Best VPN for Ad Blocking 2021

These VPN services include a special ad blocking feature that blocks unwanted and intrusive ads
  • NordVPN
    Monthly price
    $11.95/mo.
    Ad blocking strategy
    CyberSec feature blocks ads from unsafe websites
  • TunnelBear
    Monthly price
    $9.99/mo
    Ad blocking strategy
    Has ad blocking app that’s easy to turn on and off
  • Surfshark
    Monthly price
    $12.95/mo.
    Ad blocking strategy
    CleanWeb feature blocks online ads

Personal security is a multifaceted endeavor. A virtual private network (VPN service) can help protect all of your online activity, including file downloads, media streaming, and website travels. By adding encryption and making your connection more secure, a VPN helps ward off hackers and cybercriminals from stealing your personal information (think credit cards and social security numbers). Using a VPN means you’re safer online than ever before.

Interestingly, there is one part of online personal security that’s sometimes overlooked, at least by the typical web user. We’re talking about ads.

Advertising on websites can be annoying at times, but it can also be dangerous. Few of us who visit a media streaming or file locker site like to see dozens of banner ads sprayed all over the page, but if you visit a disreputable site and click on an ad by mistake, you could unknowingly install a malware client or virus on your computer.

Thankfully, these top VPN services include an ad blocker that not only hides all of the obnoxious ads on a website, but also protects you from malicious ads. These top picks for best VPN service for ad blockers also include robust security for the actual VPN connection.

Best ad-blocking VPN services
BrandPriceAd blocking strategy Other security featuresDetails
NordVPN $11.95/mo.CyberSec feature blocks ads from unsafe websites256-bit AES; approved by security expertsView Plans
TunnelBear$9.99/mo.Has ad blocking app that’s easy to turn on and offData encryption uses 256-bit AES OpenVPNView Plans
Surfshark $12.95/mo. CleanWeb feature blocks online adsAES 256-bit keys with optional ChaCha encryption View Plans

Data effective 5/29/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

1: NordVPN

NordVPN provides an ad blocker called CyberSec for free.

NordVPN is one of our top picks overall for its professional interface, high number of VPN servers available (5,400), and quick speed. As an added bonus, this VPN service includes the CyberSec feature as well.

CyberSec is mostly intended to alert you and block malicious sites known to distribute malware and viruses. It also blocks ads, which can be another way to distribute harmful code and unwanted installs if you click on the ad by mistake.

NordVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceAd blocking strategy Other security featuresDetails
NordVPN $11.95/mo.CyberSec feature blocks ads from unsafe websites256-bit AES; approved by security expertsView Plans

Data effective 5/29/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

What are the NordVPN advanced features?

In terms of advanced features, the most critical note to make here is that NordVPN is a powerful VPN overall, one that uses military-grade encryption. For ad blocking, that means you can trust that malware and other harmful agents (e.g., sometimes the payload that comes with so-called ads) won’t infect your device.

NordVPN also lets you change your IP address two times in a session, which can trick advertisers, malware purveyors, and hackers because they can’t determine your actual location (which is usually revealed by your IP address).

The included CyberSec ad blocker is quite powerful. It blocks suspicious sites, but also prevents video ads from loading, stops pop-ups in their tracks, and won’t even let you visit a site known for distributing harmful viruses. The ad blocker works on computers and mobile devices (iOS and Android).

Who is NordVPN best for?

  • Powerful malware protection
  • Ad blocked means you can’t see or click on ads
  • Top VPN pick overall for interface and speed
  • Mobile VPN app and browser extension available

Want more info on NordVPN? Read our full review.

2: TunnelBear

A VPN that offers a free ad blocker—even for unregistered users.

There’s something quite amazing about the TunnelBear ad blocker. For starters, it works as a Google Chrome extension and is ever vigilant about ads on every website. Yet it’s also entirely free even if you are not a TunnelBear user. Anyone can grab it from the Google Chrome store.

Apart from that, TunnelBear is also a top pick for powerful security protocols like 256-bit AES and a clean and even fun interface.

TunnelBear plans and prices
PlanPriceAd blocking strategy Other security featuresDetails
TunnelBear$9.99/mo.Has ad blocking app that’s easy to turn on and offData encryption uses 256-bit AES OpenVPNView Plans

Data effective 5/29/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

What are the TunnelBear advanced features?

To be clear about this VPN app, the advanced functions can’t quite compare with VPN clients like NordVPN and ExpressVPN. What you do gain is convenience, a clear interface, and something that is rare in the VPN industry: a free ad blocker.

That said, the ad blocker is comprehensive. It can block suspicious websites, scripts and trackers (those pesky little code snippets that attach to your computer like a leech and slow down your connection), email trackers, and even those annoying social media buttons that may or may not be pure evil. (Social media companies are known for harvesting your online activity, including likes and shares, and selling them to the highest bidder—oops, we mean advertiser.)

And then there is this: TunnelBear claims they can block the microphone on your device so advertisers can’t detect ultrasonic tracking. The company says these inaudible frequencies reveal what you are watching on television and explain why related ads pop-up on your phone or browser window.

Who is TunnelBear best for?

  • Completely free ad blocker
  • Runs as a Google Chrome extension
  • Powerful 256-bit AES encryption
  • Mobile VPN app and browser extension available

Want more info on TunnelBear VPN? Read our full review.

3: Surfshark

Surfshark VPN includes a handy ad blocker called CleanWeb

Similar to how NordVPN includes an ad blocker as a security measure, the CleanWeb blocker in Surfshark is really intended to protect you from clicking on ads that are known to distribute malware and viruses. A side benefit is that if a site is cluttered with too many ads, by blocking ads, you can navigate the site faster and easier. Surfshark also offers an optional encryption protocol called ChaCha that can protect all online activity.

Surfshark plans and prices
PlanPriceAd blocking strategy Other security featuresDetails
Surfshark $12.95/moCleanWeb feature blocks online and video adsAES 256-bit keys with optional ChaCha encryption View Plans

Data effective 5/29/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

What are the Surfshark advanced features?

The CleanWeb ad blocker included with Surfshark is powerful and efficient. One of the clear benefits is that, when you start removing ads, block malware, kill the tiny little trackers that infect your computer all day, you will enjoy a faster internet connection.

The add-on is more than an ad blocker on the web, though. It also protects your computer from malware, viruses, and other infections that can occur in the background using apps or during gaming sessions.

CleanWeb even spots phishing scams. The blocker knows which sites are trying to trick you into giving out a credit card number or other personal data and won’t even let you visit the site where the ploy is under way.

Who is Surfshark best for?

  • Blocks ads that could distribute malware
  • Unusual ChaCha encryption
  • Mobile VPN app and browser extension available

Want more info on Surfshark VPN? Read our full review.

Why bother with a VPN ad blocker?

An ad blocker comes in handy if you frequent websites that are meant for media streaming, file storage, or community chat. These websites tend to have lots of ads.

Advertising in and of itself is not the enemy. In fact, most quality websites use a few ads here and there and they are not obnoxious at all. But you never know if an ad is legit (some of them look like a part of the actual website). Ad blockers, like those included with some VPN service providers, can help protect you and also make websites easier to use.

A VPN ad blocker can help protect you from malicious code

Banner ads are a common way to infect computers with malware. You see an ad that promises a discount on a product or some other alluring incentive. When you click, it takes you to a website that can infect your computer by installing malware or a virus. It’s a common play. And it’s a problem.

But with an ad blocker, you don’t even see the ads and can’t click on them. It means you won’t venture away from the website you are using and, in some cases (such as the CyberSec feature included with NordVPN), even if you could click the ad, the site would be blocked.

A VPN ad blocker may come with other security features

What we’ve found is that some of the best VPN services that include an ad blocker—such as NordVPN, TunnelBear, and Surfshark—also include extra security protocols. For example, it’s unusual that Surfshark VPN lets you enable the ChaCha encryption protocol. As an alternative to AES 256-bit encryption, ChaCha may work faster and more efficiently for mobile web visits and yet protect your connection just as much as AES.

Recap: What’s the best VPN for ad blockers?

NordVPN is our number one recommended VPN overall and it’s no different if you’re looking specifically for a VPN with an ad blocker. NordVPN includes CyberSec malware protection and ad blocker for no additional cost.

On top of an ad blocker, look for a VPN service with a decent number of security protocols available. It’s a leading indicator of security prowess. All of the VPN services on our list provide a wide selection of encryption options and also claim not to record any of your Internet activity on top of providing protection through ad blockers.

  • NordVPN: Ad blocker designed to protect you from malware
  • TunnelBear: Free ad blocker even for unregistered users
  • Surfshark: CleanWeb blockers protect you from malicious ads

Additional contributors

Chyelle Dvorak