all browsers and OSs, including Chrome, Edge, Firefox, iOS (+ Safari), Android, and Opera.

uBlock Origin browser extension

They all have a big blue on/off button with a gray background – I appreciate the blue and gray coloring, as bright colors can be quite annoying. A small window pops up when you click on the extension icon. It shows how many ads uBlock Origin blocked on the site and how many are blocked in total. On Android, you can also see how many ads it has blocked since installation.

uBlock Origin mobile app

Regarding ease of use, you might experience a slight learning curve as you’ll need to figure out how uBlock Origin works and where to find the tools. However, if you don’t plan to use the additional features and just want to block ads on sites, uBlock Origin’s default settings work very well and are easy to navigate.

uBlock Origin features

Since uBlock Origin is a content blocker, not just an ad blocker, it has a lot of features. In fact, if you’re a casual internet surfer and ad blocker user, you probably won’t even use most of them. However, they come in handy if you’re looking for more advanced protection.

Block all pop-ups

Pop-up ads are not always malicious. Often, they are shortcuts to news, promotions, products, etc., and they should ease your online journey. However, threat actors take advantage of these ads to infect your device with malware.

I tried uBlock Origin with various browsers, such as Chrome, and Firefox, and discovered that the provider does the job. Its Block all pop-ups feature blocks pop-up ads, subscription requests, and notifications, enhancing your online security.

However, during testing, I discovered that whitelisting specific pop-ups (like those from your bank) was much more complicated with uBlock Origin compared to Total Adblock. Typically, to whitelist something with uBlock Origin, you have to create an exclusion by writing code. This appears to be one of the major issues, despite many Redditors being fond of this service.

Block large media elements

Cybercriminals often infect whole software with viruses or other malicious programs. But they also employ website elements to steal your personal information, as it’s a lot easier and less time-consuming.

large elements feature

During our tests, uBlock Origin’s Block large media elements feature proved effective. It blocks elements such as images, big ads, and videos to keep cybercriminals from accessing your data.

Block cosmetic filters

Cosmetic filters make sites look like they don’t contain any ads or ad frames. But cybercriminals can use these hidden frames to enter your device without you realizing you’ve clicked something.

uBlock Origin’s Block cosmetic filters tool removes all kinds of cosmetic elements, such as flickering and certain coloring, to reduce the chance of a cyber attack.

uBlock Origin features - block cosmetic filters

However, during our tests, with Google Chrome (macOS) and Mozilla Firefox (Windows), it couldn't block the Static Ad cosmetic filter and Ad script loading from partner.ads.js.

Block remote fonts

Remote fonts are fonts that individuals use from external servers. These fonts are not very reliable, as they can often be used to infect your device with malware.

uBlock Origin uses the Block remote fonts feature that blocks all third-party fonts and only lets pages load standard fonts that are suitable for different versions of your device and OS. This makes the site easier to read while also lowering the risk of viruses and other cyber threats.

I believe this feature is more advanced because it blocks all third-party fonts, including icons, and you can't exclude any unless you know how to write code.

Disable JavaScript

JavaScript is vulnerable to cyber attacks because malicious hackers can use code mistakes or bugs to hack into legitimate websites. This way, cybercriminals can access and steal user data without them doing anything except browsing online.

uBlock Origin’s Disable JavaScript feature blocks JavaScript on websites to prevent such cyber attacks.

I’m not a big fan of this feature because it's geared towards more advanced users. For instance, advanced users can add specific sites to the "my rules" section of the dashboard. It's a handy tool to have, but most users might end up without using it.

Element Zapper mode

uBlock Origin’s Element Zapper mode allows you to choose which website elements you want to block, such as ad banners, floating share bars, or elements that ask you to pay to see the content.

uBlock Origin features

However, it only temporarily removes these elements from the website. This is because some websites use random or variable elements, which are more difficult to block.

Element picker mode

uBlock Origin’s Element picker mode has more or less the same functions as the Zapper mode. The only difference is that it removes your chosen website elements permanently.

Report an issue

Another helpful feature is that you can report an issue with a website. For example, if uBlock Origin doesn’t hide some element, doesn’t block something, or gets detected by the site, the company will be glad to hear your feedback and improve this in the future.

uBlock Origin features - report an issue

To prevent volunteers from dealing with duplicate reports, when you click on the message icon, you can also choose to check GitHub to see if a similar issue hasn't already been reported.

Settings

In addition to basic tools, uBlock Origin also comes with more advanced features. There are lots of settings that you can use, such as filter lists, my rules, trusted sites, and disabling hyperlink audits, to personalize your ad blocker.

uBlock Origin settings

As mentioned before, many features and settings require technical know-how. This means that, for example, NordVPN Threat Protection or Total Adblock is much easier to understand and use compared to uBlock Origin. If you're seeking a beginner-friendly ad blocker that's also cost-effective, navigating through many uBlock settings can be confusing.

uBlock Origin test results

To check how well uBlock Origin blocks ads, I used various third-party tools and the Chrome and Firefox browsers to test it. Here’s an overview of what I found:

Tested websitesuBlock Origin ChromeuBlock Origin Firefox
Adblock-tester.comNo adsNo ads
Canyoublockit.comNo adsNo ads
Convertyourtracks.eff.orgShows adsPartially blocks ads
D3ward.github.ioNo adsNo ads
NYtimes.comNo adsNo ads
Weather.comNo adsNo ads
YouTubeNo adsNo ads

Google Chrome (MacOS)

I used Chrome on a Mac computer and multiple ad blocker testers to test uBlock Origin’s ability to block pop-ups and other ads. Overall, the ad blocker performed very well, with some exceptions:

  • Adblock-tester.com. uBlock Origin showed a success rate of 96%, although I'm not sure why it wasn’t 100% – all the ads were blocked perfectly. unblock origin mac
  • Canyoublockit.com. An extreme test showed a perfect ad-blocking capability. No banner ads, video ads, pop-up ads, or other ads were shown.
  • Coveryourtracks.eff.org. Unfortunately, according to this site, uBlock Origin does not hide your tracks and tracking ads. unblock origin mac 2
  • D3ward.github.io. uBlock Origin was able to block ads with a 97% success rate. However, it did not manage to block the Static Ad cosmetic filter and Ad script loading from partner.ads.js. ublock origin mac 3
  • NYtimes.com. No ads were shown.
  • Weather.com. No ads were shown.
  • YouTube. uBlock managed to block all ads on YouTube.

Mozilla Firefox (Windows)

To test uBlock Origin on Windows, I chose the Firefox browser and used a variety of ad blocker testers. I achieved similar results to the ones I saw with Chrome:

  • Adblock-tester.com. Using this tool, uBlock Origin showed a success rate of 100%. ublock origin windows
  • Canyoublockit.com. An extreme test proved uBlock Origin to be excellent at blocking ads. No direct-link ads, no banner ads, and no video ads were shown.
  • Coveryourtracks.eff.org. This testing environment showed that uBlock Origin can partially block tracking ads and trackers. ublock origin windows 2
  • D3ward.github.io. According to this tool, uBlock Origin was able to block ads with a 97% success rate. However, it didn’t block the Static Ad cosmetic filter and Ad script loading from partner.ads.js. ublock origin windows 3
  • NYtimes.com. No ads were shown.
  • Weather.com. No ads were shown.
  • YouTube. All ads were blocked. ublock origin windows 4

How does uBlock Origin block YouTube ads?

Usually, ad blockers are not very good at blocking YouTube ads. This is because Google wants to discourage you from using such tools on the site. It detects the use of ad blockers and shows a message saying that ad blockers are not allowed on YouTube.

But does uBlock Origin block YouTube ads? Yes, uBlock Origin does block YouTube ads. This might be because it works as a content blocker that can stop many types of ads, pop-up notifications, or other elements, leaving just one or two ads, which doesn't really interrupt user experience online.

Customer support

While uBlock is a popular ad blocker with numerous advanced features, its customer support is not as extensive as I expected. Still, you have a couple of ways to get help.

ublock origin customer support

The main type of support you get is documentation, which includes step-by-step guides, all mode reviews, etc. There is a Reddit forum that is dedicated to uBlock, and you can also report bugs and websites through Github.

Troubleshooting

If you come across any issues, using the uBlock Origin logger is the first thing you should try. It can tell you why a page doesn’t load or display as expected.

Here are the most common issues that users report:

  • uBlock Origin’s pop-up UI is not displaying
  • Missing icons in the uBlock Origin’s pop-up UI
  • Blocked links to social networks
  • Antivirus flags uBlock Origin
  • “NETWORK FAILED” error when trying to install uBlock Origin from the Chrome store
  • uBlock Origin stopped blocking ads
  • uBlock Origin uninstalled itself
  • Unable to open links in a new tab

Is uBlock Origin any good and worth getting?

Ads and pop-up notifications are not just a nuisance – they can be sources of viruses and other malware. To protect yourself and your personal data, you should use a reputable ad blocker.

uBlock Origin is one of the most popular ad blockers on the market. It’s very secure, has many features, and blocks all kinds of content: follow-along video ads, display ads, banner ads, pop-up ads, notification ads, and more.

In our tests, uBlock Origin successfully blocked numerous ads on the majority of websites we tried. However, it doesn't conceal your browsing activity and tracking ads on popular browsers. Additionally, it's challenging for beginners to use, and there's no chat support available, which may frustrate some users. I personally found Total Adblock to be more user-friendly than uBlock Origin. Most settings can be adjusted with just a few clicks, eliminating the need to write complex code.


More ad blocker guides from Cybernews


FAQs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are markedmarked