Major news hit the gaming world recently with Microsoft announcing that it is shutting down the video game live streaming platform Mixer on July 22, 2020, due to disappointing growth and revenue.
The announcement came as a somewhat of a surprise: Mixer tallied over 3 million combined App Store and Google Play downloads in 2020, alone, and the service is the exclusive home of uber-popular streamers Ninja and Shroud. Nevertheless, Mixer simply hasn’t built up a large enough user base for the tech giant to keep it afloat.
However, there’s no reason for dedicated video game stream viewers to worry, as plenty of alternative video game live streaming platforms stack up well against Mixer, even outshining the site in certain areas.
Here are our picks for the 11 best Mixer alternatives.
Bigo Live is a streaming platform for PC, iOS, and Android released by BIGO, a Singapore-based company. Users can stream games, display their singing talents, conduct group audio and video chats, and go head-to-head against other streamers in fun competitions.
A majority of Bigo Live’s 200 million-strong user base hails from Southeast Asia, but the service is gaining popularity in the West, as well.
Bigo Live’s interactive social aspects and offbeat competitions make it one-of-a-kind, and a much quirkier beast than Mixer.
A relatively new, well-funded live streaming and social broadcasting platform released in 2018 banking on big-name celebrity broadcasters like Drake and Offset (of Migos fame) to expand its popularity and viewer numbers. Caffeine’s flashy app and website showcase a wide variety of content that goes beyond gaming.
While Mixer attracted some of the top game streaming personalities to its platform, Caffeine has thrown money at superstars in the entertainment industry hoping to become a draw for casual users outside of the niche gaming community.
DLive is a live streaming platform with a heavy gaming focus built using Lino blockchain technology. The growing platform features a unique rewards ecosystem where streamers and viewers are granted Lino Points (worth $0.012), which they can give to their favorite content creators. DLive now boasts over 5 million active monthly users.
DLive is a decentralized platform, unlike Mixer. The service places fewer restrictions on streaming content, and gives users a more generous share of earnings compared to Mixer.
Many folks might not be aware that Facebook had a dedicated game streaming platform, but it’s been right there all along, accessible from a tab on the main Facebook page. While Facebook Gaming isn’t one of the most popular game streaming platforms, Microsoft has announced a partnership with Facebook to redirect Mixer users to Facebook Gaming once the site closes, which may give the service a boost.
Facebook Gaming is just one component of a large social media behemoth, rather than a dedicated streaming platform like Mixer. However, due to Facebook’s deal with Microsoft, many streamers and communities may be making the move from Mixer over to the service.
A long-running global gaming community with a major focus on popular eSports titles such as League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. GosuGamers has a competitive focus, with a menu that features global rankings and schedules of upcoming tournaments and matches.
Gosugamers is a more focused and niche-oriented site compared to Mixer, but it’s a great destination for eSports enthusiasts.
A decent live streaming platform that boasts low latency streams and a live chat window for viewers to interact just like Twitch and Mixer. Instagib TV currently has a small but growing following among game streaming enthusiasts.
Instagib TV is a much smaller and more intimate experience than Mixer, yet offers similar streamer-to-audience interactivity features as the larger streaming platforms.
An esports streaming service with a focus on the top competitive games in the eSports world, including Overwatch, Call of Duty, and World of Warcraft. MLG isn’t a service where anyone can kick off a stream of their favorite game, but instead follows an air schedule of major matches between big-time eSports competitors.
MLG is a very different animal than Mixer, a broad, inclusive platform with many streamers playing all types of games, but it excels at delivering intense eSports matches featuring some of the world’s most talented gamers.
A versatile live-streaming app for Android and iOS used to stream all types of content and live events, including video games. Users are able to browse content on the app by type or by geographical region. Periscope has been lauded for its interactive features and the ease for which viewers can discover previously unexplored content.
While Mixer is principally for streaming video games, Periscope features a much greater diversity of content, which either is good or bad depending on your preferences.
The mother of all live game streaming platforms, Twitch is hugely popular, boasting several million live viewers and over 100,000 live channels at any given moment. Users can choose dozens streams of any game they wish to check out, including the latest AAA blockbusters like The Last of Us 2 and beloved retro titles, like Super Mario Bros. 3.
What’s more, the Amazon-owned service boasts exclusive multi-million deals with some of the most popular streamers in the business, including DrLupo and TimTheTatman.
Considering Mixer was in competition with Twitch to match it in content creation and viewer numbers before Microsoft announced it would shutter its service, Twitch has many similarities with Mixer. However, Twitch is simply bigger and better, with a greater number of streams and wider range of features and customizable functions.
Smashcast materialized in 2017 in the wake of a merger between the live streaming platforms Azubu and Hitbox. Although the service has experienced a decline in the past year, it was once one of the leading independent eSports broadcasters not based in Asia, and the site of choice of many fans for watching competitive eSports matchups.
Smashcast has a narrower scope than Mixer, with its eSports focus. However, the service does have one unfortunate thing in common with Mixer: it seems to be slowly dying out and losing its user base.
The gaming wing of the biggest online video-sharing platform in existence, YouTube Gaming is now the second-biggest live video game streaming platform behind Twitch. While it still has a long way to go to match Twitch’s viewership numbers, YouTube Gaming has been steadily drawing users away from its biggest competitor, thanks to exclusive deals with major eSports leagues like Overwatch League and Call of Duty League.
Once a separate app, YouTube Gaming has merged with the main Youtube site, and has grown into a solid live streaming platform for viewers and streamers alike, offering a wide selection of channels and support for 4K streaming.
Youtube Gaming was once neck-in-neck with Mixer for the title of Twitch’s top competitor in the video game live streaming sphere, but has since moved ahead thanks to an exclusive deal with Activision Blizzard. What’s more, unlike Mixer, Youtube Gaming allows viewers to select from a large number of stream quality options.
There are many options for video streaming entertainment today. So much so that many people now don’t bother with a cable TV subscription in order to watch movies and TV shows. However, you don’t need to pay to watch movies online because there are plenty of streaming sites that offer free movies.
Some streaming sites that charge people to watch movies or TV shows also have free movies available. Other streaming services offer free movies and TV series but charge a premium for the latest entertainment.
You probably know about fee-charging streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Those big streaming services have big advertising budgets, which streaming services that offer free movies don’t have. So, you are less likely to have heard of free movie streaming sites, which is why we decided to make this guide available.
The expensive video streaming sites have the money to pay for the exclusive broadcast rights to the very latest movies. The high costs of those rights to popular movies are out of the reach of free movie streaming sites. So, don’t expect to be able to watch the latest Hollywood movie blockbusters or new releases from Disney. Free movie sites are more likely to show classic movies, original content that is in the public domain, and different genres that cater to niche markets, such as anime or Bollywood movies.
You can waste a lot of time looking for movie streaming sites that will let you watch free movies and TV shows. However, we have tracked down the best site to save you from trawling through all of the streaming services out there. Here is our list of the best free movie streaming site in 2021:
You can read more about each of these options to stream movies in the following sections.
Crackle used to be a division of Sony, so you might see it referred to as “Sony Crackle.” However, Sony has sold off a majority stake in the free streaming site and now it is just called Crackle. The company that took over Crackle is called Chicken Soup for the Soul and it specializes in publishing self-help and motivational books. This ethos extends to the Crackle free video streaming service.
Most of the streaming site’s original content is streamed in HD quality. The user-friendly homepage makes searching for your favorite movies as easy as ABC. The TV shows are mostly in the real-life motivational and self-help TV series category, which are high quality productions. It includes reruns of TV series and movies.
Sometimes written as Popcorn Flix, this free video streaming service is ad-supported. It has a large library of full-length movies, with most of them being old. However, the site does also have original content and, although it has TV shows, the new release free movies on this streaming service are its biggest draw.
Signing up for an account isn’t compulsory in order to stream movies through a web browser. However, accounts are available and they are free.
Vudu is a video rental service that delivers through a streaming service. It is owned by Walmart. The majority of the content on this movie website is charged for, but you can also watch free movies here. Look out for the Vudu Movies on Us section, or just search for free movies – there are quite a lot on there. The video quality is good, with a lot of movies in HD quality or above and there are also videos of TV shows available to watch.
The new release blockbusters are all for rent or buy, but there are a lot of classic movies on the site and even some different genres, such as anime and Bollywood movies.
Signing up costs nothing and you can also just browse the popular movies for rent even if you don’t intend to watch them.
Tubi TV is really just called Tubi, but everyone refers to it as Tubi TV. It is the largest free movie and TV series streaming service in the USA. The service has recently been acquired by Fox corporation.
The video streaming library of Tubi TV contains more than 20,000 free movies and TV shows. The streaming service is available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, and Australia.
Signing up to the service is very easy. You need to give your name, date of birth, and email address. The email address has to be real because you will be sent a verification email before your account is activated.
Pluto TV is completely free of charge and you don’t need to go to the trouble of signing up because you don’t need an account to watch movies or TV shows with this video streaming service.
The homepage of Pluto TV is organized as a live TV service. Although Pluto TV doesn’t carry well-known TV channels like cable TV providers do, Pluto TV creates its own channels with some very good free movies and TV series.
There are more than 200 live TV channels in this free video streaming service and many of them are movie channels. This is one of the best free movie sites around and it includes many popular movies and Hollywood movie blockbusters, although you won’t get those big new releases until they have been in circulation for a while.
If you have heard about Viewster and wonder where it has gone, it has shut down and it has been bundled into CONtv. you might have heard about Viewster if you are a big anime fan because that streaming service has its own anime channel. However, CONtv would be your best bet for anime now.
The CONtv streaming service is ad supported. This movie website is great for Sci-Fi, thriller, and Horror fans. The website was originally set up to serve the attendants of Comic-Con events.
You need to go through the process of signing up for an account to watch movies on CONtv, but it’s a very straightforward process and there’s no charge.
The homepage is organized to look identical to Netflix. You scroll through the categories of free movies and then click on a title that interests you to get more information. Click on it again to watch the movie in your web browser.
As the name suggests, Classic Cinema Online shows classic movies. These are not just old movies but very old. However, the site has a large library of free movies from the 1930s and before. It even has a whole segment for silent classic movies. Movie types include Horror, Thriller, Comedy, and some very clunky low-tech Sci-Fi.
If you are into old movies then this is the movie website for you. The video stream is of high quality so, the lower resolution of these old films is still watchable.
Cord cutters are turning to live TV streaming services or on demand movie streaming sites as an alternative to cable TV services. One of the competitors in the cable TV replacement market is YouTube TV. That is a subscription service. However, back on the old YouTube, you can watch movies and TV shows for free.
YouTube has been around for a long time and it has a winning formula. Although the site is meant to show user-generated original content that is in the public domain, there are a lot of movies and TV series on there, too.
YouTube is a property of Google and its big money backing and longevity means it is a survivor in the video streaming industry and has ended up being a host for other streaming services. For example, SnagFilms used to run its own free video streaming service but has now shut down its movie website and just operates a channel on YouTube instead.
You don’t need to sign up for an account in order to watch movies on YouTube, you just have the challenge of finding them. However, once you have found one free movie that you like, the system will organize a playlist of similar content for you to watch. The homepage of the streaming site also has suggestions for videos that are popular.
Kanopy doesn’t show Hollywood blockbusters but you should be able to find some great popular movies on the site. The HD quality of the video streaming system makes for very enjoyable viewing.
Kanopy has a special niche, shared with Hoopla (below). It rents videos for free on its streaming services and charges local libraries for the exposition. You need to have a library card to set up an account with this movie website but it costs nothing to join.
Hoopla has the same business model as Kanopy – its streaming service is free to users, but the local library of the viewer pays a fee for each play. If your local library doesn’t subscribe to Kanopy, it might use Hoopla instead.
As well as movie streaming, Hoopla has a library of audiobooks, music, and eBooks and all of these can be accessed through the rental concept that mimics the lending library book borrowing methodology.
There are some popular movies to choose from on the site as well as short films, children’s entertainment. There is even some good Hollywood-level blockbuster content on there because
Popcorn Time and Putlocker are torrent-based movie websites and streaming services. They don’t hold any of the movies that they make available. Instead, they are torrent tracker hosts and the videos streamed through them are sourced from many private computers all over the world. Each of these movie websites includes a video player. So, really they are torrent clients fronted by video players that stream the file immediately rather than saving it.
Unfortunately, like most torrent systems, Putlocker and Popcorn Time don’t have the broadcast rights to any of the content that they stream and neither do any of the sources of the movies that you might watch for free on those systems. So, these are pirate video streaming services.
Sports networks are usually included with cable TV and satellite TV premium packages. The quality of sports fixtures offered by basic cable or free TV channels usually isn’t too good. Live TV broadcasts of sporting events are now almost exclusive to high-cost sports channels and many headline live games are now even being excluded from those high-priced sports channels, only available to view live as pay-per-view ticketed events.
Live TV and on-demand streaming services offer some of the best opportunities to get access to live sports fixtures and watch the experts give insights into how games can be strategized.
When considering streaming services for sports, there are two topics to consider:
In this guide, I will cover the best sports streaming services and then which TV streaming service packages are the best options to get those specialist sports channels online.
Even within the category of sports streaming services, there are two divisions: sports channels run by specific sports organizations and sports networks that cover a range of sports.
First, here are the best streaming services for specific sports that gives access to live games streaming and sporting event virtual tickets:
Here are the best TV sports networks that offer streaming services:
Getting access to live games is a complicated pursuit. Many leagues sell off the rights to certain fixtures to one network, other rights to other channels, and retain rights to some games for live streaming on their own streaming services. Live TV coverage of sporting events is the most sought-after service for sports fans. Possessing the exclusive right to show live games can make or break a broadcaster and bidding is fierce for headline sporting events.
The winners of the rights to the big sporting events have to bid high and they pass that cost on to their customers. That applies to live streaming services, cable TV channels, and over-the-air channels, such as NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox. In the case of streaming services and satellite and cable TV channels, that cost is passed on in higher prices for those premium sports channels. ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox recover their costs by increasing the price of advertising slots during the broadcasting of live sports events.
The best sports streaming services are those that have the most licenses to top sporting events and they are more expensive to subscribe to. Each individual subscriber needs to examine the channel lineup in each package and decide on a budget. If you are prepared to opt for second-chance recorded coverage of sporting events rather than watch live games, the cost of the TV service becomes much cheaper. While the specialist league sports streaming services can be subscribed to directly, general sports channels usually don’t sell to the public directly. Even when they have live streaming or on demand libraries on their sites, they require visitors to log in with their TV package details before allowing them to watch any content.
The best TV streaming services for sports fans are:
In all of these cases, you get the option of different TV channel lineups at different subscription prices per month. These TV services also include general entertainment channels, such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, TNT, and the Disney Channel.
Look into the add-on options that some of these TV services offer. Some special interest sports channels, such as the Golf Channel or the Olympic Channel might be part of a higher channel lineup package or could be available as add-ons. Premium entertainment channels such as HBO, Showtime, or Starz are also available as add-ons to these TV services.
These TV services also often include local channels that have local sports features and regional sports networks. They fully substitute for satellite or cable TV packages. These live TV streaming services are becoming increasingly attractive to people looking for an alternative to traditional TV service. This movement is called “cord cutting” and involves getting a TV service over the internet with a live TV streaming service.
No doubt, you will have noticed that the big-name streaming services Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max are not on our list. That is because these three streaming services don't include live TV and they have almost no sports extras to offer sports fans.
You can read more about our seven recommended TV services for sports fans in the following sections.
FuboTV is probably the best cord-cutting TV service for sports fans and their families. It originally started out as a streaming service for soccer fans. It then expanded to cover more sports and then added on TV shows and a channel lineup to please all of the family. So, unless you live alone, you are going to need a full live TV service like fuboTV in order to get approval for the subscription from other family members.
This is a great streaming service for sports fans.
The channel lineup of the top package available from fuboTV includes 173 channels and addon packages can bump that number up even further.
The standard package includes NBC SN, PAC and BEIN Sports channels, Fox Sports, the NFL Network, MSG, MSG+, and CBS Sports Network. Sports extras include a Latino sports networks package and international sports channels. Entertainment TV channels on the service include live TV from ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, and TNT.
AT&T TV Now is what used to be called DirecTV Now. This is a cord cutting service that competes directly with cable TV plans. The channel lineup of this TV service is organized into two plan options: Plus, which has 45 channels and Max which has 60 channels.
General entertainment channels in both plans include ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, TNT, the Disney Channel, MTV, and local channels. Sports channels include NBC Sports Network, ESPN, MSG, MSG+, and regional sports networks. The Max package includes HBO, Cinemax, and NBC Golf.
Hulu + Live TV is the higher plan of the Hulu streaming service. While Hulu is an on-demand streaming service Hulu + Live TV adds on a cord cutting cable TV replace live TV streaming service. The Live TV plan is one standard package with 65 TV channels. This can be enhanced by addons.
The entertainment channels in the Live TV plan include ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, TNT, TBS, The CW, Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery, MSNBC, Disney Channel, CNN, and Telemundo. The sports channels in the plan include NBC Sports Network, Fox Sports, CBS Sports Network, the Olympic Channel, Golf Channel, Marquee Sports Network, and ESPN. The Fox and NBC services give access to regional sports network.
Sling TV is one of the leading TV services that caters to cord cutters. Its channel lineups are offered in two plans: Sling Blue and Sling Orange. Both include sports networks, but the sports channels in Sling Orange have higher value. Consequently, though both packages have the same price, Sling Oranges has fewer channels.
Sling Blue offers 50 channels, which include NBC, Fox, AMC, TNT, TBS, Bravo, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Discovery Channel, Cartoon Network, and Nick Jr, Sports channels in the package include NFL Network, NBC Sports Network, and Fox Sports. Sling Blue subscribers get access to regional sports networks.
Sling Orange has 32 TV channels, which include AMC, TNT, TBS, Bravo, CNN, MSNBC, Disney Channel, and Disney Junior. The sports channels in Sling Orange include ESPN and ESPN2.
YouTube is a cable TV replacement service for cord cutters and is owned by Google. YouTube has been running since 2005 and is a very successful free on demand streaming service. Although it shares the same name, YouTube TV is a completely different concept to the original YouTube. This is a TV streaming service that competes with Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV and it is the third largest TV streaming service in the United States.
The TV service has one base package and then a number of addon options. This streaming service is a good option for sports fans because it includes some high-quality sports channels.
YouTube TV is particularly rich in college sports networks. These include ESPNU, ACC Network, ACC Network Extra, SEC Network Big Ten Network, and CBS Sports Network, which includes college sports programming along with its professional sports service.
Other sports channels are ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, MLB Network, NBA TV, Golf Channel, the Olympic Channel, Tennis Channel, Fox Sports 1 and 2, and NBC Sports Network, which gives access to the regional sports networks. Fox Soccer Plus is available as an add on.
Entertainment TV channels in the YouTube TV package include ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, TNT, TBS, AMC, Bravo, Discovery, Investigation Discovery, FX, FXX, CNN, MSNBC, The CW, Telemundo, the Disney Channel, and Disney Junior.
This guide doesn’t attempt to review all of the sports streaming services out there. We have concentrated on presenting the best TV packages for those who want to switch from a cable TV service to a more sports-rich TV streaming service. If you are happy to keep your cable TV deal and you are just looking for extra sports channels, then you could consider the professional sports league networks, most of which have plans that give access from the streaming services website through a direct subscription.
Be aware though, that most of the sports leagues have sold of the rights to their biggest games to the major sports networks. So, surprisingly, you won’t be able to watch the big NFL games on the NFL Network.
Another issue to watch out for is blackouts. No doubt, you want to sign up to a sports channel so that you can watch your favorite team from the comfort of your own home. If, like most people, your favorite team is the one closest to you, there won’t be much joy to be had from subscribing to the professional sports network for that team. This is because they won’t show you live streams of the team closest to your home.
The local blackouts imposed by professional sports league streaming services are due to the initial objections that franchise holders raised when the creation of these streaming services was proposed. They argued that live streams would damage ticket sales. As a compromise, they don’t allow subscribers to watch their local team play live on the streaming services.
The MLB is particularly bad in this respect. You can’t watch your local team play at home or away. If you are traveling, you can’t watch any game involving the team that is closest to where you are located at the time of trying to access the streaming service. In short, it is better to watch sports on live streaming services through the major sports networks.
Advertisements on websites can be really annoying and some sites overwhelm their content by drowning them out with ads. The good news is that it is possible to filter out most of the ads on websites and improve your browsing experience by installing an ad blocker.
Ad blocking isn’t illegal but it does annoy the people who run websites. To clarify, placing advertisements on a website is not illegal. Many ad blockers are also tracker blockers, but trackers are a separate issue. Ad blockers just strip the ads out of web pages. Many of them also block trackers. They don't remove cookies -- that's also a separate issue. With retargeting, ad blockers will remove the ads in most cases.
Many information-based businesses, such as newspapers, rely entirely on the intrusive ads on their sites for revenue. The use of ad blockers has seriously damaged the profitability of those businesses. However, they need to find different income models because the use of ads on websites has gotten out of control.
As a response to ad blockers, some prestigious news sites have switched to a subscription model. They allow the general public to see their main websites, but block access to individual articles to those who haven’t paid (known as a paywall). However, they still plaster ads all over the websites that people pay to access. Others block access when they detect an ad blocker and insist that the viewer whitelists their site (excludes it from the ad blocking action) before allowing access.
Video ads that take a while to load and have high-volume sound on them can be particularly embarrassing if the viewer of that web page is in a public place or place of work at the time. They are the most intrusive ads on the web. Fortunately, video ads are particularly easy to block.
Amazingly, most of the best ad blockers available are free to use. The usual format deployed by these systems is the browser extension. These free ad blocker plugins:
With most free ad blocker browser extensions, some acceptable ads will still get through, particularly if they are embedded in the text of the web page. However, one or two ads are not as distracting as the ads-soaked websites that people without ad blocking utilities have to put up with.
Systems that block ads aren’t just catering to anti-capitalists. Malware can infect computers by hiding in online ads and downloading onto the viewer’s computer as the code for ads loads into the web browser. Popular ad blockers don’t just block ads, they are also pop-up blockers and they block trackers as well. These handy add-ons are actually cybersecurity tools.
Social media buttons are not as likable as people think. They are trackers because the images for them have to be fetched from the sites that they advertise. That action gives the social media companies the opportunity to log the visit to a website from your IP address. So, Facebook and Twitter can compile a profile of your internet surfing even if you don’t have an account with those platform.
The best ad blockers will strip out social media buttons (called “widgets”) from your favorite websites as an added blocking feature. This task is performed while also blocking banner ads, pop-up ads, video ads, trackers, and other adware and malware from your favorite sites.
Whereas most cybersecurity tools are written to work on specific operating systems, ad blockers run in web browsers, so you don’t have to worry about whether the service will run on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS (for iPhones and iPads), or Android. However, you need to pay attention to which web browser they are made for.
As Google Chrome is the most widely-used web browser, there are more ad blocking extensions available for that browser than any other. The next best catered for web browser is Mozilla Firefox.
Many anti-adware producers don’t bother to create versions for Internet Explorer because that web browser has been replaced by Microsoft Edge. The Edge web browser is the third most catered-for browser in the ad blocking market.
Safari and Opera web browsers have far fewer ad blocking add-ons available. The Opera web browser’s producers have resolved the problem of their utility being overlooked by the creators of ad blocker extensions and built their own ad blocker app into settings of the web browser.
Here is our list of the best ad blocker plugins available for the major web browsers:
You can read more about these popular ad blockers in the following sections.
AdBlock is a very popular ad blocker with more than 40 million users all over the world. This useful tool blocks ads on websites in a variety of formats, including banner ads, pop up ads, and video ads. The ad blocker features include whitelisting and the option to allow acceptable ads.
The plugin has a handy icon that sits at the end of the address bar in your web browser. This reports on its activities while it blocks ads. It will also block trackers. It is the most widely use ad blocker as a Google Chrome extension. The free add-on is also available for Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera. There is also an ad blocker app for Android, iPhone, and iPad.
Despite similarities in the name, Adblock and Adblock Plus are not related and they are produced by two different software houses. So, which is better AdBlock or AdBlock Plus? Honestly, it is very hard to choose between these two excellent ad blocking add-ons. However, the social media widget blocker in ABP pushes it ahead slightly.
ABP is a free ad blocker and is available as a Google Chrome extension. It is also possible to add this plugin to Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Opera. The tool add-on includes whitelisting and an acceptable ads setting. Otherwise, it will block banner ads, video ads, and any other adware and malware contained in websites. It is also a pup up blocker and it will block trackers. Another ad blocker feature of this plugin is the ability to remove special media buttons from websites. Look for the secure web browser produced by ABP for Android devices and iPhones in your app store.
This ad blocker is a good choice for those who insist on only using open source software. An open source project is one that allows anyone to see its programming code. This enables users to be sure that there is no hidden malware within the system.
This is a Chrome extension and is available as a plugin for Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Yandex. A version for Safari will run on iPhones and iPads. there is also a secure AdBlocker Ultimate browser for Android devices and a version that runs on Microsoft Windows, protecting all internet connected software from adware and malware. All versions of this anti-adware system block banner ads, video ads, phishing attempts, pop-up ads, and trackers. The Windows-based version is more of an anti-malware system and it is charged for by subscription. The web browser extensions are free.
uBlock Origin is a free, open source ad blocking system that is available as a Google Chrome extension and as a plugin for Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Opera web browsers. Users with advanced understanding of how ad blockers operate have the option of switching between pre-installed filter lists or installing a new one. Ad blocking features include the blocking of banner ads, popup ads, and video ads. The system will also pre-filter URLs and block trackers.
Ghostery was designed to block trackers, including social media widgets, but it also functions as an ad blocker. The web browser extension is free to use. It is a product of the company Cliqz, which produces a secure web browser. There is a Ghostery add on for the Cliqz browser and also a Google Chrome extension. Ghostery is also available as a plugin for Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Safari. There are secure Ghostery ad blocker apps for Android devices and iOS (iPhones and iPads).
AdGuard is free as a browser extension. The company behind the add-on also producers operating system-based security services for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS (iPhones and iPad). The Android and iOS free versions provide a base level of protection with upgrade options available for a fee. The web browser plugins are available for Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera, and Yandex. There is also a Google Chrome extension version of AdGuard.
This ad blocker will block trackers and spyware as well as all types of adware. It has a blacklist that warns about phishing websites and it has extra procedures to trap ad blocker circumvention attempts. It offers users the opportunity of both whitelisting and blacklisting. The Chrome extension has been installed more than 4 million times, so this is a very popular ad blocker.
Poper Blocker’s user rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on the Chrome Store, where it has been downloaded more than 2 million times. The free pop-up blocker prevents websites opening new tabs or creating a new browser window, so it scuppers a lot of the annoying tricks that infected websites get forced to perform, not just those sites that intentionally launch pop-ups.
The service will also block overlay ads, which cover up the content of a web page that you want to read. This browser add-on won’t strip out ads embedded in web pages but it is better at blocking pop-ups than standard ad blockers. It is available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Baidu.
AdLock produces system protection for Windows and Android which are charged for. However, it also provides free browser plugins. There is a free Google Chrome extension and a free add-on for Safari. These web browser extensions will block banner ads, pop-up ads, and video ads. The utility will also protect your privacy by blocking spyware and trackers. The AdLock system also detects damaging elements in websites such as phishing strategies and malware and blocks them from loading in the web browser.
The TunnelBear Blocker is an awesome ad blocker and privacy system. TunnelBear is a VPN system and it is charged for by subscription. However, the TunnelBear Blocker is free to use and you don’t have to install the VPN in order for it to work.
The TunnelBear Blocker goes a little further than most blockers. It will block ultrasonic tracking methods. This little-known tracking system plays as invisible signals under the soundtrack of videos in websites. The system also blocks regular trackers and affiliate links. This blocker also scans websites for malware and phishing strategies before allowing them to load into protected web browsers.
The one problem with the TunnelBear web browser extension is that it is only available for Google Chrome.
Although most of the ad blockers in this list produce add-ons for Opera, the makers of the Opera web browser didn’t realize that their web browser would be so well catered for when the concept of ad blockers first arose. They decided to stake their pitch for new users by making their web browser a very secure service.
The idea of an ad blocker within a browser makes sense, which is why all of the successful ad blockers operate as browser extensions. Google Chrome has a built-in ad blocker, but it isn’t very good because it doesn’t work too well to block Google Ads. Opera doesn’t get an income stream from placing ads in websites, so its ad blocker is a lot more effective.
Once you have an ad blocker installed, you will find that quite a few websites will just block your access entirely until you whitelist them. Some features that you want to access won’t work anymore. For example, many online streaming video players won’t run if you have an ad blocker in place.
Ad blockers fix one problem and create others. Thanks to whitelisting, ad blockers allow you to be in control. You will be able to decide when to allow pop-ups and ads and when to block them. You will be in control of what happened on the devices you own.
Internet freedom is a complicated topic in India. Many levels of government and an independent judiciary all have powers over web content and entertainment. For example, there are no specific bans on gambling websites in India but gambling is illegal in the country, so you will find it almost impossible to open an account with a gambling website from an Indian address.
Dating and sex are other difficult topics in India. LGBT websites are not banned, but homosexuality is illegal in India, so there aren’t many Indian-based gay websites and people visiting overseas LGBT-themed websites need to be careful that their online activity isn’t traceable.
The Indian government will often fine, shut down, or block dating sites under the guise of protecting public moral standards. You also can’t visit escort or porn sites in India. The national censors uphold India’s moral standards, making a lot of US blockbuster entertainment unsuitable for broadcast in India.
All levels of government and the judiciary can issue temporary website bans and order arrests for activities that don’t actually breach any laws. These ad-hoc interventions are performed “in the public interest.” Religious festivals can spark riots or terrorist activities, so local courts are empowered to ban a large number of websites “until further notice.”
Other limitations on internet freedom in India also apply in many countries around the world – torrenting is banned and access to torrent index sites, such as The Pirate Bay is blocked.
Local governments and law courts in India are apt to shut down the internet completely during school exam time or when professional exams are taking place. For example, the government of Rajasthan shut down internet access entirely within the state for two days in July 2018 because police recruitment tests were taking place. These complete shutdowns are very common in India and so are temporary bans on specific websites, particularly social media sites. They can shut down Facebook or any other site for a few days in a few towns if they want to … and they frequently want to.
Government surveillance and internet access controls are easy to implement because all access to the internet is facilitated by internet service providers (ISPs). This means that all internet traffic from end users out onto the web has to pass through the computers of one ISP or another. That creates opportunities for monitoring, logging, and website blocks.
Web addresses need to be translated into internet addresses, known as "IP addresses," before the browser can send out requests for web pages. Each ISP runs a lookup service, called a "domain name server," which is part of the Domain Name System (DNS).
Website bans in India are implemented by altering the records in DNS tables. If the Indian government wants a site to be blocked, it sends a notification to ISPs, which then alter their DNS records for that site. The replacement IP address points to a warning message page instead of the requested page. A local judge has enough power over the area he serves to make Facebook, Google, and the New York Times disappear completely as far as the local population is concerned.
Here are nine reasons that you need to evade Indian government controls:
There are two threats that you need to combat:
The logging activities and secret court-ordered monitoring implemented by ISPs means there is no privacy on the internet. All ISPs in India execute the same government surveillance routines.
Monitoring the activities of internet users is as effective as banning sites. If people are afraid of visiting sites, then those sites might as well not exist.
You can get around Indian government surveillance and website bans with a tool called a virtual private network (VPN). However, before we explain this technology, there is one more problem that we need to address.
A large number of overseas sites that Indians might want to look at impose access restrictions on their own content.
Google is different in every country. Even if you specifically try to get to the American version by typing in “google.com” instead of “google.co.in,” you will get all search results filtered for India.
Netflix allows access to its services anywhere in the world. However, you get the video library of the country that you are in and not the country you subscribed in. So, if you go to the UK or the USA and access the Netflix website, you will see TV shows and movies that aren't available in India. Other video streaming sites will let you see the page while you are in India, but you can’t watch any videos.
This phenomenon is called “regional restrictions.” It occurs on a range of sites, including the websites of newspapers and recruitment sites. People in India don’t get to see the same version of those websites that people in the UK or the USA see.
A VPN service can unblock these controls on your internet freedom.
The websites that you visit all know your IP address – they have to know where to send back the code for the request web page or video. This is how they know where you are and adapt their content according to your location. When you turn a VPN app on, you first have to select a server location. Once the VPN is active, the VPN server replaces your Indian IP address as the source of the request with its own. So, if you select a VPN server in the UK, you will appear to be in the UK and you can watch the cricket on the BBC iPlayer.
A VPN service's security features mask your connections, so the authorities and your ISP can't see which sites you are visiting. All of your communications are fully encrypted and can’t be read by the ISP. When the VPN is working, every request from your browser will be addressed to the VPN server – the IP addresses of sites that you are really visiting are hidden.
VPNs run their own DNS servers, so that gets around the government trick of DNS manipulation.
We have selected the five best VPN providers for India so that you can reclaim your internet freedom.
ExpressVPN is probably the leading VPN service in the world today. It has strong encryption that can protect customers in China from government surveillance and it will certainly block the internet controls of the Indian government. The main session of a VPN connection is protected by AES 256-bit encryption and session establishment uses RSA encryption with a 4096-bit key.
The network of servers working for ExpressVPN is spread across 94 countries, including India. The VPN apps for ExpressVPN are built for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. There is also an app for DD-WRT and Tomato routers and browser extensions for Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
The VPN service can unblock Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, and Netflix for the US, Canada, the UK, and Germany.
Security features in the VPN app include IP leak protection, a private DNS service, and a kill switch. The main VPN protocol in the VPN app is OpenVPN. However, it is also possible to switch to L2TP or SSTP. PPTP is available for manual setup.
ExpressVPN gives every customer a simultaneous connection allowance of three devices and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN is a good choice because it is one of the best VPNs in the world but also one of the cheapest VPN services around – especially with one of the 3-year special offer plans. The VPN provider runs server locations in 58 countries.
This VPN service has good connection speeds for video transfers and it can get into a lot of streaming services, including Netflix for the US, Canada, the UK, France, and India. It can also get you access to Hulu, Sky Go, ITV, and ABC, among many other streaming services.
The main VPN protocol in the VPN app is OpenVPN. However, users are also able to opt for IKEv2 and L2TP, with PPTP available for manual VPN connections. There are NordVPN apps available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Android TV. The VPN can be set up manually on routers and there are also browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox.
Security features in the app include IP leak protection, a private DNS, and a kill switch. The system can be set to automatically apply security when accessing public wi-fi hotspots. The app also includes CyberSec, which blocks ads, popups, and malware.
NordVPN customers get a six device simultaneous connection allowance and all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost has VPN servers that are tuned for torrenting and video streaming. This is a great choice for those who play games online, too. In total, the VPN provider runs a 1,550-strong network of servers all across the world. That includes 22 VPN servers in India.
The VPN apps of this service are available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire. The VPN can be set up manually on Linux computers, routers, and set-top boxes. There are also CyberGhost browser extensions available for Google Chrome and Firefox.
The main VPN protocol in the app is OpenVPN, using 4098-bit RSA encryption for session establishment and AES 256-bit encryption for the VPN connection. Other VPN protocols available with CyberGhost are IKEv2 and L2TP/IPSec.
Security features in the VPN app include automatic protection for public wi-fi hotspots, a kill switch, IP leak protection, and a private DNS server. The app will block ads, popups, and trackers and it also stops malware-infected web pages from loading in the browser.
All accounts of CyberGhost come with an allowance of seven simultaneous connections and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish is the fastest VPN available and it is great for access to streaming services. This VPN service can get into US Netflix from India plus a long list of other video sites. The server locations of IPVanish cover 75 countries.
The VPN app includes automatic protection when using public wi-fi hotspots and security features, such as IP leak protection, a kill switch, and a private DNS server. Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, and Chrome OS. Each account holder is allowed to make 10 simultaneous connections and every account comes with a seven-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark has 1,040 VPN servers in 61 countries. The VPN apps provided by Surfshark will run on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, and Playstation consoles. The VPN provider also created browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox. Security features in the Surfshark apps include a kill switch, IP leak protection, and a private DNS service. The VPN service also provides protection for public wi-fi hotspots automatically.
Surfshark has fast connection speeds, is good for torrenting, and can unblock streaming services. The company is serious about privacy protection and operates a no-logs policy. All VPN connections are protected by AES 256-bit encryption.
A free VPN version of Surfshark is available for iOS and Mac OS devices from the iTunes store. A Surfshark subscription has no limit on simultaneous connections and each plan includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.