So you want to minimize the ads coming in and the personal data going out while you use the internet? Let FUTO quickly walk you through the state of the art in easy ad blocking and VPN solutions.
Ad blockers are one of the most popular types of browser extensions — and for good reason. Simply put, ad blockers are software specifically developed to remove advertisements from the sites you visit; they’re easy to install, available as browser extensions, and are compatible with just about every device and platform.
While many people use ad blockers to avoid the annoyance of pop-ups and auto-playing ads, there are other reasons you might want to consider using them too. For example:
- Protecting your privacy: Ads can contain scripts that collect information about your browsing habits. A good ad blocker will stop this from happening.
- Reducing data usage: Ads can take up a lot of space on your phone or tablet’s data plan when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi; an ad blocker prevents this from happening by blocking all ads, including those that load when you’re using cellular data instead of WiFi.
- Improving page load times: Some sites load faster if they don’t have any ads on them at all — at least until advertisers figure out how to work around this problem!
To get started with an ad blocker the casual user can just install a browser plugin, which is easy, free but only works for internet traffic inside that browser and not for other computer related internet traffic. We can recommend, for example
- AdBlocker Ultimate https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/adblocker-ultimate/
- uBlock Origin https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/
VPN based ad blockers are a slightly more advanced version of a tracker and ad blocker in the sense that a good VPN can route all the traffic from your computer through their own extensive ad blocker lists at the DNS level, meaning the traffic from banned tracking websites and ads never even reaches your computer. We can recommend
- Mullvad VPN https://mullvad.net/en/
- IVPN https://www.ivpn.net/ as some of the more reputable zero-logs VPNs, but care should be taked not to over rely on a commercial VPN as a main source of privacy and security.
Third Party DNS based filtering
This method of adblocking relies on a third party domain name resolver from blocking ads and trackers. In the next chapter we will describe how to deploy your own but if you want a quick and easy solution just set up the Quad9 DNS by watching the excellent Quad9 setup videos at https://www.quad9.net/support/set-up-guides/
Self-Hosted PiHole VPN and Ad Blocker
For the truly fanatic about their privacy and security there’s nothing like self-hosting your own VPN and customizing your own ad blocker. Whether you are using a browser plugin or relying on your VPN provider to do DNS level adblocking for you, there are a couple of concerns to bear in mind:
- The VPN provider or the adblocker plugin get to see all your internet traffic.
- Potentially, the VPN provider could log all the sites you visited or the ads that were filtered.
- Furthermore not your computer, not your software, not your sovereignty.
If you truly want a truly sovereign self-hosted VPN with an ad blocker and a tracker blocker, a combination of PiHole https://pi-hole.net/ and Wireguard https://www.wireguard.com/ is your choice. Thankfully most of the heavylifting and setup can be handled by the
- Mistborn install script https://gitlab.com/cyber5k/mistborn#quickstart
- on a clean Ubuntu 20.04 LTS instance on Digital Ocean or other cloud provider which will not cost you more than $5 a month
wget -O install.sh https://gitlab.com/cyber5k/mistborn/-/raw/master/scripts/install.sh && sudo -E bash ./install.sh
First order of business after installing Mistborn is to turn on the Wireguard VPN client on your desktop or mobile using the provided QR code.
PiHole Control Panel
Once you have turned on your Wireguard on go to the PiHole control interface to access detailed logs of all your VPN tunnel and adblocker activity:
Out of the box PiHole filters over 130 thousand domains and specific domains can be further added to the filter lists:
Feel free to download more lists from here https://oisd.nl/downloads and upload them directly into the PiHole at
and then refresh Gravity list
Congratulations! You now have a fully self hosted VPN service with a dedicated, customisable ad blocker. To make a final check visit an ad blocking test website and see the results for yourself.