Blocking Ads for a peace of mind

Why block Ads?

If Ads bring you joy then perhaps this is not for you. But if you want improve the quality and performance of your web experience, reduce the overhead (memory, CPU, network/data), declutter the noise and constant sales-pitches from your life and have a peace of mind, then this is for you.

Negative Impacts of Advertising

Unrealistic Expectations

According to a study, "Patient and Physician Attitudes and Behaviors Associated with DTC Promotion of Prescription Drug" by the Food and Drug Administration, advertising of prescription drugs has resulted in unrealistic expectations about the effectiveness of a drug and their side-effects. Visual effects of happy and healthy people often divert attention from small-print disclaimers, which are either difficult to read or understand.

Advertising often portray qualities that are unrealistic or unattainable. Men and women often feel that they should try to be like the personas portrayed in the advertisement. This feeling may cause unhealthy depression or anxiety.

Children

Today, children are consuming multiple types of media simultaneously and spend over 45 hours per week on a computer, mobile device, television, or game console. In Professor Hastings study, "Review of Research on the Effects of Food Promotion to Children," found that there is a correlation between food advertising and children's preferences.

Individual Productivity

There are many Ad agencies that provide visual and interactive Ads. These Ads consume a lot of memory, CPU, and network resources (including eating up your data plan). They bloat your browser, and make them slow to respond, unstable, and possibly crash. Let's face it, there is much less quality control conducted on Ads than on actual applications. Ads that load various javascript components can also create conflicts with the web site's own scripts.

In addition to consuming resources, they also invade your privacy by tracking you, your interactions. Ad agencies claim that they anonymize the information, but anyone technical can tell you how easily that information can be traced back to you. After-all, building a profile of you requires being able to map all your online activity back to you.

Corporate Productivity

The internet browsers is a part of everyone's daily routine. There isn't a minute that goes by without employees navigating the web for information. Serving Ads to employees has two potential problems. First, it affects the productivity and experience of the individual employee. Second, if your company is paying for online Ads, I am sure a good number of your employee would have seen your Ads. You are essentially paying your Ad agency to serve Ads to your employees.

The list can go on and on...





So how do I block the Ads?

There are numerous strategies to block Ads. Some of which are discussed below, along with their pros and cons. Consider the approach most suitable for your situation.

Host File (Simple)

The host file approach is the simplest approach requiring an update to your device's host file. This approach will redirect all requests for the Ad server to either your own or a dummy address, so requests to the Ad server will fail.

On Windows:
  1. Edit the file: C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts or run Notepad C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
  2. Add list of ad servers to your host file. Click on link http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/serverlist.php?hostformat=hosts;showintro=0

Credit to Peter Lowe for providing a comprehensive list of ad servers (~2400) and detailed instructions for various configurations.

On Unix, Mac OS:
  1. Edit the file: /etc/hosts
  2. Add list of ad servers to your host file. Click on link http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/serverlist.php?hostformat=hosts;showintro=0
On Android:
  1. Edit the system file /system/etc/hosts file. See the following article on how to access and edit the file on your Android: Edit your rooted Android hosts file to block ad servers
  2. Add list of ad servers to your host file. Click on link http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/serverlist.php?hostformat=hosts;showintro=0
On iOS:
  1. Edit the system file /system/etc/hosts file. See the following article on how to access and edit the file on your Android: How to edit the hosts file in iOS
  2. Add list of ad servers to your host file. Click on link http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/serverlist.php?hostformat=hosts;showintro=0

Auto Proxy Script

If you want to easily enable or disable blocking of Ad servers in your browser, you may want to consider using a proxy script.

  1. Open your browser's network connection settings. See your browser documentation on instructions on how to update automatic configuration of proxy settings.
  2. Set automatic configuration script to http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/serverlist.php?hostformat=proxyautoconfig;showintro=0

Firewall

This approach is better suited when you need to block Ad servers across many or all devices.

The instructions for updating your firewall is dependent on your particular brand of firewall.

If you are an employer and are also concerned about the amount of time spent on major social networks (ie. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ), adding them to your firewall policy can help improve productivity.

DNS / Nameservers

If you are using your own DNS or nameserver, you could also consider this approach.

Although the instructions for setting this up is dependent on your nameserver, Peter Lowe provides useful steps on how to approach this. See his article at http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/.

Do you have an app to automate all this?

The steps are fairly simple for blocking Ad servers, and we encourage you to share this information with your friends and colleagues. If you would like an application to automate these steps or provide finer level of control per application, send your request into support. See link to support below.


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Questions & Support

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