Blocking ads gives the end-users a much better user experience but it also stops the publishers and marketers from making money. So gradually, the industry responded with anti-Adblock that detects and can call out or stop users of adblocking technology, aka adblocker-blocker.
Guess what happens next? Adblocker-blocker-blocker has born.
Is there a better approach to deal with this madness and escape the need for browser-based adblockers?
Pi-hole is an open-source project that blocks ads on the network level. You can run pi-hole in a container, or deploy it directly to a supported operating system via the installer. It’s even better if you have a spare Raspberry PI device laying around.
Once you have Pi-hole installed, configure your router’s DHCP options to force clients to use Pi-hole as their DNS server, or manually configure each device to use the Pi-hole as their DNS server.
Or, even better, you can disable the DHCP server on your router, and let the Pi-Hole become your primary DHCP server. And you get automatic DNS based blocking of ads for every single device on your network.
So what option do I have if I don’t have a piece of spare equipment to install Pi-hole? Let’s give nextdns a try.
This next-generation DNS is a cloud-based private DNS service that gives you full control over what’s allowed and what’s blocked on the internet.
It’s even easier than Pi-hole to set it up. Head over to their website and click the Create your first configuration button.
It leads to the Setup page that lists the DNS Servers to be used to configure your home network. All you need to do next is to configure your router’s DHCP option to force clients to use the nextdns’ IPs as their main DNS server.
To start blocking the ads on the network level, go to Lists tab and switch on the Ads & Trackers service. From there, you can turn on other services nextdns offers to use, such as Cryptomining, Fake News & Clickbait, Safe Search, Porn, Social Networks, Gambling, Piracy, etc. Yes, turning on these services adds another level for parental-control to your family.
nextdns is fully customizable. You have the total control over what’s allowed and what’s blocked. Don’t want to block certain sites? Go to Whitelist tab and put their domains to the list.
On top of that, you can see what’s happening on your network with real-time analytics in the Analytics tab and query logs in the Logs tab.
How about the cost? Free during the beta, then freemium with low pricing tiers (something like free up to 500,000 DNS queries a month before $0.99/month kicks in).