The internet is a much different place when it’s not full of advertisements. This past week, I zipped around from site to site, watching the images and text load without banners and obnoxious pop-ups. Algorithmically generated ads in podcasts failed to load, the banner ads on my television died, and the smartphones connected to my Wi-Fi went blissfully untracked by advertisers. I accomplished this with a Pi-Hole, a little computer attached to my network that blocks advertisements at the network level. It’s like a firewall just for advertisements, it makes the internet better and easier to use, and it’s cheap and easy to build.
Chances are, you already use some kind of ad-blocker and it’s probably browser and device based. Every phone has its own app, every browser its own plug-in, and they increasingly don’t work. We’ve all had to turn off our ad-blocking software to access a site we wanted. Pi-Hole lets you block everything at the network level and it works for every single device on that network. When it comes to ad-blockers, Pi-Hole is the nuclear option.
To get started, you’ll need a Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi’s are tiny computers that can be used for a variety of DIY projects. Raspberry Pi’s can become 12-Megapixel cameras, a miniature cell phone tower, or a machine that kills advertisements. The base model Raspberry Pi 4 costs just $35 but it doesn’t quite come with everything you need.