Ad-blocking techniques

I don’t much like advertisements, so if I can avoid seeing them, that’s a win. My current approach works for all the computers and devices on the home network - wifi and wired.

Previously, to block ads on a specific computer, I’d edit the hosts file - Windows, Mac and Linux all have a hosts file - and I’d paste in the thousands of hosts which are used only for advertising. You can easily search for an ad-blocking hosts file, and there are many offerings. I used this one. But this one also turned up in search results.

Now, I’ve set up my wifi so the DNS server all my hosts use is a specific device on my network, and that device serves DNS with the help of a giant ad-blocking hosts file. This solution works for phones and tablets on the local network and doesn’t need any setup for those devices - even house guests get the benefit.

For a packaged solution, see Pi-Hole, which uses a Raspberry Pi to do the same for your network.

There’s a bit of a guide and an explanation here too:

Another approach, which I haven’t used myself, is to configure your browser in some specific way (maybe not an option on phones and tablets?) There are at least three popular browser extensions, some of which aim to block cookies or otherwise enhance privacy. As ever, be careful what you install and make sure it’s the genuine article.

Also an option on computers, use a browser specifically enhanced for privacy, such as Brave - you might still need one of the other approaches too, to block ads.

I’ve used brave for a few years, and I’m sure my ads are very minimal, not to mention the lack of sites tracking me.
Like Chrome, it’s based on the Chromium browser, so has everything that chrome has, but with the privacy stuff baked in.
You can drop the shields on any site if they get funny about needing ads.
.the pi-hole / banning approach may be cleaner and save the sites ‘getting funny’ though’ I’ve dreamt of having one for a while, but don’t have a spare pi :confused:

Nice post, thanks.

1 Like