Killing ads with the LAN-level Privoxy web proxy


Article from Issue 232/2020

Add-on ad blockers can help mitigate the degradation of your browsing experience, but sometimes you need to bring stronger weapons. A filtering web proxy can scrub web traffic to eliminate unwanted ads and scripts.

Most people see no ethical issues with the fact that websites display advertisements. Unfortunately, for lots of technical reasons, advertisements are often undesirable, to the point that removing them is sometimes necessary for a satisfactory surfing experience. (See the box entitled "Why Remove the Advertisements.")

Many users opt to use an ad blocker such as uBlock Origin [1] or Adblock Plus [2] in their web browsers. These blockers, which are installed as browser add-ons, are easy to set up and offer high quality advertisement filtering. However, they only work in the browser they are installed in, they aren't intended to work with smartphones and tablets, and they require significant duplication of labor if you need to support multiple computers on a local area network (LAN).

An earlier article in this issue described one possible network-based ad-blocking solution: the Pi-hole DNS tool. This article shows how to block ads using the Privoxy proxy server.


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