Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Pi-hole Ad Blocker

Tired of finding the best ad blocking software and applying it on every PC and mobile device, I came across and immediately set out to test it on my network. It is a DNS based ad blocker that will handle ad blocking for all devices on your network at once. All DNS requests are sent to the pi-hole device, ad serving IP addresses are filtered out, and the remaining requests are forwarded as usual to the DNS provider of your choice.

I ran the install on a Raspberry Pi 3 and the single command install and accompanying setup was completed within minutes. Ads on my PCs and mobile devices had disappeared and the pi-hole admin console confirmed which DNS lookups were being blocked. From the admin console I can also tweak which domains are blocked or make exceptions for domains I need to access.

I have had this setup running for about 3 months without issue and little need for maintenance beyond occasionally running updates. I recently purchased a new router that forced me to switch the Raspberry Pi to wireless connectivity, which some have written can cause latency issues with the DNS lookups, but so far I have not seen noticeably delays. Overall, it was a cheap and simple project that improved my network security and user experience. 

Edit: 4 months later, this setup continues to work without issue. I was curious if the wireless connection would be a problem, but that does not appear to be the case.

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