Seven free blocking filters for ads

Ads Subtracted


Probably the best known representative of the free advertising blockers is Pi-hole [1]. The installation wizard is straightforward and can be used by Linux newcomers. After a short question and answer session, the installer leaves a preconfigured ad filter and links to the local website for administration and evaluation. Finished now at the command line, the user does the rest from a web page. With the use of preset blacklists, Pi-hole automatically loads almost 125,000 entries into its DNS service and starts working.

Pi-hole was designed for the Raspberry Pi, but it also runs on other SBCs or as a virtual machine. Even in large environments, the service cuts a fine figure. In a field test, it ran on a corporate network with about 1,200 clients without any performance losses or downtime.

Pi-hole's evaluation feature provides statistics in real time. The graphs in Figure 1 show the DNS load of all clients within a 24-hour period and the top 10 allowed and blocked websites.

Figure 1: What is allowed and what isn't? Pi-hole knows which websites were most frequently requested and blocked.


The well-documented Pi-hole is easy to install, and it works immediately. With only a few possible tweaks, it is therefore suitable for newcomers. As of recently, it can handle different clients differently and provide individual end devices (e.g., smartphones for minors) special protection.

AdGuard Home

AdGuard Software Limited began developing ad blockers for web browsers [2] and then expanded its concept with AdGuard Home [3] to include network-based blockers. The software does not prefer any particular hardware and is suitable for all SBCs that come with Linux or BSD. Additionally, the ad blocker can run piggyback on an existing firewall.

When AdGuard Home is started in the console for the first time, the command output points to a local web address. The web interface guides the user through further configuration. After the last step, AdGuard is ready for use and runs as a DNS server with an active blacklist. Up to this point, AdGuard is hardly different from Pi-hole. However, the preset blacklists prove to be a little bit gappy for non-English markets. Language add-ons in the form of EasyList [4] are recommended.

AdGuard Home does not treat all clients equally and can handle certain end devices separately to exclude individual clients or IP ranges from adult content or to force safe search (Figure 2). Additionally, AdGuard Home blocks services such as Steam, Netflix, and Skype – either per client or for all clients.

Figure 2: AdGuard Home treats its clients individually, if desired.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy ADMIN Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Filter DNS queries with Blocky
    The Domain Name System is repeatedly the target of or is leveraged for attacks on corporate infrastructures; however, it also lets you protect corporate networks against attacks and malware. The Blocky DNS server sets up quickly to secure DNS queries and DNS filtering for corporate networks.
  • DNS filtering with authentication
    Filtering HTTP connections and employing traditional proxy servers can protect users from web threats but also increase latency. DNS filters would be a better option, but they lacked authentication – until NxFilter came along.
  • Solving the security problems of encrypted DNS
    DNS encryption offers WiFi users good protection in public spaces; however, in the enterprise, it prevents the evaluation and filtering of name resolution.
  • Spam protection using SpamAssassin
    The intelligent, modular SpamAssassin email filter provides a variety of advanced tests for detecting unwanted junk email.
  • Professional protection for small and mid-size enterprises
    To what extent does the Untangle NG Firewall, where apps come together like pieces of a jigsaw, meet customer criteria for protection, usability, price, and support?
comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to our ADMIN Newsletters
Subscribe to our Linux Newsletters
Find Linux and Open Source Jobs

Support Our Work

ADMIN content is made possible with support from readers like you. Please consider contributing when you've found an article to be beneficial.

Learn More”>


		<div class=