A curated list of ad-free alternatives to popular services on the web.
Am I saying you should refrain from using an ad blocker? No. But consider offsetting your act of disobedience with an act of affirmative support. Vote with your wallet. Put some money behind the writing you like—whether it’s a website or a magazine or a newspaper. “But such-and-such website won’t let me pay for it.” Then discover something new.
Alternatives to ad-supported websites, software, and publications.
- FastMail - Reliable business email with no data lock-in.
- Jami - Telephone, teleconferencing, and media sharing through a distributed service.
- Jitsi Meet - Secure video conferencing and desktop sharing using WebRTC.
- ProtonMail - Free encrypted email.
- Signal - Private messaging and calling for desktop, Android, and iOS.
- Telegram - Cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a focus on security and speed.
- Tox - Encrypted and distributed messaging platform with voice, video, and screen sharing.
- Wire - Text, audio, and video communication with end-to-end encryption.
- Write.as - Blogging platform that allows you to publish ideas without distraction.
- Mega - 50 GB of secure free storage. Files are encrypted client-side.
- qBittorrent - Free and open source BitTorrent client.
- Amaze File Manager - Open source, Material Design file explorer for Android devices.
- Bible - Bible reader with many versions and languages to choose from.
- Simple Mobile Tools - Open source Android utilities: gallery, contacts, calendar, and more.
- Libre.fm - Stream, download, remix, and share music for free.
- mStream - Suite of software for syncing and streaming music across multiple devices.
- Voltra - DRM-free music listening and discovery software that supports artists directly.
- Disroot - Collection of ethical alternatives to email, cloud storage, collaborative document editing, and more.
- Adbusters - Magazine about the takeover of psychological, physical, and cultural environments by commercial forces.
- Aeon - Digital magazine that publishes original thinking on science, philosophy, society, and the arts.
- Armstrong Economics - Educational blog about markets and the global economy.
- Common Dreams - Progressive news website.
- Consumerist - Independent source of consumer news and information.
- Ello - Media platform for creators and artists that does not sell user data.
- Popular Resistance - Independent, nonviolent, and diverse movements to end the power of concentrated wealth and put human needs before corporate greed.
- RealSport - Fans write articles on football, basketball, cricket, e-sports, motorsports, and most other sports out there. This site is committed to maintaining an experience free of pop-ups, fake news, click-bait, and ads.
- The Conversation - High quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism funded by universities.
- OpenStreetMap - Map of the world created by users and released under an open license.
- Wikipedia - Encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
- Wiktionary - Dictionary that anyone can edit.
- Weather.gov - Weather reports for places in the United States.
- Are.na - Visual platform to help you think about and organize online content.
- diaspora* - Feeds, likes, profiles, and tags; you are in control of your data.
- GNUsocial.no - Allows users to connect and share with each other; expenses are covered by donations.
- Libranet - Popular site running friendica, a federated Facebook-style social network.
- Lobsters - Simple link aggregation site with explanations required to downvote.
- Manyverse - Off the grid social network.
- Mastodon - Decentralized microblogging platform similar to Twitter.
- PixelFed - Essentially Instagram without ads, trackers, or modified timelines.
- Etherpad - Collaborative document editing in real-time.
- ProtectedText - Online encrypted notepad with storage and no sign up.
- Goblin Refuge - Video and image sharing service powered by MediaGoblin.
- Add-Art - Replaces ads with art.
- uBlock Origin - General-purpose blocker that removes ads and privacy-invading trackers by default.
Note: Avoid Adblock Plus because corporations pay to have their ads whitelisted and uBlock (unrelated to the project above) because it solicits excessive donations and has what could be considered “ads” on its own site.
These business don’t advertise yet are successful.
- Gandi - Domain registrar with a No Bullshit policy.
- Kakulas Legal - Law firm that you won’t find in the yellow pages.
- Polyface Farms - Environmentally-friendly farm that relies on word of mouth to reach customers.
Make Money Without Ads
- Flattr - Browser add-on that distributes a monthly budget to websites you engage with the most.
- Liberapay - Open source recurring donations platform.
- OpenCollective - Enables groups to set up a collective, raise funds, and manage them transparently.
- Patreon - Recurring funding for artists and creators on either a monthly basis or per creation.