If you are like me, you’ll find ads on websites annoying. I openly admit that I use an adblocker to prevent irritating interruptions to my browsing. However, that’s hypocritical, given I am a blogger and online business owner, so I know how adblockers can impact my revenues. So today, I will explain how WordPress adblocker detector plugins can help identify sites blocking ads and how you can partially overcome the problem.
What Is an Adblocker, and Why Is It Bad for Your Website?
An adblocker does exactly what it says on the tin – it blocks ads, so when a visitor lands on your site, any ads you are running will be hidden. It does this by blocking web requests that download page elements into your browser.
The main benefit for users is eliminating ads that plague their browsing experience, but page loading times can also improve. However, the user has a downside – the adblocker may also block some wanted content, but for many, that is a minor price to pay for an ad-free browsing experience.
As for website owners, adblockers are specifically designed to block YOUR ads and, therefore, will directly impact YOUR ad revenues. For example, Google AdSense pays you every time their ads appear on your site, and if they are blocked, you simply won’t get paid.
Adblockers create more significant problems than most website owners realize. According to the 2021 PageFair Adblock Report published by adblocking recovery experts, Blockthrough, adblocking continues to grow steadily, with around 843 million users currently using them globally. Unfortunately, the financial impact of that is difficult to assess accurately, with plenty of contradicting statistics in circulation. However, one thing is certain; since their first inception, adblockers have cost the industry billions in lost advertising revenues.
How To Detect Adblock Users and Bring Them Targeted Messages
All these grim statistics and tales of doom have probably by now driven you to the liquor store to drown your sorrows. But there is some good news. According to the abovementioned 2021 PageFair Adblock Report, “Adblock users are twice as likely to accept light, non-intrusive ads rather than engage with Adblock walls or pay for content.” Therefore, ads are not about to bite the dust completely.
Detecting visitors who are using adblockers when on your site should be the first step in a strategy to minimize losses. Of course, you can do this manually, but that requires messing around in the backend of your WordPress, something which freaks many people out, particularly beginners. Therefore, a WordPress Adblock detector plugin is the cleanest, most uncomplicated option. Moreover, many of these often have extra functions to help get your ads back in front of users.
Following detection of an adblocker, you have a few options from which to choose:
- Block the requesting site from accessing your site further until they whitelist it (i.e., allow ads). This ‘strict mode’ is a terrible option and not one I would recommend in any circumstance, as it creates resentment and gives your site a bad name. For example, media giant, Forbes, used this approach and found it damaged their reputation to the point where they had to back off. Here is the message that caused so much consternation:
- Do absolutely nothing. As frustrating as this might sound, at least the user will be able to view your site, albeit without ads, which is often better than them not seeing the site at all.
- Notify users that you have detected an adblocker and politely try to persuade them to whitelist your site, just like dating website OkCupid did. Users could continue using the site, but the popup message politely asked them to support the site by whitelisting it. They even suggested that (tongue in cheek) users pay $5 to remove ads forever.
The wonderful thing about this approach is there is no love lost between the parties, plus users will still be able to see your site, albeit without ads. However, the key to success with this strategy is to ensure your ads aren’t intrusive or spammy and never contain malware.
- Use alternative content to fill the voids left by the absent ads. However, this is not an easy option to implement.
Our Recommended Adblock Detector Plugins
Given the impact adblockers are having on monetized site revenues, it is surprising that few decent WordPress Adblock detector plugins are available, at least ones that the developers still support and update. I spent quite a lot of time searching, and here are the best ones I could find:
Article Continues Below
CHP Ads Block Detector
CHP Ads Block Detector is available in both free and premium versions. This WordPress adblock detector plugin will find most of the adblocking extensions installed on a user’s browser and then display a popup requesting the blocker be disabled or the site whitelisted. Page access remains restricted until that happens.
The features of the free version of this plugin include:
- Detects most adblockers
- Customizable title and user message to users
- Option to show or hide the refresh and close buttons
- Customizable button text
- Ability to change the popup’s style
Pro plans are available with prices starting at $20 per year for a single site. These upgrade the plugin to include:
- Custom overlay effect
- Body scroll control
- Option to disable the popup for individual posts or pages (incl. WooCommerce)
- Multilevel adblocker check
- Advanced analytics
- Customization options to match your site branding
- Sticky notification and message timer
- Updates and support
CHP Ads Block Detector is a good option if you wish to withhold content until the user disables the adblocker or whitelists your site. However, as mentioned earlier, that is not my favored option.
There are currently over 800 downloads of the free version of this plugin in circulation, and WordPress users have rated it 4.5/5.0 stars.
AdBlocker is a lightweight plugin to detect where ads, e.g., Google Adsense, are being prevented from running on your WordPress site and then display a popup requesting the user to either whitelist the site or disable the adblocker.
The free version of the plugin includes:
- User-friendly interface
- Fast, non-blocking script loading
- Options to hide the Message either after a configurable delay or using a button
- Avoids detection by Anti-adunblockers via random file and class naming
- Adapts to your theme
- Works with all popular caching plugins and SSL
Upgrading to AdBloker Pro costs from $20 per year. That covers one web domain and includes more features, including:
- Customizable title and message text
- Optional sticky notification until the site is whitelisted
- Option to deny access to the site until whitelisted
- Supports images and shortcodes
- Polylang support
- Popup can be restored even when deleted manually via Source Code (F12)
- Updates and support
Over 900 active downloads of AdBlocker exist, and it has an average user rating of 4.6/5.0 stars. I like the fact that this plugin makes blocking content until whitelisted optional, so you are not going to offend people by denying them access altogether.
Eazy Ad Unblocker
If you are looking for a completely free WordPress Adblock detector plugin, Eazy Ad Unblocker could be just what you need.
This neat little plugin detects when an adblocker is active and prompts users to either deactivate it or whitelist your site. Until they do that, an opaque mask obscures the content. Optionally, it is possible to hide the content entirely. Furthermore, you can allow users to hide the message via an “X” close button, but the opaque mask will remain until they whitelist the site or deactivate the adblocker.
Other features of Eazy Ad Unblocker include:
- Works on Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Opera, and Firefox browsers
- It is possible to disable the popup on individual posts and pages and can contain media (video, images, audio)
- Configurable popup width, opacity, and message/title text
- While the plugin is active, users cannot view the page source, the popup HTML, or use web developer tools to bypass it
- Random CSS classes and id attributes are random to defend against ad blockers
- Device responsive
I like that this plugin offers a compromise between blocking and showing the content, allowing users to continue viewing the site, albeit not clearly. The plugin scores 4.3/5.0 with WordPress users, and over 300 downloads are in operation.
Gotham Block Extra Light
Gotham Block Extra Light is a free WordPress Adblock detector plugin that, in common with the other plugins mentioned so far, displays a popup when adblockers are blocking ads on your site. However, I like this one because it has three levels of aggressiveness for the popup:
- repeatedly display the popup at preset time intervals;
- on every page load, but the user can close it; or
- prevent all further navigation until the adblocker is deactivated or the site whitelisted.
Other features you will get with Gotham Block Extra Light include:
- Fully customizable
- Device responsive
- Compatible with Firefox, Google Chrome, Edge, and Safari browsers
- The default text is in English and French, but the text is customizable to any language
According to the WordPress plugin directory listing, a premium version of this Gotham Block Extra Light is available. However, I could not find any details of that, even on the developer’s website. That aside, the free version has a 4.0/5.0 user rating, and over 200 downloads are active, so it is still a worthy option to consider.
Admiral Adblock Analytics
Admiral Adblock Analytics is somewhat different from the other plugins in this list. Instead of detecting when a user is using an adblocker, it gives you an overview of your lost revenues caused by adblockers, thereby allowing you to focus your recovery efforts where they are needed.
Key features of this free plugin include:
- Track active website visitors using adblockers
- Measure revenue lost from those visitors
- Simple, clear analytics
Before using Admiral Adblock Analytics, it is necessary to register for an account with them, which some folk may object to, but it is what it is. While the analytics are free, you can also implement automatic revenue recovery, a performance-based service where you pay 30% of the recovered ad revenue. The way I see it, 70% of ad revenue is better than having zero ad revenue!
Overall, Admiral Adblock Analytics is an excellent way of seeing how big an impact adblockers are having on your site, and that will allow you to decide if you need to take further action
What Is Your Favorite WordPress Adblocker Detector Plugin?
While a WordPress Adblock detector plugin won’t be able to recover all revenue lost because of adblockers, it can go some way toward softening the blow. Keeping your ads low-key and politely asking adblocking users to whitelist your site can go a long way to bringing you more ad revenue than you are probably getting right now.
As I already mentioned, I really struggled to find many decent plugins that are up-to-date and have decent reviews. Therefore, I’d love to hear of any others you may be using and if they have benefitted your ad revenues.