Those of you who know me for any significant period of time would already be aware how much I hate advertisements on the internet. Those who don't, take this as a precursor, I am happy to donate a couple of dollars for your service if I really like it but I cease to use it if it contains ads!
As ad blockers get aggressive, websites and browsers (particularly chrome) are also getting ridiculous in finding ways to suppress the ad blockers. This leaves most of us with only one choice: Block them through DNS. There are many local DNS resolver available that help you achieve this. I found out about one called pi-hole while watching random videos on YouTube. It immediately caught my attention and as of now, My puny 10mb/10mb connection is on steroids (on an average 15% faster than what it was in terms of sheer internet resolver points). Setup process is fairly standard, You dump an OS of choice (I chose Ubuntu Server for arm 18.04) to a Micro SD card and boot your raspberry pi (one of my decommissioned raspi2) then you run one simple command and follow on-screen instructions. That's the setup part. The next part is to set the IP of your pi-hole as DNS Server in your computer. I won't go into much details. You can refer the docs at: https://docs.pi-hole.net/
Currently, I've set it up as two identical raspberry pi 2 running pi-hole as primary and secondary DNS. I'm planning to change this in near future by setting up their amazing OpenVPN w/ Pi-Hole and setting up a Public resolver so that I could live ad-free on the go.
In conclusion. I'm really happy with the results, I was skeptical at first but I've really tried to open some of the worst ad offenders (Ala torrent sites) and the experience was beyond imagination. You have to keep the system fairly updated and it remains to be the chicken & egg problem with ad networks adding new domains to their network and an ad block list catching that and adding it to their list. as soon as your lists are fairly recent, You're good to go.
I tried the most common spots for ads and as advertised most of the ads were blocked. FWIW, all 3rd party ads were blocked at DNS level, the only part visible was some first party ads that were baked in by the developer and obfuscated in a way that it looks like website content but I think I can live with that for now since such content is only static banner on top or bottom and not an intrusive loop of popup ads spoiling my browsing experience.
I'm happy that browsing the Internet is slightly more enjoyable and that makes this Sunday a well-spent one. If you plan to try it out for yourself, feel free to share your statistics on pi-hole forum or you can visit ORNG Central and we can talk through.
Until next time, I'm Bhanu and I don't know what I'm doing here.