Ad Blocker Test (Experiment)

A useful tool for testing Browser-DNS-Extensions effectiveness can be found here:
https://d3ward.github.io/toolz/adblock.html

It’s called an “Ad Blocker Test” but also tests tracker blocking. I tried a few configurations to see how different variables affect the results and will post them below. I’d be very interested in seeing the results of other configurations that the forum may be using.
Thanks!
(In the configurations below FF=Firefox hardened to specifications in Techlore’s most recent Firefox hardening video, Quad9 DNS=the secure version)
-FF-Quad9 DNS-no extensions = 66% ad and tracker blocking
-FF-Quad9 DNS-uBlock Origin= 79% effective (allows Amazon ads and all Social Media trackers)
-FF-Quad9 DNS-AdGuard= 84% effective
-FF-Quad9 DNS-AdGuard+uBlock Origin= 95% effective (allows only Amazon ads and Pinterest tracking)
-FF-ad blocking Mullvad DNS-uBlock+AdGuard= 94% effective
-Brave-Quad9 DNS-no extensions= 76% effective
-Brave-Quad9 DNS-uBlock Origin= 76% effective (this surprised me. uBlock made no difference)

My testing is done.

IOS, ProtonVPN has NetShield Enabled, and Mullvad has every blocker enabled. Both browsers are in Private Browsing. Safari is configured by guides across the net, such as Techlores video and The New Oil. NextDNS has my custom configuration:

  1. Brave + ProtonVPN = 94%, does not block Amazon or Pinterest.
  2. Brave + MullvadVPN = 100%
  3. Safari + Ka-Block! Extension + ProtonVPN = 83%, does not block Amazon, Bugsnag, Sentry, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, TikTok, or Huawei.
  4. Safari + Ka-Block! Extension + MullvadVPN = 98%, did not block Sentry, or Reddit.
  5. Brave + NextDNS = 100%
  6. Safari + NextDNS = 84%, does not block Sentry, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, YouTube, Yahoo, Yandex.

Linux, all DNS is done via Portmaster firewall. Quad9, Adguard, Cloudflare (no malware filter), and Foudation for Applied Privacy (FAP) are the default servers Portmaster comes with. For Librewolf, uBlock is set to allow all scripts (setting to block all, breaks the site). With tweaking (on uBlock’s Medium mode) I could get Librewolf to 100%. DNS cache was cleared between cycles. Both Aggressive and Standard settings in Brave kept giving me the same results:

  1. Brave + Quad9 = 87%, did not block Doubleclick, FastClick, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube.
  2. Librewolf + Quad9 = 84%, does not block Doubleclick, FastClick, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube.
  3. Brave + Adguard = 87%, did not block Doubleclick, FastClick, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube.
  4. Librewolf + Adguard = 79%, did not block Doubleclick, FastClick, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Youtube.
  5. Brave + FAP = 87%, did not block doubleclick, Fastclick, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube.
  6. Librewolf + FAP = 82%, did not block Doubleclick, FastClick, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube.
  7. Brave + Cloudflare = 84%, did not block Doubleclick, FastClick, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Youtube.
  8. Librewolf + Cloudflare = 79%, did not block Doubleclick, FastClick, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Youtube.
  9. Brave + NextDNS = 84%, did not block Doubleclick, FastClick, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Youtube.
  10. Librewolf + NextDNS = 85%, did not block Doubleclick, FastClick, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Youtube.
  11. Brave and Librewolf configs + MullvadDNS = 87%, did not block Doubleclick, FastClick, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Youtube.
  12. Tor browser = 13% - 57% - 26% - 82% - 16% = I did this test 5 times, because I noticed that the results had large swings on them. I wonder if it has something to do with the Nodes Tor connects to, to make the connection? On each launch it uses different nodes, hence the varied results. It’s why this is the only result I’m mentioning all the scores, instead of what was not blocked.

Something felt off about the desktop results. So I did them another 2 times (so a total of 3). The data here is the average of the 3. Between each test, I cleared DNS cache, browser cache, localstorage, cookies, and so on. Still kinda felt off. I then decided to test both a fresh install of Chrome and Firefox, with no config changes between them:

  1. Firefox + NextDNS = 99%, did not block Sentry.
  2. Chrome + NextDNS = 99%, did not block Sentry.

Do these settings look unusual to you? They do to me. They go contrary to pretty much every result I’ve done. So, I then tried with a fresh Librewolf profile, to see if I had a corrupted profile… Nope, the same result. Now I do not want to say the test is wrong, but it’s not aligning with my own biases, that other tests have confirmed. So even though both Chrome and Firefox tested better, I still am highly unlikely to recommend Chrome.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’m going to bleach my computer, making sure not to have any Chrome residue left behind. No offense to those who use it… it’s not for me.

For a little mobil browser comparison.

CalyxOS 4.2.3 Android 13 Orbot version 16.6.3-RC-1-tor.0.4.7.10 (On w/ VPN mode off) ProtonVPN (Connected)

Chromium version 106.0.5249.79 = 88%
TOR Browser version 102.2.1-Release (11.5.6) = 76%
Brave version 1.45.127 = 74%
DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser version 5.142.2 = 7%

Similar scores with Calyx VPN vs. Proton VPN.

Very cool.
The Brave + MullvadVPN combo was surprising.

this is such an amazing post.
thanks so much @Cdf

shocking omg.

regretting that i stopped using nextdns

I have Brave + Quad9 DNS + Privacy badger extension + uBlock and its 85% effective.

Brave + Quad9 DNS = 85% on mine again.

it showed 85% with 2 added extensions.

why same config is different on my system?

EDIT : I just realised I have Apple’s inbuilt firewall enabled as well.

Same setup with Rethink: DNS + Firewall (Firewall apps, monitor network activity, block malware, change DNS.)

Instead of Proton VPN

Chromium = 100% (optional Apple not blocked)
Brave = 88%
TOR = 58% refreshed 35%…

Safari + iCloud Relay + Apple’s mac firewall +NextDNS (most tracking lists enabled) = 100% :astonished: :exploding_head:

Safari + iCloud Relay + Apple’s mac firewall +Quad9 = a measly 12%

Brave + NextDNS + Apple’s mac firewall = still 85%?!?!?

how is this possible?

I did the test with Brave alone and its still 85%. Is something broken on my end?
There are no cookies to clear either.

Brave + NextDNS w/ oisd + fanboy gives me 100%

Also fun fact: The developer of this tool (d3ward) is the one who developed the Techlore website!

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That definitely seems very odd.

I don’t think the site is working correctly. I disabled everything with uBlock Origin’s dynamic mode, and the site still says that it had connected to some domains even though I could see in the Ublock that everything was blocked. Also, uBlock’s medium mode doesn’t seem to work normally on this site since it should block all third-party scripts and frames by default, but for some reason, it isn’t doing that with this site. So, I wouldn’t necessarily make any big conclusions just based on this site since it differs so much from normal websites.

Not sure if NextDNS should get all the credit.

Brave helped pick up 16%, compared to Safari, and the same NextDNS config. Brave also shined with Mullvad.

Are you using Mullvad with its ad/tracking protection? I believe Mullvad uses Easylist

Not just easylist.

So the first bunch of tests I did was strictly with the IOS app. Then I did tests on the desktop. The desktop results were very different compared to the IOS ones. Here is the post, it’s just below op, on this thread. In the case of my quote, I was referring to the IOS tests. It’s what Polly originally linked to (as I didn’t finish getting everything, at that point).

Thanks for the info!

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The thing that surprised me was that I use ublock+Librewolf. The strict mode in Librewolf blocked many trackers, but the website showed that the trackers were not blocked. Funny.

iOS Safari with Wipr and NextDNS: 100%

MacOS Safari with Wipr and NextDNS: 100%

On NextDNS I have the standard NextDNS block list plus Apple trackers list.