Why bother with Pihole and other ad blocking hardware/apps?

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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I'm not posting this as someone who relies on advertising to keep this site running, but from curiosity.

I find that using only the "block third-party cookies" and other settings in today's browsers, Firefox specifically, takes care of blocking most, if not all, ads.

These solutions do nothing to stop the more annoying and potentially harmful email-based threats of spam, phishing, ransomware, etc.

So, why bother?
 

dave14305

Part of the Furniture
You also have to consider mobile device apps, or other non-browser experiences that do not offer such privacy protections. Sometimes it can be because non-technical family members might not be as discerning as us when presented with shiny ads.

And to a great extent, I think it comes down to, “Because it’s possible.”

Good discussion topic!
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
Because you can't block third party cookies, since a lot of other things don't work properly if you do that.
For example, Google docs doesn't allow you to download documents if you block third party cookies, which is really rather annoying.

The main reason I use an adblocker is because on some sites you get popup after popup after scrollup after scrolldown after slide after video after something else annoying and these are just some tech publications. It's really insane on some sites, but I turn off my adblocker on sites that have reasonable ads. Anandtech is a great example of a hugely popular tech site that used to have insane ads that took over the entire screen. Luckily their current owners don't do that. I refuse to accept that as a reasonable exchange and that's coming from someone that used to be a tech journalist.

I have to say that the "publishing industry" kind of ruined the whole advertising market themselves, since the new guys (well, this is 20+ years ago) didn't know how to charge for ads, so they asked for $1,000 or $500 for a banner ad, when magazines were charing $20,000-30,000 for a page in a magazine and there were a lot of ads in a computer magazine back then. From there the race to the bottom started and now you get next to nothing for ads. Obviously I understand the need for advertising, but there needs to be some kind of a compromise between acceptable ads and crap that takes over the entire screen on my device, be it a PC or a phone. We're clearly not there, but hopefully we will be some day.

Yes, there's obviously all the scammy crap as well, but at least most of that seems to have dissipated on more well-known sites.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I'm not posting this as someone who relies on advertising to keep this site running, but from curiosity.

I find that using only the "block third-party cookies" and other settings in today's browsers, Firefox specifically, takes care of blocking most, if not all, ads.

These solutions do nothing to stop the more annoying and potentially harmful email-based threats of spam, phishing, ransomware, etc.

So, why bother?

I don't bother... if a site has too many ads, I leave it and don't come back.

OE
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I don't use network-wide DNS ad/cookies blocking anymore. It breaks the page views, forces device re-authentication on some sites and some of the targeted Google ads are actually helpful and save time. My family members are free to choose what they want to see. Nothing beats uBlock Origin so far in performance and ease of use. On mobile devices AdGuard DNS is good enough, if someone wants it. I like simple solutions.

For SNB I keep the ads enabled to support the forum. It's two clicks "work" with uBlock Origin. I don't need to re-configure anything on my firewall. Loading ads makes 1 second difference in page loading time with my ISP connection. I don't mind, if it helps the site owners.
 
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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Because you can't block third party cookies, since a lot of other things don't work properly if you do that.
For example, Google docs doesn't allow you to download documents if you block third party cookies, which is really rather annoying.
Well, my Firefox prefs are set to strict.
ffprefs.jpg

and I haven't had problems downloading from Drive or run into anything else. Maybe my needs are simple.

@dave14305 Good point on apps. Hadn't thought of that.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
If I block tracking cookies, I can't login into my bank accounts without security code send by SMS to registered phone number. This happens on registered secure devices. Same happens to some of my mail accounts, sending me notifications on another email about possibly unauthorized login. This is inconvenient for me. I can always cherry pick what is allowed and what isn't, but I can do it only after someone complains. I'm not home all the time. Three more family members use Internet for work/learn from home. No tracking cookie did any harm so far. I can do more harm playing with blockers.
 

cptnoblivious

Regular Contributor
1. Mobile games - it's a matter of putting the phone down, not looking at the annoying add, then playing again sometime later.
2. Telemetry tracking - it's nice to be able to add that
3. Browsers managed by other parties (i.e. work) - sometimes it's nice to have a bit more control and ad-blockers aren't always an option

Finally, I still use ublock / disconnect etc on-top of pihole, as often I'm vpn'd out and in addition a lot of sites (youtube) serve ads from their domain.
 

thecheapseats

Senior Member
<snip>...Nothing beats uBlock Origin so far in performance and ease of use. <snip>...
^^^that... yes, agree - on the client side it is most elegant and effective... recommended...
 

BobD

Regular Contributor
I use Microsoft Edge which uses the Chrome engine, for my browser. My router has no blocking at the moment. I routinely block ads and third party cookies in the browser settings and a lot of other things including Popups.
My Android phone cops a load of ads but I only use for phone calls and not much else most of the time. See some of my browser settings.
Screenshot 2021-10-25 120248.jpg


Screenshot 2021-10-25 120424.jpg
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
To Pi-Hole, or not to Pi-Hole, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of adds, malware or trackers,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles...

I chose to take up arms, to a certain extent. I caught heck from the women in my home when I first set up Pi-Hole with an add blocker. So, no network based add blocker.
However, I do my best to keep the family protected! I have been pro active in using DoT on the router with DNSSEC if possible. The router WAN DNS points to an upstream resolver that does filtering. I also have Pi-Hole set up with malware, spyware and tracking lists along with an Unbound front end. The RPI is set to update itself and Pi-Hole weekly. Pi-Hole is blocking fewer than 2% of DNS queries.
Oh, for my devices I also use uBlock Origin.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I have been pro active in using DoT on the router with DNSSEC if possible. The router WAN DNS points to an upstream resolver that does filtering. I also have Pi-Hole set up with malware, spyware and tracking lists along with an Unbound front end. The RPI is set to update itself and Pi-Hole weekly. Pi-Hole is blocking fewer than 2% of DNS queries.

Pi-hole with Unbound is used for your clients. Is this correct?
If so, the DNS set in WAN is for the router itself. What DoT and filtering DNS is good for?
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Pi-hole with Unbound is used for your clients. Is this correct?
If so, the DNS set in WAN is for the router itself. What DoT and filtering DNS is good for?
Clients that use DHCP, yes. With Asus firmware the clients get the Pi as the first DNS server and the Asus router as the second.

DoT using Cloudflare Secure is used by static clients and Guest 1 clients.

I have it set this way to try to mitigate connection issues when the net decides to have DNS issues. Hoping that Unbound is smart enough to look for another upstream resolver if one goes down.

As you know I am always tinkering with the router and settings. So, poof the Pi could be dust tomorrow if I find something else I want to tinker with. Oh right, I have a second Pi now. I can tinker with that!
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I see. Your Pi-hole is not strict/only DNS server in this case. Your devices may use the router's DNS.
 

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