Testing The AdTrap
As I’ve seen in the earlier parts of this review, my mobile phone testing went very well. All of the ads were blocked both on my Chrome and Safari web browsers but also within some free games that I had downloaded as well. This is really great, especially if you have younger kids that may accidentally click ads all the time on your phone or tablet device. With no ads to click, it makes it impossible for them to see inappropriate ads but also to inadvertently click them.
AdTrap Blocks Ads in Video Streaming
YouTube, we all love it and its used by millions of viewers per day but its covered with advertisements and even video ads that you can’t typically skip. Web-based Ad Blockers also do not typically block them as well. AdTrap traps them all so you never have to see them again. I browsed dozens of videos and saw zero ads in any of the videos that I viewed. You know the yellow line on the progress bar that indicates an Ad is coming up? With AdTrap, it skips right over it like nothing was there to begin with!
AdTrap Blocks Ads in ALL Web Browsers
What about standard web pages? How well does AdTrap work with blocking ads on web pages? Well, our experience was both good and not so good. First off, the good news is that you do not need to utilize any software ad blockers any more on your computer to block advertisements. AdTrap automatically takes care of removing all of the ads for you automatically. The bad news is it simply prevents the connection to the ad servers from being made, leaving an empty spot on the web page where the advertisement should go.
Here’s what we mean. Below is the web page with AdTrap enabled. See the blank square? This is where the Google Ad would appear if AdTrap were not enabled.
While AdTrap blocks the connection to the advertising servers, as a result the web page does not look as clean if they were to use some packet injection to modify the content of the page instead. For example, here is what AdBlock does to the page by removing the ad and modifying the code on the page to make it look cleaner.
I’m not sure how possible it would be for AdTrap to add this technology and it may not bother some folks. I for one, will probably continue to utilize AdBlock on my browsers and if you do, please whitelist us 🙂 Anything that might slip through AdBlock, Adtrap will get and Adtrap will still get all of the other devices, streaming videos and other things that AdBlock simply does not work on or is able to handle.
With this issue aside, we were VERY pleased with the AdTrap blocking ability. There wasn’t any ad that wasn’t blocked in any of the devices (tablet, laptops, pc’s) or methods (browsing, streaming, gaming) that we tested.
AdTrap Whitelisting & SSL Certificate Error Discovered
AdTrap has the ability to whitelist certain sites that you wish NOT to block. I originally thought this meant that I could whitelist GeekInspector.com and all of the ads on the site would show up. This is not the case and its not exactly that easy to do. In order to allow the ads on GeekInspector.com I need to allow the advertising networks that are being blocked which serves the ads on Geek Inspector. In this case, it’s Google Adsense. This is really bad because I can’t enable Google Ads on my site and still have them blocked on other sites. I would love to have the ability within AdTrap to whitelist a site and have all of the ads on that site allowed. This would take a bit of logic in the coding but definitely possible with a bit of extra CPU and memory power of the AdTrap device.
During our testing with the Whitelisting of Google Ads, we found an issue. We added the googleads.g.doubleclick.net site to the whitelist but noticed that our ads still did not appear on the web site.
Further investigating the issue, we found that the googleads.g.doubleclick.net SSL web site was providing an invalid certificate that AdTrap was injecting in the stream. So when we browsed to the site via our web browser, we found the error and the bad certificate. AdTrap was presenting an expired VMware certificate which resulting in our browser blocking the HTTPS connection to googleads.g.doubleclick.net even thought the site was whitelisted. I would suspect any SSL web site that is whitelist would still not be viewable due to this expired SSL cert that lives on AdTrap and until its updated – whitelisting and viewing SSL will not work.
Viewing the Google Ads SSL site with AdTrap disabled, we see the real certificate load without any issues. We’ll be reaching out to AdTrap Support to learn more about this issue and if its being worked on.
The blacklist or blocking of sites actually worked better. If you have certain domains that you are aware of that you do not want to allowed on your network, you can easily add them and prevent them from being reached which was simple enough.