Updated · Feb 07, 2023
YouTube has always been full of ads. But lately, it’s become almost unbearable.
Is it possible to stream YouTube without ads?
Keep reading to find out how to use the platform commercial-free, why YouTube goes overboard with ads, and more!
YouTube offers a service, called YouTube Premium, that allows you to watch its content ad-free. With no bumper, overlay, skippable, or non-skippable video ads whatsoever.
Since it’s a souped-up version of the YouTube app we’re all familiar with, it unlocks many amazing capabilities. They include:
- background play
- picture-in-picture (PiP) feature
- offline access to downloaded videos and tunes
In exchange, you have to pay $9.99–$17.99/month. It has plans for individuals, families (up to five members aged 13+), and eligible students. Plus, you can give it a try for 1–3 months.
Moreover, all of YouTube Premium’s benefits apply to YouTube Music and YouTube Kids.
How To Watch YouTube Without Ads
Not everyone wants to subscribe to YouTube Premium. If you’re fed up with ads on YouTube, here are several ways to get rid of them:
Install an Ad Blocker on Your Browser
An ad blocker is an app designed to detect and stop advertising material from appearing on web pages. It scans for elements that resemble ads while a site is loading and hides them from view.
An effective ad blocker can make all media in your browser commercial-free.
Like other software programs, some ad blockers contain malware. So, beware of what you install to your browser.
To enjoy YouTube with no ads using a blocker, here are your five safest bets:
- AdBlock - It can stop YouTube ads while permitting you to whitelist the channels of your choice. So that you can continue supporting your favorite creators. Compatible with Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge, this free extension can protect you from malware too.
- Adblock Plus - On Chrome, this one can prevent YouTube from displaying any sort of ads at no cost. It lets you make exceptions so that you won’t shortchange the channels you love.
- Stands - YouTube isn’t part of its Fair Ads program, but it should give you an advertising-free viewing experience. Plus, this Chrome extension can help keep your device free from malware and trackers.
- Ghostery - This freemium extension makes YouTube ads vanish 99% of the time on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, and Edge. With its premium version, you can combat trackers, anonymize your data, and more.
- Poper Blocker - This Chrome extension works in tandem with other ad blockers to ensure you can use YouTube with no commercials. It’s not resource-intensive; it hardly impacts computer performance while running in the background.
Download a Desktop Ad Blocker App
With its progressive web app edition, you can now use YouTube Windows 10 without a browser. This is convenient, but the above ad-blocking extensions won’t work on it.
A good workaround is to go with AdBlocker Ultimate instead.
I recommend this desktop ad blocker because it:
- Prevents pop-ups, video ads, sponsored content, etc. on many Windows apps.
- Neutralizes trackers.
- Stops access to harmful domains.
- Supports whitelisting.
- Provides ad-filtering customization options.
- Keeps a log of blocked items.
- Reinforces online anonymity.
- Has the option to switch to dark mode.
- Comes with premium support.
The caveat is that AdBlocker Ultimate isn’t free.
Sold by annual subscription, it will set you back $2.49–$4.99/month. But its license can protect from 3 to 10 devices.
Thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can ask for a refund during the first month if you’re unsatisfied.
Get an Ad Blocker for Mobile and TV
To stream YouTube ads-free on your Android and/or iOS devices, subscribe to AdLock for $1.05–3.50/month.
On top of blocking YouTube ads, it can also safeguard your electronics from malware-ridden links and trace bugs and spyware.
Not only will AdLock boost your internet privacy, it will also conserve your battery life and speed up your browsing experience.
It doesn’t matter if you buy it for 1, 12, or 60 months. Its license is always good for five devices.
AdLock’s help desk is available 24/7 should you encounter any trouble. And if you experience buyer’s remorse, you can get your money back within your first 30 days.
For devices that run Android TV, the most popular options are Blokada 4 or SmartTubeNext.
If your smart TV doesn’t have a browser that can download Android Package Kit (APK) files, follow these steps:
- Download the APK file of either adblock for YouTube app to your computer or mobile device.
- Use a cloud storage service or a flash drive to move it.
- Using a file manager to access the APK file.
- Install the app.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Blocking YouTube ads isn’t the primary purpose of VPNs. But some of the best can do that and are great at it.
Here are my top picks:
- NordVPN - Formerly Cybersec, its Threat Protection can not only paralyze trackers and keep malware-carrying files at bay. It can also prevent intrusive ads from popping up.
- Surfshark - Its CleanWeb stops ads and different types of malware before they can load. As a result, you can expect faster browsing speed and keep your data usage to a minimum. Plus, Surfshark can help you avoid sneaky phishing attempts, making it one of the leading VPN services for Windows.
- CyberGhost - Available on Android, its Content Blocker is engineered to deny domains notorious for ads and infectious software programs. Likewise, CyberGhost lets you manage the public Wi-Fi hotspots you connect to.
Reconfigure Your DNS Settings
Another way to enjoy YouTube without ads is to use a private Domain Name System (DNS) service.
Private DNS servers have powerful filters that can reduce your exposure to ads and malicious sites to zero.
One of the most versatile solutions on the market is AdGuard DNS.
AdGuard DNS is a freemium service, so you can test it out on up to five devices. The free edition is limited to a pair of DNS servers and 300,000 monthly requests only.
To unlock its full functionality, you can subscribe to its Personal plan for $1.67-$2.49/month. The paid license’s benefits include:
- grants up to 20 device connections
- gives access to 5 servers
- permits 10 million monthly requests
The setup process for this YouTube ad blocker for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and routers may vary by device. But you don’t need to be super tech-savvy to set it up.
In most cases, here’s how you can route your internet traffic to its private DNS servers:
- Go to your device’s Settings.
- Choose Network & Internet.
- Long-press the ethernet or Wi-Fi network you’re connected to.
- Select Modify network.
- Reveal Advanced Options.
- Change Internet Protocol (IP) Settings from DHCP or Dynamic to Static.
- Leave the IP address, Gateway, and Network prefix length alone.
- Enter AdGuard’s DNS 1 and DNS 2 addresses.
- Save the changes.
How To Prevent YouTube From Tracking You
Streaming YouTube ads-free may lull you into a false sense of privacy and make you think nobody’s watching you anymore.
YouTube can and will still monitor your activity as before.
Fortunately, you can do something about it.
To minimize what YouTube knows about you, you should:
- Clear the playlists in your library.
- Erase your search history.
- Delete your watch history.
- Pause search and/or watch history.
- Stop liking videos.
- Unsubscribe to channels.
- Turn off location history and ad personalization.
Doing all of the above is not only time-consuming but may also negatively affect the video recommendations you get.
Unless you stream YouTube as a guest, Google’s prying eyes can still keep track of what you’re watching.
Why Are There So Many Ads on YouTube?
There are a bunch of ads on YouTube because it’s a Google company that generates most of its revenue from advertising.
But that’s just the short answer.
To understand why YouTube ads are getting more insufferable by the day, we’ll need to go into more detail.
In its purest form, YouTube is freeware; everyone’s welcome to create an account and consume unlimited content as they please. As a result, it had attracted no less than 2.3 billion viewers monthly by 2021.
Naturally, an enormous number of advertisers gravitate toward it.
Businesses advertise on YouTube because not only does it have billions of users, but it also has a global reach. Suddenly, local companies can sell to international markets — something they couldn’t do using traditional media.
Shared Ad Revenue
Generally, YouTube doesn’t produce its own content, so it has to incentivize people to upload videos to it.
When content creators meet the platform’s qualifications, they become YouTube partners and can begin monetizing their work.
If you skip YouTube ads, content creators don’t get rewarded (more on this later). Only those with viewers who let the commercials play out long enough and/or engage with them get rewarded.
YouTube reportedly takes a 45% cut from what advertisers pay. It’s quite high, but content creators still get to pocket the lion’s share.
Low Advertising Cost
Free platforms live off ads, but the problem is that most viewers hate commercials. Although some are more patient than others, the majority watch YouTube videos but skip the ads.
That’s why even many of the most followed YouTube partners don't make a living on the platform.
Content creators would’ve received higher earnings had advertisers been paying more. Unfortunately, YouTube charges them only $0.10–$0.30 per view.
That’s why YouTubers are motivated to display more commercials to boost their ad revenue.
Ironically, it could motivate viewers to turn off ads on YouTube.
YouTube doesn’t have a monopoly over online video content anymore.
It has seen emerging rivals come and go. But Twitch and TikTok have not crashed and burned. On the contrary, they’ve taken the world by storm.
Twitch has become the most popular platform for live streaming, while TikTok is synonymous with short-form video content.
Over time, enough users have emigrated to Twitch and TikTok to rattle YouTube’s cage. Subsequently, the exodus affected the overall watch time on YouTube.
In an attempt to remedy the situation, YouTube has offered live streams and short videos. But these new forms of content haven’t put a dent in the usage figures of Twitch and TikTok.
Now that YouTube has fewer viewers, it has doubled down on ad display to monetize individual users.
Again, this could give the most impatient viewers a major reason to get rid of YouTube ads.
Indirect Premium Subscription Promotion
In hopes of diversifying its revenue sources, YouTube has rolled out a paid subscription service for content consumers called Premium.
Formerly known as YouTube Red, YouTube Premium is ad-free.
Since it saw the light of day, observers have noticed the rise in the number of ads on YouTube.
Many have speculated that this is done on purpose as Google’s deliberate attempt to compel annoyed viewers to subscribe.
Considering that advertisers are YouTube’s main source of cash, this theory can be hard to believe. But it’s not a stretch.
It is possible that Google wants the stability of recurring subscription payments to offset the potential volatility of ad revenues.
Do Content Creators Get Paid When You Get Rid of YouTube Ads?
Yes and no.
Skipping ads doesn’t give YouTubers any commission. So clearly, using any sort of ad blocker wouldn’t make any content creator’s wallet fatter.
That said, bypassing commercials on YouTube won’t necessarily do any of its partners a disservice for many reasons.
First, YouTube provides content creators with several alternative sources of revenue.
Other worthwhile extra monetization options include:
- YouTube Premium royalties
- Super Chat
- Super Stickers
- and channel memberships
In addition, YouTubers can supplement their ad earnings by selling branded merchandise on the platform.
Second, content creators can build their own brands and do business directly with sponsors.
YouTubers can do this by becoming influencers and/or joining affiliate programs. Either way, they stand to make money from these deals without any intermediary.
More importantly, ad blockers can’t do anything about sponsored content on the platform.
Random commercials within the video can ruin one’s viewing experience. But creative YouTubers can neatly segue sales pitches into the content placing it more organically.
Third, YouTubers usually use multiple platforms.
That’s why streaming YouTube with no ads won’t necessarily starve creators of their revenue.
The creator economy is an ever-expanding universe. All wise YouTubers with a large following leverage every platform there is to monetize their fan bases to maximum effect.
That’s why most of them are also on:
- and/or OnlyFans
In many cases, content creators only use YouTube as a stepping stone to fame. They understand that they can’t live off the platform alone, especially since its ad revenue payouts aren’t very high.
YouTube ads are more than just an annoyance. They’re lingering reminders of Google’s tendency to invade its users’ privacy.
Thankfully, we now have multiple legal ways to stream YouTube without ads that don’t hurt our beloved content creators.
So, which method do you prefer?
Try a few to see which one suits you best!
Romj is a veteran copywriter who used to be a Jack of all trades. Now, he's trying to be a master of one: technology. He jumps down the rabbit hole to size the latest innovations up. As a content contributor for TechJury, he hopes to help you keep up in our fast-paced world with his discoveries.
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