AdGuard In-Depth Review – Shield Up Your Internet Experience with World’s Most Advanced Ad-Blocker

AdGuard

$65.62 (RM 283.11)
7.3

Transparency

7.0/10

Features

8.0/10

User Experience

7.0/10

Value

7.0/10

Advantages

  • Multiplatform compatible
  • Excellent features offered
  • Stops ads and tracking
  • Block access to malicious sites
  • Strict parental control
  • Excellent mobile apps feature

Disadvantages

  • Expensive
  • Slows down browsing experience

AdGuard In-Depth Review - Overview of AdGuard

AdGuard is an advanced level of ad blocking program made for cross platform bundled together with the privacy protection suite. Unlike the traditional free ad-blocker available currently, AdGuard comes with a subscription basis suite. The goal of this project is to allow maximum flexibility in terms of control access to their users to have a full control towards their device and ensuring a better internet experience without any personal information such as browsing activity to be leaked in the internet. AdGuard has a good score on TrustPilot.

And yes, AdGuard does collect some data that will be used to improve their service in the future. According to their privacy policy, they retain the personal data as long it is crucial to provide the service until the information sharing was revoked by the user.

Overview of Features

  • Ad-Blocking
  • Safe Web Surfing
  • Privacy Protection
  • Parental Control
  • Camouflage Internet Experience

Pricings

AdGuard currently offering two standard plans with two selective sub-plans. Below are the plans currently on offer:

Duration Yearly Lifetime
Personal Family Personal Family
Number of Devices 3 9 3 9
Price RM 128.41/year RM 283.11 RM 343.74 RM 730.52

I am not a fan of buying a service for a lifetime, I always prefer to go for yearly subscription basis. Fortunately, AdGuard is offering free licenses for 3 months to ease the work from home schedule due to Covid-19 pandemic. This free licenses allows you to fully explore the given features of AdGuard for three months. Registration can be done at this site by keying in your preferred credentials. Once the registration process completed, an email will be sent to you with a license key. This license only valid for one registered email account.

Installation

The AdGuard application can be downloaded from the official site. In order to make sure the downloaded file is free from any embedded malware, I have used trusted site to run a full antivirus engine scan from different providers. Based on the result, it seems one of the present antivirus engine reports the application as a trojan. I will take it as a false positive and proceed to install in my Windows 10 machine.

In-Depth Feature Walkthrough and Testing for Desktop Platform

When it comes to the desktop environment, I decided to go for Windows-based environment as it is the most widely used operating systems, worldwide. Also, the operating system and AdGuard program running in its latest signature.

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard Windows 10 GUI

AdGuard offers five major accessible features. Given the option to switch in between light and dark theme is considered one of a minor advantage here. The user interface is friendly and most of the panels were mapped in an orderly manner. Briefing the feature overview, Ad Blocker, Stealth Mode, Browsing Security, Parental Control, Extension and Network. I will share the sub-features available in each major feature, further.

Ad Blocker

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard Ad Blocking settings

The first feature defines the purpose of this program was created. Although there are many available free ad blockers out there, AdGuard still maintains its unique signature that differs it from other ad blockers. Unlike free ad blockers that still allows a few ads to slip through, AdGuard completely blocks ads since you’re paying for the service, AdGuard don’t really have a reason to let the ads to slip through and interrupts your browsing sessions. You are further allowed to change or set a new rule as per your wish to fit your requirement.

Stealth Mode

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard Stealth Mode Part 1

Next, this is my favorite feature among all for a privacy-driven guy like me who wish to increase my anonymity over the internet. Do note that, VPN only masks your identity for about 55% and the rest depends on yourself. A few checkboxes were given for you to pick the settings you would like to use and you are also can strip the tracking URL parameters.

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard Stealth Tracking methods

Tracking methods deals by blocking cookies and scripts, third-party cookies inclusive. Under this sub-settings of Stealth mode, you can set self-destruction of cookies via keying in the integer in minutes. This feature similar to Cookie AutoDelete that available for supported browsers. Tracking your online activity can be done in many ways and one of the commonly used way is tracking your authorization header of your cached stored in your browser. Enabling this not only increase the amount of not being tracked, it also helps you to increase the amount of false suggestions to you given by the search engine.

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard Browser API

If you are used to this test, then you are not alone. The WebRTC commonly used in VPN testing in order to analyse if the VPN service is leaking our information or vice versa. For non-Firefox users, enabling the WebRTC blocking is a recommended way of securing your browsing activity. This also includes, blocking the push API request, locations, flash and Java. Do note that, by blocking Java, it doesn’t disable JavaScript.

Browsing Security

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard Browsing Security

This feature doesn’t offer much customizability apart from dealing with notifications. So we will skip this in-depth walkthrough.

Parental Control

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard Parental control feature

If free ads on can be removed anytime by your smart kids (kids obviously smart these days, thanks to the advanced technology), AdGuard offers parental control feature that only you can have full access on via setting up a password. A drop-down menu containing sensitivity level is given and you can further customize the site access via checking safe-search feature and further block executable files from being downloaded by your kids.

Extensions

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard cross-browser extension

AdGuard also offers a cross-browser manager. With this setting, you are able do as much as the free ad blockers give you, but with a few extra features such as blocking unwanted popups and adding a few rules under AdGuard Extra. If you can’t really manage everything from this desktop program, you can opt for its browser ads on version instead.

Network

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard's Network Settings

Last on the line is the Network Settings. Under this setting, you can filter the traffic and also opt in/out from using AdGuard as an HTTP proxy. Also, enabling HTTPS filtering is recommended and this function works in a similar manner of that HTTPS Everywhere browser add-ons.

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard Proxy Settings

Also under the network settings, you can configure the type of proxy you would like to use. Manual proxy configuration method was also given for advanced users, although rely on a reliable VPN provider does a better trick than this.

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard test output sample

I can’t cramp, every testing outputs in this review apart from only sharing crucial test output for analysis. Based on the test conducted, AdGuard produced flying colors of protecting the amount of traffic that flows through the internet gateway from prying eyes.

In-Depth Feature Walkthrough and Testing for Mobile Platform

For this review, I have used an iPhone 7 Plus, as a mobile environment. The OS is in its latest signature for better accuracy can be recorded. The application is also made available for android-based platform.

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard iOS application overview

The AdGuard iOS application was well developed. The application is responsive with many features cramped into it. Similar to the desktop application, the AdGuard for mobile offers pretty much the same such as whitelisting your favorite blogs (in case if you want to support the blog development by allowing ads to sleek through), picking filters, DNS privacy and adding own custom filtering rules.

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard iOS in-depth feature walkthrough

This is an overview of some functions that I would like to include in this review. To my surprise, if your router doesn’t support DoT or DoH, you can actually use this feature in your smartphone. A few DNS provider can be picked with server type, i.e. regular, DNS-over-TLS or DNS-over-HTTPS. Opting in many features hasn’t really slowed down the mobile and browsing experience improves way better, especially when viewing a few YouTube as a free entertainment platform rivaling subscription basis media service provider system.

AdGuard In-Depth Review - AdGuard iOS test result

Based on the test conducted on my very own blog and browserleaks site, the result is pretty good. This will be a good adds-on if you are keen to use a public WiFi connection with VPNs that doubles your privacy and secure the data transfer in between you and the internet gateway.

After Sales Support

In terms of after-sales support, AdGuard offers 24/7 support through email and live-voice call. You also can participate in the forums with their developers to engage in a discussion on the problems or bugs that causing discomfort while using the service. Their team also has dedicated repos hosted in GitHub that being used to track the bugs and view the progress of the program by everyone.

Conclusion

To sum up the review, I personally feel AdGuard is a pretty decent ad-blocking program. For non-technical users, AdGuard certainly are a recommended program. For power users like me, uBlock Origin pretty much does the same trick as AdGuard, in layman term, uBlock Origin deals with configuration scripts and slightly superior compared to AdGuard that already provide everything in the application and users can add their own configuration, still not as advanced as uBlock Origin. Somehow, opting in using too much of features in a desktop environment of AdGuard does really slow down my browsing experience but it differs in a mobile platform. Overall, AdGuard has achieved its goal by protecting the users from trackers, ISPs, cyber criminals and often best paired with a reputable VPN provider of your choice. Comparing with uBlock Origin, I personally prefer uBlock Origin over AdGuard due to its quick bug-fixes and being an open source program.





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