If you browse through the web you will get thousands of websites which are showing ads you may or may not want to see. Even in apps, you see banners displaying the newest stuff you might want to buy on your next visit at Amazon. Just a guess but I think the majority of people don’t usually change their DNS servers or using a VPN to not show these ads in their web experience, they just accept it.
After years of just taking the ads in apps and applications, I decided to use a Raspberry Pi + PiHole DNS service at home to only let the filtered requests to my devices in the home network. It worked pretty well and I can recommend it to everyone who thinks about setting it up and maybe also learning some Linux stuff. But, as I said, the majority of people don’t want to buy a Raspberry Pi, ask someone to set it up, maintain it, buy cables and so on. I can completely understand it because I also don’t have fun to get things done I’m not familiar with or don’t interested in. Due to the fact that I’m using a different solution to get the PiHole service working in the home network (future
By the way, if you look into the pihole.log you will see a lot of requests from Smart Home devices calling to the mothership, interesting times.
But what if you want to browse through the web, aren’t interested in setting up a PiHole and just want to get the thing done? I recommend using a DNS service which takes over the installation, filtering and maintaining part of annoying ads and tracker requests. There might be some companies on the internet taking money for the service, but since people don’t want to pay for that kind of thing there is a free solution: AdGuard DNS
The setup is pretty easy, just change the DNS servers in your router or on the devices itself and here you go. When you are at home you won’t see any ads, rude websites or aren’t a victim of popular web trackers anymore. Yeah, all DNS requests will go through the company which provides the service but it’s the same thing with free stuff online – you need to trust them. If you want or not, you can decide that on your own. In my experience, the DNS service is pretty solid, fast and reliable but I’m only using it as the fallback DNS server in our home router.
There is also a solution for blocking stuff on the go if you aren’t at home. Especially on iOS devices you only can change the DNS server on specific Wifis but when using LTE, you are screwed and you will see ads again. For that reason, you need a workaround like AdGuard created for all kind of devices (Adguard iOS). It will create a pseudo VPN profile on the device which will auto-connect if the same is on LTE or an unknown Wifi (you can define your own Wifi in the app) and using data. Then it routes only the DNS requests through the VPN profile respective AdGuard DNS servers and provides an ad-free web experience since on iOS it is allowed to change DNS servers in VPN profiles.
My suggestion for people who want to browse ad-free, tracker-free and more securely through the web is to use both solutions:
- AdGuard DNS setup in the router
- covers all devices in the home network including Smart Home stuff which is pinging home
- AdGuard iOS/Android app on the phone
- covers mobile devices on every network when on the go