Seven free blocking filters for ads

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If you have a pfSense firewall protecting your network, the pfBlockerNG plugin [6] can give you an ad blocker on top. The installation can be completed quickly with the integrated package manager. The setup is more complex, because pfBlockerNG comes with additional filters for GeoIP and reputation.

After embedding the plugin in the firewall, a variety of options are available in the web-based menu. Under the DNSBL tab, you will find the advertising filter (disabled by default) together with the EasyList blacklists (Figure 3).

Figure 3: The pfBlockerNG add-on for pfSense can do more than just filter out advertisements.

pfBlockerNG can provide more than one DNS server with blacklists on the network. The plugin integrates into the pfSense web interface and can create complex policies. The firewall rules constructed by the plugin can filter (or allow) traffic according to the credibility or geographic origin of a server IP address. Besides these nice features, pfBlockerNG also has the basics: additional blacklists, your own exceptions, and logging.

pfBlockerNG keeps its clients firmly in hand, because the data traffic runs through the firewall and not past it, as with Pi-hole and AdGuard. Because of its central position, the advertising filter cannot be bypassed. The firewall policy applies to the connected devices, whether they like it or not, which makes pfBlockerNG suitable for environments in which users perceive the filter as a restriction rather than a protector.


pfBlockerNG is intended exclusively for owners of a pfSense firewall. With its ad blocker and GeoIP filter, the plugin makes the firewall more versatile, but also makes its configuration more complex. Once successfully set up, clients are no longer able to slip past the policy. In addition to pfBlockerNG, AdGuard Home also runs on pfSense and can be a useful addition to the firewall.


Adblock [7], the in-house advertising filter from the OpenWrt free router project, can be installed as a package and integrates seamlessly into the configuration interface. Before launching, it offers a variety of blacklists, subdivided by topic, provider, and country.

Adblock works like other ad blockers: load blacklists, fill the DNS service with the lists, and collect statistics. Adblock is the only candidate that can send email if the ad blocker encounters errors. Further feedback is provided in the form of the DNS request report, which counts the corresponding requests and divides them into blocked and allowed domains.

The combination of Adblock and OpenWrt requires very little memory, which makes this ad blocker ideal for use on low-powered routers. If memory is still scarce, OpenWrt also offers a memory-optimized variant named Simple Adblock in its repository.

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