Extraordinary benefits of using pi-hole on your network

How-To Apr 23, 2020

I think that today even your mother knows how to install and run pi-hole. The Internet is full of tutorials and even here's a post on how to do it.

Now I will show you how's the internet experience after having pi-hole setup, the benefits and what's extraordinary about them. Since it's not limited to browsing, the effects of DNS filtering provided by the little raspberry pi can be seen everywhere, even in your apps.

On Instagram for example, these sponsored posts are going to be removed:

Note that in the screenshots above I had to disable my WiFi connection and go through the mobile network to see the ads. Otherwise the pi-hole will cut the access to graph.instagram.com. From the pi-hole admin interface you can disable it permanently or for a custom time. The screenshot below shows the call to graph.instagram.com being blocked:

Blocked by pi-hole, screenshot from Query Log

I don't know if you noticed but my pi apparently doesn't update the time on ntp. I'll fix that later...

Now for the users in France, if you have the app for leboncoin (that's the equivalent of craigslist here) then you are accustomed to seeing this kind of listings:

Now take a look at the pi-hole version below:

So much cleaner! Another example when using a news app from Le Monde, starting the app greets us with an add, then more ads in the feed:

Ok, I think that by now you got plenty of examples. I will wrap things up by showing you a web page before and after. Prepare to be amazed...

Speedtest.net without ads, what a nice UI

Now let's try again, this time with pi-hole disabled:

Same page, now full of ads

I'll stop now, I think you got the idea. If I'm trusting the pi-hole stats, a whopping 15% of queries are for ads or tracking.

pi-hole stats, more than 15% of queries were blocked

These ads are not only visually impacting you. They suck up network bandwidth, will use CPU power, and have an effect on your energy consumption. You will definitely see what I mean if you use a laptop and you are not plugged in.

So do you consider pi-hole for your network? Or maybe you have another solution in place, like pfBlockerng on pfsense? Let me know what is your weapon of choice for fighting ads. Comment below, I'm curious about it.

Radu

Since there's no place like 127.0.0.1, I try my best to keep it up to date and add network services using various (mostly old and cheap) network devices.

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