If you’ve ever shopped for an item online and then had an ad for that same item appear on practically any site you visit, then you’ve experienced the complicated world of online tracking. At their best, browsers that track your movements across the web can serve up ads that are relevant to your interests. But more often, ads are major annoyances – sometimes advertising the very thing you just bought.
Ad Guardian Plus is a lightweight yet powerful Windows-only solution to swatting trackers and ads off your devices. BitGuardian, the company that developed the software offers a free and several paid versions of Ad Guardian Plus. Here we’ll tell you what you need to know to choose the right version for your online lifestyle.
The free version
While you can read our complete review of Ad Guardian Plus here, what you need to know is that the software offers free-for-life cross-browser ad blocking. Unlike plug-ins that need to be installed on each browser and device you use, Ad Guardian Plus works at the network level. You install it once on your machine, then no matter which browser you use, you’ll be protected from sites serving up ads, which can often slow down your browsing experience.
Amazingly, this function of the software is completely free. After you install the software package, Ad Guardian Plus gets to work in the background, automatically doing its job blocking ads. Installation is quick, hassle free, and simple. You can tailor which ads you’d like to block and even let the software know if there are sites on which you don’t want it to function.
Stepping up to the Basic version of Ad Guardian Plus will get you Privacy Guard. This function adds an extra level of browsing protection by blocking trackers from social media sites, YouTube, and any other website you visit. This means that aggressive marketers won’t know which sites you frequent, what you’ve liked on Facebook, what videos you’ve watched, or what you’ve shopped for.
This Basic level of subscription, which costs $9.25 for a month-by-month payment plan, also adds on Safe Browsing, a function that blocks suspicious websites and protects you from malicious activities like phishing and data theft. You also get a 60-day money-back guarantee and email support.
Stepping up to a Standard Plan ($5.25/month billed in six-month intervals) adds 24/7 live support.
Going for the Premium level of subscription ($3.25/month billed as one annual payment) throws in a free copy of McAfee Internet Security, which is top-level privacy protection software.
So, which plan is right for you?
If you’re a casual internet user who’s not too concerned about tracking, and you’re careful with how you share your personal information online, the free version may be just fine for you. In fact, we can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t add that version to your PC right now.
If you are a bit more worried about your online privacy and don’t necessarily want your browsing habits shared with marketers and corporations, moving up to the Premium plan simply makes sense. Not only is the average monthly price the lowest of all options, but the protection is top-notch, especially when you consider the inclusion of McAfee Internet Security, a $75 value.
Perhaps the best strategy is to download the free trial version of Ad Guardian Plus, which lets you try all the features it offers free for a full week. Then you can decide exactly what you’d like to keep and what, if anything, you’re willing to do without.