Recently there is a fiasco about some scanlators leaving Mangadex, forcing users to move to their sites or another aggregator sites which are full of ads and trackers. I am a lurker on r/manga but now i feel like i have to help fellow readers navigate in the aftermath.
I know this is off-topic. I would like to clarify that i don’t create softwares and i am not trying to promote any. Softwares that i listed below are for reference.
First, let’s ask yourself some questions. Do you hate ads? Do you miss the clean interface that Mangadex has? Do you feel frustrating to aggrerator sites and scanlators that-we-all-know? Or do you simply want to protect yourself in the world of ads? If yes, please proceed.
For Android users, a neat solution is to install Tachiyomi, a manga reader app. It has a lot of features like Configurable settings, Categories, Dark theme, Local library, Support many sites, etc. It’s open-source so you don’t have to be afraid that you are running some shady app on your smartphone. Be sure to grab it on Github or F-droid.
For readers who don’t want to install an app or prefer reading on sites, the best option is to install an ad-blocker. It hides ads on every sites, not just manga sites, and prevent your data being gathered. Ad-blockers block connection to ads so you don’t have to waste your precious time and data plan on downloading useless ads.
Let’s choose an ad-blocker: There are several popular ad-blockers like Adblock, Adblock Plus (ABP), Adguard, Ublock Origin (UbO), Ghostery, etc but i recommend using Adguard or Ublock Origin simply because they are open-source. Ublock Origin is more feature-rich than Adguard. Do not mistaken Ublock Origin with Ublock. They are different and made by different developers.
Open-source means all source code is available for anyone to view so they can’t do anything shady on your browser.
Now to the browser you use for reading. I suppose most of us here use Google Chrome but do understand that Google Chrome Mobile and all Chromium mobile browsers (except Kiwi Browser) does not support extensions so you can not install an ad-blocker there. Also, Google is planning to limit the power of ad-blockers on Chrome so it might not be a good option for the future. Other Chromium-based browsers that promised to keep old extension engine are Brave(*), Vivaldi(*), Ungoogled-Chromium, etc. Beside Chrome, there is Mozilla Firefox which focus on extensions (or add-on) and is better than Chrome in terms of privacy. Microsoft Edge has also moved to Chromium engine.
On PC: Anything is fine but recommend Firefox or Ungoogled-Chromium. Performance is equal between browsers (except when Google intentionally break Google sites on browsers which is not Chrome)
On Android: Kiwi browser or Bromite (both are not on Google Play Store because violating Store rule). Also Firefox but i find its performance underwhelming.
On iOS: I don’t use iOS but i assume everything is bad because Apple forces every browser to be built on Safari engine so no extension, ever. You may want to download Adguard app.
Next is how you install an ad-blocker. Simply go to your browser’s store, find an ad-blocker and press Install. After installing, there might be some configurations needed and each ad-blocker has different settings so i can’t write them all here. If there is an option “allow acceptable ads”, uncheck it. Screw acceptable ads.
After installing, you need to test the ad-blocker. Simply go to any sites that you know there are ads and check if ads present or not. Try multiple sites. If not, then congratulations, you have blocked those sites from generating new revenue.
There are also other methods for blocking ads like using host file (require root on Android) or using Pi-hole, or VPN, or private DNS but they are more advanced, we’ll talk about it once you are tech-savvy enough.
(*) I haven’t tried Vivaldi so i can’t speak for it. But Brave has a shady built in adblocker that whitelist some ads and override adblock extensions. Need confirmation.
Again, i am not promoting any software. i don’t post links here because that may violate rule 4.
[To be continued. This is my first post so i don’t know if it will be removed or not. Better not write long, may waste effort]