Router based DNS Ad Blocking – A better alternative to the existing Adblockers like UBlock Origin / AdBlock & AdBlock Plus

182°
Helpful
PaytmKaPoojari

Slow death of Adblockers like UBlock Origin / Adblock / Adblock Plus. Need for a better alternative

The traditional ad blocker systems which we have been using over the years are now gradually being killed courtesy by giants Google / Amazon / Apple / Facebook and Microsoft.

https://9to5google.com/2024/01/13/youtube-new-w...

https://www.pcmag.com/news/rip-ublock-origin-go....

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2022...

Before moving to Router Based DNS Ad blocking lets understand the concepts

What is a DNS ?

DNS, or the Domain Name System, translates human readable domain names (for example, www.amaz...om) to machine readable IP addresses (for example, 192.0.2.44). It is basically a directory of contact numbers through which one computer on the internet connects and talks with another computer on the internet. DNS is one of the foundations of the internet and without DNS you will not be able to access the internet as the website name needs to be looked up to find its matching IP address.

Who controls the DNS ?

DNS being an essential for working of the internet is distributed and spread across the world in a large number of servers . All major companies would have either their own hosted private DNS server or a public DNS servers. The major public DNS service providers are Google / Cloudflare / OpenDNS / Quad 9 / NextDNS / Adguard DNS / Control D to name a few. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will have their own or third party hosted DNS server which is defaulted, and your computer makes use of the default ISP DNS server.

The most critical aspect of choosing a public DNS server is how fast it can find and send back the IP address (machine readable address). If a public DNS server is slow and unresponsible, it will result in the webpage not loading or taking time to load hindering the viewing experience. To simplify, the DNS server which are as near to your physical location, having faster response times ( i.e. lower latency ) and which can handle loads better ( i.e. quality of server ) will be the faster one. Also the downtime of the public DNS server is again essential factor for consideration as without DNS your internet will not work.

How does Ad-Blocking on DNS server work ?

Ad-blocking using a DNS Server work primary by not sharing the website IP address of ad networks. So basically, whenever your computer requests the DNS server for the IP address of an ad network, the DNS server will share a dummy or empty IP address thereby blocking the connection to the ad network. The existing efforts of Google / Apple / Microsoft to block the traditional ad blockers does not work on DNS server, as it is a foundational aspect of the Internet, and these companies have no control on the DNS server.

What is the pro / cons of DNS based Ad blocking vs existing Ad blockers

Pros for DNS

The biggest pro for DNS based ad blocking is that while the primary focus is on ad blocking it can have a versatile role as it can be used to accessing / blocking any website or domain which is needed. This means you can block malware / data tracking / referral & affiliate / fake news / adult / crypto / gambling or any other website you need to block

The second pro is that the existing ad blocking restrictions cannot be applied to DNS servers and to block DNS based blocking will require a complete fundamental change of how internet works so it will be for a long time

Again it is much more efficient and faster than traditional adblockers as we do not initate any connection with those ad networks

Router based DNS ( read next section )

Cons for DNS

The primary disadvantage of DNS based ad blocking is since it blocks an ip address altogether so in a case where a primary website itself displays ads then these ads cannot be filtered out . For e.g. the youtube ads have the same ip address as the youtube.com and filtering these ads are not possible using DNS based ad blocking. However, the other existent methods like Revanced or IOS app for modified youtube should serve the purpose .

The quality of the ad blocking public DNS server should be good else the internet experience will not be good

Router Based DNS Ad blocking

The DNS Ad blocking at a router level makes it a game changer. With the traditional ad blocking concepts, there are different apps / plugins / extensions which needs to be installed on each and every device. Also for IOT based devices / smart devices there will be no plugin of traditional ad blockers available and it will not be possible to block those websites .

However, if we apply DNS at a router level all the devices which are connected to the same wifi network can be controlled centrally. This means no need to maintain separate plugins you get a universal ad blocking and privacy solution for all your devices

Which DNS Ad Blocking Public Services are available and which one is the best for me ?

As mentioned initially the quality of the public DNS server / location of the server / response times / downtime all are important before zeroing on which ad blocking DNS server is best for you

The most famous public DNS services which allow ad blocking are as below
1. Adguard DNS
2. NextDNS
3. ControlD DNS

To select the best DNS based ad blocking service we need to compare the IP addresses of these ad blocking DNS servers with the rest of the public DNS services and compare which one is the fastest. This is done by a simple tool DNSBench https://www.grc.com/dns/benchmark.htm . Click Add/Remove and add the IP addresses of Adguard DNS / Next DNS / ControlD DNS ( you can check their website to check their DNS IP addresses ) and run the benchmark . This will give you the comparison which one is the best DNS server for your location

Based on my comparison for India currently, NextDNS is the best Ad blocking DNS service available in India . It has alot of servers available in India with ultralow latency and anycast compatibility it is the most stable service.

How to configure Next DNS Server IP address at a router level ?

Logging into NextDNS will give your specific IPv4 and IPv6 DNS addresses.

These DNS Server IP addresses need to be configured in the IPv4 & IPv6 DNS server settings for your router. You can search on google for your router model login details and change the DNS server settings

Generally 3 IPV4 & IPV6 DNS Servers can be setup in a router. Below is the setup which I use so as to ensure zero downtime. This ensures that even if Next DNS is down it can route to Google DNS and I have not downtime. If your router allows only 2 DNS servers use 1 Next DNS Primary and 1 Google DNS

DNS1 : NextDNS Primary DNS IP
DNS2 : NextDNS SecondaryDNS IP
DNS3 : Public Google DNS Primary IP

To check whether the correct DNS server is being used you can go to https://dnscheck.tools/ and confirm

What all functionality needs to be configured for Next DNS to block ads ?

This is the best guide which mentions all the configs which you need to do Next DNS
https://github.com/yokoffing/NextDNS-Config

Block Lists are the main configuration and many public blocklists are available. However only a few are routinely updated . Below is the recommendation which will not break the functionality to much and serve the purpose

1. Hagezi Multi Pro++ ( Read the other versions here https://github.com/hagezi/dns-blocklists )

You can add multiple providers as well . The other good ones are


1. OISD ( https://oisd.nl/ )
2. 1Hosts (https://github.com/badmojr/1Hosts0

3. Goodbye Ads (https://github.com/jerryn70/GoodbyeAds)

4. Next DNS default filters


Also check whether the Linked IP address is ticked in case you are using dynamic IP address . DDNS option is also available in case you want auto update of IP

Is the Next DNS Service chargeable ?


NextDNS can be used for free up to 300,000 queries each month, after which all features will be disabled temporarily until next month. This means ad blocking functionalities will be disabled but the DNS will continue working even after 30000 queries


The pricing is as below .


Next DNS Pro Plan : Rs. 159 per month / Rs. 1590 per annum .


I would suggest trying the service for a few days and checking whether it meets your requirement or not. If you are satisfied you can opt for the paid packages as Rs. 150 pm for unlimited devices protection / multiple profiles for work and office also supported is not a bad option .


Feel free to dm me if you need to setup NextDNS with my referral code. The free service means I will not earn anything unless you subscribe for the paid plans .


Top Comments
Critic Critic
Link Copied

DNS based blocking can't replace uBlock Origin. It can supplement it, but not replace it. uBlock Origin is not an advertisement blocker, but a content blocker. There's a huge technical difference between the way it works vs how a DNS sinkhole works.

17 Comments  |  
9 Dimers
  • Sort By
Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
Link Copied

Long story short, if u r going to stick to free dns, never implement router based ad blocking dns, belive me, internet experience would be taking a dent 

Helpful Helpful
Link Copied

I have been using Next DNS last 3 months and when it is down or slow its routes to Google DNS servers . I have been more than happy with Next DNS . The critical point is having more than one DNS resolvers . 

Streaming 4k is also no issues . Read the how to select DNS server which was essential to identify which service is the best . Adguard and ControlD have either very slow response times in India so that cripples the internet 

View 3 more replies
Freebie Finder Freebie Finder
Link Copied

go for adguard dns & browser extention

Critic Critic
Link Copied

DNS based blocking can't replace uBlock Origin. It can supplement it, but not replace it. uBlock Origin is not an advertisement blocker, but a content blocker. There's a huge technical difference between the way it works vs how a DNS sinkhole works.

Helpful Helpful
Link Copied

the primary use case of both the applications remain the same.Considering how Google Apple have started clamping down on the ad blockers . Manfiest V3 is coming in June 2024 and it has lead me to go for the DNS route and even Ublock Origin will only work in the UBO Lite mode .

https://github.com/uBlockOrigin/uBOL-home/wiki/...


Also a network wide privacy is a bonus which Ublock or any other ad blocker cannot provide as they are platform dependent .  


Benevolent Benevolent
Link Copied

Some browsers are going to retain Manifest V2. Also built-in ad blockers while being less capable and customizable aren't affected by the V3 changes. 

One can re-purpose an old Android device to run Pi-hole. It runs fine in even 512MB RAM. 

Most of my devices are rooted and AdAway works great. In any case uBlock Origin will continue to work in my browser of choice. 

Helpful Helpful
Link Copied


Setting up a router level blocking protects your privacy on your entire home network .

With so many connected devices these days leaking personal data is easier than ever which cannot be prevented by just a simple device specific ad blocker  


Am

Just sharing a screenshot Next DNS logs when no one is at home but still one of my Amazon devices ( Kindle / Fire Tablet / Fire Stick ) seems to be trying to push some tracking data to its servers which are blocked

And setting up for each device individually is a pain . Like I mentioned you cannot rely on a single DNS provider . Thats why I configure Next DNS and Google DNS.


You need to run DNSBench and check which provider is the best. On forums people prefer Adguard and ControlD , but ControlD has just a single server in India and Adguard none which means unless they provide high speed servers it will not be possible to match the speed provided by NextDNS

In my test Next DNS was faster than Airtel ISP and only behind Cloudflare and better than Google DNS. There have been instances of slower responses but at those time Google DNS has taken over so I do not have any breakage of internet post the 1st week of setup where I used Next DNS and ControlD 

Also Pihole is good for setting up your own DNS server but again it is more configuration .  And I would avoid running it on Android as I need to ensure  it is on constantly. Better get a PI Zero board



 

View 1 more reply
Benevolent Benevolent
Link Copied

I haven't rooted my primary device and AdAway or Blokada in VPN mode can cause slowdowns. So switched to DNS but the various solutions are no better in this regard. At least now I have recourse to a QS Tile for disabling it on-the-fly or switching between various providers without having to delve deep into Settings anymore. 

Deal Newbie Deal Newbie
Link Copied

Raspberry pi/old computer + PiHole

Generous Generous
Link Copied

1.is it free?

2.do they block Ads on youtube?

3.do they escape adblock warning?

Helpful Helpful
Link Copied
1. is it free

till 3 lacs DNS queries a month it is free. Post that it resolves the DNS but the privacy functionalities will not work . Considering you are using it at router level expect to hit the 3 lac limit at around 8 to 10 days itself. I would recommend paying approx 150 pm which gives you unlimited DNS queries from unlimited IP addresses . 

Alternate free solution is setting up pihole which acts like your private DNS server but since it needs to be own 24 hrs consider buying a raspberry pi zero or similar low powered boards to continuously supply power to your DNS server 

2. do they block ads on youtube. 

Please read the sections Pros / Cons . This is not meant to block First Party ads like the Youtube ads shown at the start of the video .  So 

3.do they escape adblock warning ?

I have generally not seen an adblocker warning in my 3 months with NextDNS so it should be rare. 
Helpful Helpful
Link Copied

Any simple videos to understand better... do post some links.

Helpful Helpful
Link Copied

setting up next dns is easy 

  • Signing up for an account
    1. Login to Next DNS https://my.nextd...o/
    2. On your home page you get a Setup Guide - > Go to router setup . It will show your profile specific DNS IPv4 ( 2 IPs ) &  IPv6 ( 2 IPs ) addresses . 
  • Ensuring quality of the NexDNS IP addresses for your location ( Benchmarking NextDNS IPs vs other Public DNS server ) 
    3. Download DNS Bench ( https://www.grc.com/dns/benchma...tm ) /
    4. Click Add / Remove server and add NextDNS IPv4 IP both addresses one by one
    5. Click Run the Benchmark . After ranking is completed, check whether NextDNS is comparable or better than some well known  DNS OpenDNS / Google DNS / Quad9/ Cloudflare as well as your ISP DNS
  • If NextDNS is as fast as your ISP you are good to setup on the router 


    6. Find your router model number/ manufacturer from back of your router 
    7. Find the login page of your router ( General IP is 192.168.1.1 but can change for your router manufacturer google it  ) . Google for the default login and password of your router model / manufacturer and login 
    8. Find the section to change DNS Server . You need to find the DNS config page for your router manufacturer on google as each one has different config page. 
    9. If DNS Server option is allowing entries then you can maintain the DNS1 / DNS2 / DNS3 servers yourself . Also if there is an Auto DNS/ Manual DNS radio button ensure you click manual to override your ISPs DNS 

    Same process for both IPv4 & IPv6

    DNS1 : Next DNS 
    DNS2:  Next DNS
    DNS3 : 8.8.8.8 ( IPv4 ) or  2001:4860:4860:0:0:0:0:8888 ( Ipv6) ( Google DNS )

    If only 2 DNS server are allowed to be maintained

    DNS1 : Next DNS
    DNS2 : 8.8.8.8 ( IPv4 ) or 2001:4860:4860:0:0:0:0:8888 ( Ipv6) ( Google DNS )

    Click Apply Changes . Congrats DNS has been setup on router . Relogin and check whether the DNS servers you provided are sticking or not to your ISP 

    10. If your DNS setting is greyed out you need to google to check out how to change DNS . Either Jio / Airtel backend support can change DNS for you or there are manufacturer / router model specific tricks on google to change DNS .  
  • Checking if NextDNS is resolving correctly 
    11. Go to https://dnscheck....s/ and see if your DNS resolvers are showing NextDNS and Google DNS IPs only . If it is anything else it means the DNS you provided are not sticking and you need to change some settings in your routers.

    IPv6 is a new concept and generally problems can be due to IPv6 . Try disabling IPv6 altogether from your routers config page and try again .

    12. Once above step is completed , stream hd/4k content from your favourite OTT apps to ensure there is no lag / buffering / slowness . Keep the config for a day and ensure you are satisfied with the manual DNS servers and there is no slowness

  • Setting up NextDNS for privacy and configuring Next DNS


     
    13.Follow the guide ( start with Hagezi except Ultimate initially ) . Full configs guide here https://github.com/yokoffing/NextDNS-Config?tab...
    14. Once configured ensure Linked IP in your homepage is showing green . If not there will be a refresh icon press it . Basically it links your routers IP to this configuration done in the above step . 
  • Checking Adblocking

    Run https://test.adminforge.de/adbloc...ml and check the results. If it  has a high percentage it means your setup . 

replyuser
Click here to reply
Reply