No one likes ads. Not even people who work with ads like ads. And especially ads that get shoved in everyone’s face. There you are minding your own business, enjoying a good read or video when all of a sudden a bright flashing box alerts you to some product you feel ashamed for just seeing.

Advertising can be lacking in the decency department. If there’s a space for advertisement, you can bet some company will smear their advertisements all over it. Unfortunately, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and sometimes it’s even necessary. Have you noticed something about free software, websites and the such? They’re free because they’ve allowed space for advertisement. Your favorite free video games, for example, are free because they’re partly supported by ads.

Luckily, there are a few workarounds that can, at the very least, block the annoying pop-ups flooding your view. And really, they’re the worst offenders. Pop-ups are notorious for carrying malware, and they have a name, too: malvertisements.

If It’s Too Good to be True, It Probably Is

Malvertisements aren’t just embedded in the websites you visit, no. They can be in software, too. And boy, can they be sneaky. Have you ever tried to watch a video, not on YouTube, and when you clicked the play button it didn’t actually play? Instead, it gave you a pop-up. The advertisement disguised itself over the play button.

Those kinds of tactics are constantly used, though admittedly, you don’t see ads like that on YouTube’s play button; usually unsavory websites. However, YouTube still has banner space. Clicking on one accidentally can set off a domino effect.

The first solution to avoiding pop-ups is being wary of what you install on your smartphones, tablets, and computers. Being proactive is key.

Activate Pop-up Blocker on Google Chrome

Google Chrome has a nifty tool built right into its browser. Now, it won’t stop every single ad, but it’ll seriously reduce the number of pop-ups you see. No ad-blocker is foolproof. Google Chrome doesn’t stop YouTube advertisement either–you’ll still be forced to watch those–nor does it remove banner ads. Regardless, it’s still better than dealing with pop-ups all the time.

Here’s what you do:

1. Open the Google Chrome app.

Select the three vertical dots at the top-right corner

2. Select the three vertical dots at the top-right corner.

3. Tap Settings in the drop-down menu.

4. Scroll down until you see Site Settings. Select it.

Scroll down until you get to Pop-ups and Redirects

5. Scroll down until you get to Pop-ups and Redirects. Tap it.

Toggle Off Pop-ups and Redirects

6. Toggle Off Pop-ups and Redirects. If you turn the slider to the right, and it turns blue, you’ve disabled the pop-up blocker. Apparently, it was opposite day when Google implemented the pop-up blocker feature.

7. Select the arrow at the top-left corner and head back to the Site Settings.

Toggle Off Ads

8. Scroll down until you come to Ads.

Toggle Off Ads

9. Toggle Off Ads. If you turn the slider to the right, and it turns blue, you’ve disabled it. It’s not 100% foolproof, but you’ve just made your surfing experience that much safer.

Blocking Pop-Ups with Extensions

Unfortunately, Google Chrome doesn’t have pop-up blocker extensions on Android devices. You’ll have no problem installing them on desktop. However, there exists a browser-based pop-up blocker. It’s called Ghostery. It’s available for download on computers, but more importantly, you can install it on your device.

To install Ghostery:

1. Open the Google Play Store app.

Ghostery privacy browser

2. In Google Play Store’s search bar, type “Ghostery privacy browser.” The icon is a blue ghost.

Select Install and wait for the download to finish

  1. Select Install and wait for the download to finish.

Ghostery is all about privacy. And when it comes to blocking pop-ups, it can be quite the straight shooter. Rather than be a simple extension, Ghostery goes all out with its own browser, wrestling pop-ups and trackers. To stay on top of things, Ghostery still gets regular updates, as well as stability updates. Here’s how you use it:

To use Ghostery:

1. Open the Ghostery app.

2. Select the three vertical dots at the top-right corner.

3. From the drop-down menu, tap Settings.

4. Select General.

5. Unlike Google Chrome, Ghostery’s slider actually correctly displays when the pop-up blocker is on or off. Slide it to the right to turn it On. Slide it to the left to turn it off.

Believe it or not, that’s not all. Ghostery has even more aggressive settings for you to take advantage of.

1. Open the Ghostery app.

2. Select the three vertical dots at the top-right corner.

3. From the drop-down menu, tap Settings.

4. Select the Ghostery tab.

5. Tap Tracker Blocking Options.

6. When prompted, select Block Everything.

Ghostery and Google Chrome are both great for blocking pop-ups. Google Chrome’s advantage is its connection with Android devices. Also, Google enacted the Better Ads Experience Program. Rather than just block sneaky pop-ups, its aim is to remove ads that have breached their Coalition for Better Ads.

The Coalition for Better Ads isn’t completely foolproof. It’s, essentially, spearheaded with the same mindset of “better than nothing.”

Try as you might, you may never have the opportunity of removing ads altogether. One extension or browser may get a leg up for a while, but eventually, a new weakness is found and the ads come back. The software then updates to stop the breach until it happens yet again. It’s a game of cat and mouse.

Fortunately, with the tools given, you can have a much safer experience than before. Always fact-check the software and extensions you use; 30 seconds of searching can save you hours of headaches and frustration. Remember: if an ad sounds too good to be true, it probably is.