Do ad blockers REALLY make your internet browsing faster?
“Install an Ad Blocker” they said. “It will make your internet much faster” they said. This is something that we have been hearing about for a while, so I wanted to test this as it seems like more people are starting to use ad blockers.
Of course, this is bad news for website owners like me as we rely on the ads to support the running of our websites. If you block the ads, we get no income, which means that we can’t continue to run our sites. This leaves us with two options: charge a fee to use it or shut the site down. Both of those options aren’t appealing.
But I do get it.
Many websites place ads all over so it’s just a horrible experience; especially those sites that place ads in the middle of articles which make the article jump every time the ad loads.
So back to the question: will ad blockers speed up your browsing speed?
To test that, I wanted a real adblocking system – not one that just blocks ads in my browser, but one that block ads on my entire network.
If everyone’s ads are blocked, then are we all going to get a faster browsing experience?
How do you block ads on the entire network?
After much research, I decided to install something called Pi-Hole on a Raspberry Pi
Now to be clear, I know NOTHING about Raspberry Pi, nor do I have any Linux experience but I received a Raspberry Pi 4Starter kit from LABISTS that was just what I needed to get going.
The kit had that Raspberry Pi 4 with a 128GB Micro SD Card already preloaded with the Raspberry Pi OS. The kit also includes a case, 2x Micro HDMI Cable for two monitors and a USBC power supply.
With zero knowledge and following some online tutorials, I was able to create an ad-blocking system within 20 minutes!
Ad Blockers Internet browsing speed with and without ads
To measure the speed implication, I ran the following tests over a period of a week.
Each time, I did the following:
- Deleted the cache and cookies
- I flushed the DNS
- Opened up the same exact pages on three different sites at random times of the day and night
- Took a reading with the ad-blocker on and then reran these steps and took a reading with the ad-blocker off.
And the results were clear – here is just a sample of the test where you can clearly see that when ad-blocker was on, the site loaded much faster as ads were not shown.
Why does ad-blocking impact your browsing speed?
When a web page loads, it runs various scripts that retrieve ads from the various ad networks. Ads typically contain images and sometimes videos and these are not cached so fresh copies need to be sent to you every time.
Ads are set to rotate and be replaced. So not only do the ads get fetched once, but the ads are continuously being retrieved and so see more ads.
Websites typically have multiple ads so the site loads even slower.
Do ad-blockers make your internet faster?
No. Ad-blockers don’t make your internet faster so you can play Fortnite without lag or watch Netflix without buffering.
However, ad-blockers do make your Web Browsing faster.
If you are on a fast internet connection you probably won’t notice the difference when you have the ad-blocker on or off, however if you are on a slow internet connection, you probably will.