Block Ads using AdGuard Home on your Raspberry Pi?

Blocking intrusive ads on all your home devices is easy with AdGuard Home. AdGuard Home is an open-source ad-blocking software perfect for using on a Raspberry Pi. With just a Raspberry Pi and AdGuard Home, you can block ads for all devices on your home network.

Block Ads using AdGuard Home on your Raspberry Pi?

Why Block Ads

Online advertising has increasingly become more intrusive over time. Page load speeds have slowed and ads include audio, video, and other distracting elements. Blocking ads improves browsing experience by:

  • Speeding Up Page Loads: Removing ads reduces bandwidth usage and speeds up site load times.
  • Saving Data Usage: Blocking ads saves monthly data usage for mobile devices.
  • Enhancing Privacy: Ad networks track users extensively. Blocking ads protects privacy.
  • Improving Security: Malware frequently gets distributed through online ad networks.
  • Reducing Clutter: Removing intrusive ads cleans up site layouts significantly.

Why Use a Raspberry Pi and AdGuard Home

Dedicated ad blocking hardware like a Raspberry Pi provides benefits over browser extensions and hosts file editing. Benefits include:

  • Blocks ads on all devices on your home network by default without any configuration.
  • Works on smart TVs, streaming boxes, smartphones, etc out of the box.
  • No manual updating of blocklists required as lists auto-update.
  • Setup is quick and configuration is simple through the web UI.
  • Lightweight and low power usage so can run 24/7 without issue.
  • Encrypts DNS traffic for enhanced security and privacy.

AdGuard Home is easy to set up Raspberry Pi ad blocking software that uses DNS filtering. It also includes other great privacy and security features.

Hardware Needed

To use AdGuard Home on a Raspberry Pi to block ads, you need:

  • Raspberry Pi: Any model will work but Pi 2 or newer is recommended
  • MicroSD Card: 8 GB Class 10 card or better
  • Power Supply: Appropriate USB power adapter for Pi model
  • Case: Protective case unless only running headless
  • Ethernet Cable: For wired network connectivity

Optional extras like heatsinks or a fan may be needed depending on ambient temperatures.

Software Required

The main software components needed include:

  • Raspberry Pi OS: The Linux distro for the Pi
  • AdGuard Home: The ad blocking DNS server software
  • Text Editor: Like nano for editing config files

Make sure to use the latest version of Raspberry Pi OS for best performance.

Installing Raspberry Pi OS

Installing the Raspberry Pi OS operating system onto the microSD card involves:

  1. Downloading the latest OS image from the official website
  2. Using balenaEtcher to flash the OS image onto the microSD card
  3. Inserting the prepared microSD card into the Raspberry Pi
  4. Powering on the Pi and allowing the OS to boot up

Flashing the card destroys all data so make sure to backup first if the card contains anything important.

Booting up Raspberry Pi OS for the first time allows you to configure options like localization settings and creating user accounts.

Installing & Setting Up AdGuard Home

With Raspberry Pi OS installed, installing AdGuard Home takes just a few simple terminal commands.

  1. Ensure OS is fully updated by running sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade -y

  2. Install any missing dependencies with sudo apt install dnsmasq ca-certificates

  3. Get and extract latest AdGuardHome release:

wget https://static.adguard.com/adguardhome/release/AdGuardHome_linux_arm.tar.gz

  1. tar xzf AdGuardHome_linux_arm.tar.gz

  2. Run the installation script: sudo ./AdGuardHome/install.sh

  3. When done, edit config file: sudo nano /opt/AdGuardHome/AdGuardHome.yaml

The default config options work but documenting changes is good practice. Some recommendations:

  • Change admin password
  • Adjust upstream DNS providers
  • Enable DNS-over-HTTPS

After installation completes, AdGuard Home remains disabled until explicitly started. To start it:

shell

sudo systemctl enable AdGuardHome –now

Once enabled and running, AdGuard Home immediately starts filtering all DNS traffic and blocking ads!

Optimizing AdGuard Home Performance

Optimizing performance helps maximize ad blocking efficiency:

  • Assign Static IP: Using DHCP could change IP causing issues
  • Enable Hardware Acceleration: Greatly improves throughput
  • Tune Database Settings: Adjust autoremove period based on devices
  • Change DNS Interface: Set to local network address
  • Enable DNS-over-HTTPS: Encrypts DNS traffic
  • Set Up Audit Log: Helps with debugging
  • Tune Blocked Response TTL: Customize browser cache times

Ensure your Raspberry Pi model can handle your network demands. Higher throughput hardware like the Pi 4 helps for 100+ device networks.

Configuring Network and Devices

To funnel all DNS traffic through AdGuard Home for filtering:

  1. Set DHCP server on the router to assign AdGuard Home IP as the DNS server.
  2. Alternatively can manually set DNS on each device to use the AdGuard Home IP address.
  3. Flush the DNS cache on connected devices after changing settings.
  4. Reboot devices or reconnect to the network for the filtering to fully activate.

Once reconnected devices will have ads blocked across every app and browser by default!

Blocking Additional Content

By default AdGuard Home uses filters to only block ads from websites. Expanding blocking to include tracking protection, phishing sites, adult content and more is easy.

From Filtering Settings -> Filters Lists additional blocking filter lists can enabled like:

  • Tracking Protection Filter
  • Social Media Filter
  • Microsoft telemetry filter
  • Anti-phishing filter
  • Porn filter
  • Crypto mining filter

Choose filter categories tailored to your preferences for maximum control over content.

Troubleshooting Problems

Issues getting AdGuard Home working properly usually come down to minor network configuration problems or filters failing to auto-update.

  • Verify Connectivity: Check firewalls, connectivity and DNS settings
  • Enable Verbose Logging: Detailed logs help troubleshoot problems
  • Check Filter Updates: Force update blocklists manually
  • Reset Network Config: Renew DHCP lease and flush DNS caches
  • Factory Reset: If needed fully reset software as last resort

Viewing request logs after enabling verbose logging shows exactly what AdGuard Home is filtering on each device.

AdGuard Home Benefits

AdGuard Home provides an extensive set of additional benefits beyond just ad blocking including:

Powerful Parental Controls
Fine-grained control allowing custom site blocking schedule per device and category.

Enhanced Security
Blocks malware and prevents DNS hijacking via features like DNS-over-HTTPS.

Improved Privacy 
No logs stored by default and blocks online trackers from collecting data about usage habits.

For protecting the entire home network, it solves problems other software solutions just can’t address alone due to scope.

Conclusion

Raspberry Pis are affordable, powerful ARM computers perfect for dedicated network tasks like ad blocking with AdGuard Home. Setting up filtering out ads on a Pi leads to a drastically improved web browsing and device usage experience for all users on the network. AdGuard Home not only blocks ads but also enhances security and privacy far beyond just a basic Pi-hole style filter. Leveraging a Raspberry Pi to filter the web traffic in your home or small office network ensures all devices have a safer, distraction free browsing experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Dedicated network-wide ad blocking hardware like a Raspberry Pi prevents ads on all smart devices by default.
  • AdGuard Home goes far beyond ad blocking also enhancing privacy, security, and parental controls through DNS filtering.
  • Optimizing AdGuard Home correctly eliminates performance problems for networks of 50-100+ devices.
  • With up-to-date blocklists and proper network configuration, near 100% ads blocked rates are achievable.
  • AdGuard Home runs smoothly on all modern Raspberry Pi models making it highly cost effective.

FAQS

  1. Does AdGuard Home work on Android phones?
    Yes, once connected to the network, AdGuard Home will filter all ads displayed in apps and browsers by default on Android phones.
  2. Do I need a monitor for AdGuard Home on Raspberry Pi?
    No, after the initial setup you can run the Raspberry Pi headless and manage AdGuard remotely through the web interface.
  3. Where are AdGuard Home logs stored?
    Log files are stored locally at /var/log/AdGuardHome on the filesystem by default and can be accessed via SSH.
  4. Can AdGuard Home block YouTube ads?
    Yes, through its default filters AdGuard will remove video ads before and during YouTube videos. SponsorBlock integration also skips in-video sponsorships.
  5. Does AdGuard Home use less RAM than Pi-hole?
    Yes, AdGuard Home generally uses 20-30MB RAM vs 70-100MB+ for Pi-hole making it more efficient.
  6. How do I remote access AdGuard Home dashboard?
    The dashboard can be accessed remotely by entering your Raspberry Pi’s IP address and port 3000 into any browser.
  7. Can AdGuard Home manage user level web filtering?
    Yes, through the Parental Control features you can define customized block rules and schedules per user and device.
  8. Will AdGuard Home slow down my internet?
    No, with the right Raspberry Pi model for your network size it will have minimal impact on network performance.
  9. Can AdGuard Home be installed on Ubuntu?
    Yes, AdGuard provides .deb packages and install scripts to run it on Ubuntu or Debian based distributions.
  10. How do I backup AdGuard Home settings?
    AdGuard stores its configuration file at /opt/AdGuardHome/AdGuardHome.yaml which you can copy or use the web UI export/import.
  11. Can I run AdGuard Home in Docker?
    Yes, official Docker images enable running AdGuard Home in containers on Docker or docker-compose for simpler deployment.
  12. How much storage does AdGuard Home need?
    It requires little disk space at around 25MB but a Class 10 SD card is still recommended for better read/write performance.
  13. Can I filter HTTPS sites with AdGuard Home?
    Yes, enabling DNS-over-HTTPS in settings allows filtering of encrypted HTTPS traffic through Cloudflare or NextDNS providers.
  14. Will static IP slow down AdGuard Home?
    No, using Ethernet with a static IP avoids problems from DHCP changes without impacting performance. WiFi connections tend to be slower.
  15. Can AdGuard Home run site caching like Squid?
    No, it only filters content and has no local storage or proxy caching capabilities unlike proxies like Squid.
  16. How do I automate AdGuard Home installs?
    You can script installing via the command line options or create a custom Raspberry Pi OS image with AdGuard Home preconfigured.
  17. Why does AdGuard Home need port 53 access?
    It operates as a local DNS server so needs access open on port 53 for sending/receiving DNS queries instead of your ISP.
  18. How do I restrict AdGuard Home to specific clients?
    The advanced settings allow setting up client-specific filtering using options like IP and MAC address whitelisting/blacklisting access.
  19. Does AdGuard Home block YouTube ads on smart TVs?
    Yes, AdGuard Home will block YouTube video ads on smart TVs along with other intrusive ads in streaming apps.
  20. Can AdGuard Home integrate with Home Assistant?
    Yes, there is a custom component to connect AdGuard Home stats into Home Assistant for automation and monitoring.

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