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  #1  
Old 09-27-2021, 7:13 PM
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Default Highly Recommend Raspberry Pi Hole Ad Blocker

I decided to give the Raspberry Pi Hole a try. For those no familiar with the Pi Hole software it acts as a DNS server. The magic of it is that you can configure it to block sites. The default list that you load on it does a really good job of blocking ads. I'll give a more detailed description of how it works below. It sped up page load times a lot for ad heavy sites such as Gateway Pundit.

For about $50 you can set one up to block ads on your entire network. This comes in really handy for devices where you cannot load ad blocking software like a smart TVs, media players, book readers etc.

You will need a Pi Zero and a micro SD card for a home network. I would recommend at least an 8 GB to be safe but they are cheap.

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0748MPQT4

Follow this guy's step-by-step instructions.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkd3jmHS2hs

To set this up for a network you will have to know how to use your router's settings. Some routers do not allow the DNS server to be changed such as many free routers from ISPs. In that case you would have to buy a new router that is configurable in order to set up a Pi Hole that protects an entire network. I would recommend experimenting with one on your desktop first before setting it up for your entire network.


Simplified explanation of how ads are blocked with a DNS server: The Internet works using IP addresses. A DNS (Domain Name System) server works by allowing the use of a URL instead of an IP address. When you type in calguns.net your browser will go to a DNS server and request the IP address which returns 52.10.121.9. A lot of pages will load assets from other sites such as images, content and advertisements. An ad can be blocked by simply not loading it when a site tells your browser to load it. Instead of going to doubleclick.com a DNS server like a Pi Hole would just not send the request at all. It will send the browser to an IP address with nothing such as 127.0.0.1 or even send a custom image or text saying the ad was blocked.
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2021, 7:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czakita View Post
Interesting. Where did you get the idea?
I watch privacy minded videos every now and then. The Raspberry Pi Hole has come up a few times. I figured since it is less than $50 to give it a try.

If anyone is curious, here is the block list for the default Pi Hole list. I was happy to see many tracking sites are blocked.

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/St...s/master/hosts
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  #3  
Old 09-27-2021, 8:49 PM
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You don’t need the rPI to actually run pi-hole. The main script is just a proxy for dig and filtering based off of a git-cloned blacklist.

If you have shell access to your router, and run dnsmasq, you can run pi-hole on the router.

E.g. https://discourse.pi-hole.net/t/run-...t-router/182/5

DD-WRT ships with privoxy that attempts to do mostly the same thing for ad blocking, but it’s an http proxy and blocks more in the http stream than just DNS lookups.

Dnsmasq and pi-hole (for everyone else):

https://paranoidix.dk/blog/dnsmasq-and-pi-hole
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  #4  
Old 09-29-2021, 7:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robotron2k84 View Post
You don’t need the rPI to actually run pi-hole. The main script is just a proxy for dig and filtering based off of a git-cloned blacklist.

If you have shell access to your router, and run dnsmasq, you can run pi-hole on the router.

E.g. https://discourse.pi-hole.net/t/run-...t-router/182/5

DD-WRT ships with privoxy that attempts to do mostly the same thing for ad blocking, but it’s an http proxy and blocks more in the http stream than just DNS lookups.

Dnsmasq and pi-hole (for everyone else):

https://paranoidix.dk/blog/dnsmasq-and-pi-hole

I would be generous to call that experimental. I certainly would not recommend anyone try it unless you really know what you are doing and have hours, days or week to spare to figure out how to fix things that will likely go wrong with the 1000 line install script.

The second link is just running Pi Hole on different hardware with different software. That also sounds experimental.

I made this post to point people to a real solution that I performed myself and works. If you point people to these experimental possibilities from 2016 and 2017 which may not even work anymore, you could end up sending them on a wild goose chase.
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  #5  
Old 09-29-2021, 8:22 PM
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Oh please. Anyone that is going to go out of their way to purchase a hobbyist / experimental / SFF / SBC already has time enough on their hands to play around. Don’t be silly.

rPI runs Linux, anyone familiar with Linux could figure out a way to pop the blacklist into dnsmasq, and would be able to customize an installer script. I gave examples for doing that, not necessarily canned solutions.

The beauty of open source.

I would suggest skipping pi-hole anyway and moving to Privoxy as you get more benefit from intercepting JavaScript trackers and ads via the proxy than simply black listing their origin domain. That’s something Facebook and Google have been getting around for years.

Anyway, my post wasn’t for those that wanted to follow your example, it was for those that didn’t.
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  #6  
Old 09-29-2021, 10:04 PM
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Pi-Hole is nice and easy to set up for those who aren't network engineers. Initially, I planned to install it on my router but Ubiquiti deprecated PHP in favor of Python on their EdgeMax devices. Currently, I use a $5 Raspberry Pi Zero with power and ethernet supplied over USB from a Google Chromecast plug. Works well with 6 devices but the ability to scale up isn't great. Oh, and you could probably remove cosmoline off a Mosin faster than a system update. It pulls less than 200 mA under load and can be powered with a single 18650 for many hours if necessary. Privoxy looks nice, I'll look into it when I get some free time.

Last edited by yellowsulphur; 09-29-2021 at 10:14 PM..
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  #7  
Old 09-29-2021, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robotron2k84 View Post
Oh please. Anyone that is going to go out of their way to purchase a hobbyist / experimental / SFF / SBC already has time enough on their hands to play around. Don’t be silly.

rPI runs Linux, anyone familiar with Linux could figure out a way to pop the blacklist into dnsmasq, and would be able to customize an installer script. I gave examples for doing that, not necessarily canned solutions.

The beauty of open source.

I would suggest skipping pi-hole anyway and moving to Privoxy as you get more benefit from intercepting JavaScript trackers and ads via the proxy than simply black listing their origin domain. That’s something Facebook and Google have been getting around for years.

Anyway, my post wasn’t for those that wanted to follow your example, it was for those that didn’t.
Not everyone has time to waste or interest in learning these hobbyist electronics/computer systems. I for one do not and I would not have even bothered to try to figure it out if someone sent me your links. My post is for the privacy minded people, not tinkers. The tinkers will research deeper and will choose their own method. You throw something too technical at Joe Public and they will either dismiss it or if they do try it will become angry when they realize that you sent them down a rabbit hole that they don't have the expertise to figure out.

Your first suggestion was a 1000 line script from 2016 where the developer that created the script said it likely didn't even work anymore when he stopped supporting it in 2017. Great suggestion there.

Quote:
Jan '17
Here is the final version of the script I was working on...

http://sprunge.us/deXc 405

I doubt it even still works and I am no longer updating it but if you can read bash fairly well it is decently documented and contains all the steps needed to get pihole working on asus-merlin.
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  #8  
Old 09-29-2021, 11:17 PM
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And, yet, there are different skill levels that read these threads.

Portraying everyone as a noob doesn’t fly. Those with skill and intent can use what I posted for furthering their knowledge and abilities.

Those that don’t want to attempt anything resembling programming can buy the device and follow the guide.

Look, without people hearing about or learning about alternatives, we don’t grow.

As I said, my post wasn’t for those that want to follow your example, so why try to cast everyone as the same?
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