Computer Escape's Technology Blog

Hardware Ad Blocking with PiHole

Posted by Allen Murphy on Wed, May 17, 2017 @ 04:34 PM
Allen Murphy

What is PiHole?

PiHole is a piece of code designed to eliminate ads at the network level. This code is installed onto a device known as an ARM computer, a microcontroller based module normally designed for robotics and DIY coders. Once the device is set up and configured, it starts blocking ad content on every computer/mobile device on a network.


How does it work?

Here's where the real magic happens. When you type "" into your browser and press 'Enter', your computer sends a request out over the internet. That request then gathers information about the website you requested and returns it to your PC. Normally, your internet service provider handles that request when it goes out and when it comes back. This process is known as the Domain Name Service or DNS. Along the way, the information you requested makes several stops. At each of these stops, additional information containing advertisements and popups is attached to your request, ultimately arriving on your screen. With the PiHole device installed on your network, every request your computer sends out is instructed to pass through the device rather than your internet service provider. In doing so, unwanted content is filtered out of the information returned to you. 


What are the benefits?

While browsing the internet may not seem risky, a majority of threats come in the form of ads or popups. It might sound ridiculous but one wrong click can land the average user in more trouble than you might think. Infections such as spyware, ransomware, and rootkits can be hiding within even the most innocent looking ads. With the advancement of malware over the last few years, certain infections can end up costing personal users hundreds of dollars while businesses can be faced with millions in damages. Typical ad-blocking solutions include products like third-party software and browser extensions. These solutions usually yield varying results and require installation on any machine or browser where ad-blocking is desired. With PiHole, devices connected to a network require no change. An additional benefit to having ads blocked at the network level is that, with less content to process, your web experience can be much faster. This solution is ideal for settings in which intrusive ads pose the highest risk.


Where do I sign?

One call to Computer Escape and you can be on your way to an ad-free browsing experience!