Block ads and make your internet faster with a Pi-hole

Block ads and make your internet faster with a Pi-hole

Advertisers stop at nothing to serve you ads. For a while, extensions like AdBlock and uBlocker did a decent job of blocking intrusive and annoying ads. But lately, in the cat-and-mouse game between ads and blockers, these browser add-ons became less effective. Enter Pi-hole.

You may be familiar with Raspberry Pi, an ultra-cheap computer designed to be configurable to your needs and accessible to the masses. Well, a group of developers created an all-inclusive program called Pi-hole. When connected to your router, it actively filters all of the traffic through your router to find ads and block them, network-wide. Installing Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi takes minutes, and you'll be surprised how effective it is.

Image from pi-hole.net

It works by filtering DNS requests and blocking those that are pointed at known advertising services. With the included graphical interface, you can see what percentage of the queries made on your network has been blocked and where those queries came from. It's dead-simple to set up and has the potential to speed up your browsing since ads are blocked before your device even loads the resources!

Admittedly, I've known about Pi-hole for years but never set it up for myself until this week. So far, it's been incredibly effective. Ads from Youtube and Hulu still show up for me, but I use those services so infrequently it's not a dealbreaker for me. I appreciate that the Pi-hole project is open source and remains secure behind your network. You can access your Pi-hole remotely, but make sure you use a VPN so you don't expose your entire network to the public.

The whole thing cost ~$40 and an hour of my time to set up. The official website has easy-to-follow installation instructions, so if you already have a Raspberry Pi, that's the place to start.

If you do not have a Raspberry Pi, buy one (any of the models work great) and a microSD card. Then, use these instructions to get started.

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