- This guide is for Mozilla Firefox. If you don't have the Mozilla Firefox internet browser, download it here. For those of you not already familiar with this browser, it's a hugely popular internet browser. Browsers are applications, like Internet Explorer, that display websites for you. I'm using Firefox for this example because they have a huge arsenal of extensions that will enable you to get rid of those pesky ads, among other things.
- Download and install Adblock Plus here. This is an extension for Firefox, which will do most of the work for blocking ads. Once you install it, it will ask you to select a filter - this is just a pre-made list of URLs of ads and it's IMMENSELY helpful. You should just choose the default option (EasyList).
Manually Blocking Ads
Now you should have most ads eliminated already. Since the EasyList filter isn't perfect, there are always a few ads that will slip through. When you want to block a particular ad, right-click on it and look for the option to select "Adblock Image." Depending on the type of ad, you may or may not have this option. If you do, go ahead and block it and, lo and behold, the ad is gone! Note that this only works for images (unfortunately, interactive ads are impossible to block using this technique, read below to see what you can do). This should take care of the image from now on; every time you come back to the page (or any other page with the same ad), it won't show up.
I also suggest trying "Block images from xxxxx.com" and "Adblock Frame" if those options are available when you right-click on ads. What these options will do is the following:
When you block images from a specific web address, you'll block more than just that image - it will block all ads coming from that particular source; often this will take care of most, if not all, of the ads from a specific site. This means any ads from that source will never display on ANY other websites. This is useful because it works on more sites than just the one you're on.
When you block the frame, you'll take care of the whole area where that ad is displayed, which means you'll block any ads that are put specifically in that spot on the webpage. You may have to block more than one frame in the same spot to take out the are completely, but it is REALLY worth it. If you have trouble getting the frame to stay blocked, try deleting everything after the ".com/" part of the address. (Especially if the address has "ad" or "ads" in it somewhere, like "http://ads.ak.facebook.com/ads/creative/msn/120x600new2.html". When you delete the rest, it should be "http://ads.ak.facebook.com/". This way you should be able to block a lot more ads, since you're getting anything else coming from that address (which is now less picky about what ads it blocks). You do want to make sure you aren't going too general though...you don't want to block things that aren't ads. ie: don't block "http://wisc.facebook.com/home.php?", since there's no "ad" or "ads" in there anywhere and you may end up blocking content that you actually want.
Blocking Flash-Based Ads
In order to block what are called "Flash-based ads" you can use a nifty little Firefox extension called FlashBlock (here). These help with ads that are created using Adobe Flash, and Adblock Plus can't help with those. Flash-based ads are often the ones that are interactive; for example, the ones that want you to shoot something to win a billion dollars and be president of the world. These can often be the most annoying ads and they very frequently slow down the website you're viewing drastically due to the large amount of content they contain.
This extension takes a pessimistic standpoint and will block all Flash content by default. This means it will automatically block almost all of those little games you play at work on bored.com. What you can do to enable Flash content that you want to have is just right-click on the placeholder for the content and allow the content to download. Apparently there have been some issues with this extension interfering with Google Streetview, so please read the developer notes to see how to fix that. As an aside, Adobe Flash is often a huge pain to uninstall for those of you who hate it that much. I've provided some links at the end of the article to assist with that.
These tips should eliminate most of those annoying ads, which, hopefully, will make your browsing a little less obnoxious. One thing to keep in mind is that this will very drastically increase the loading times of webpages - for pages heavily-loaded down with ads and other bulky content, load times will often be reduced by half or even more (I haven't benchmarked the loading times).
I hope these tips helped!
*Uninstalling Flash: Those of you who are hardcore enough to pursue this route, go here to download the uninstall file. If you would like to reinstall the plugin for Adobe Flash, often the website will display a bar over the page that you can click on. Otherwise, go here.