AdGuard Home

A screenshot of the AdGuard Home web interface running as a Home Assistant addon

I’ve recently started using AdGuard Home as a way of blocking advertising and tracking on my iPhone and iPad, when on wifi at home. It works as a replacement DNS server, and re-routes requests to domains known for advertising and traffic to a DNS Sinkhole.

Unlike a browser-based ad blocking extension, such as uBlock Origin or Firefox Focus, by intercepting DNS requests AdGuard Home can stop tracking in all apps. That includes built-in browsers in apps, such as the Facebook app, as well as any app analytics tools. As I have an almost 6 year old 6th generation iPad that is getting rather slow, not having to load additional advertising and tracking scripts has boosted its performance and battery life.

Installing AdGuard

To run AdGuard Home, you’ll need a spare computer that can run all the time. A Raspberry Pi is ideal for this, as it’s small, low energy and can be run without a keyboard and mouse. You can also use Docker, Snap, or do as I do and run it as a Home Assistant addon. Indeed, once it’s set up, Home Assistant will detect it and offer to install an integration.

You can then adjust your router’s DNS settings, so that every device in your home uses your new AdGuard DNS server. This will block adverts and tracking across all of your devices if you want it to. I’ve chosen not to do this; whilst many tracking sites are a privacy nightmare, I also use sites like Quidco to get cashback. I use Google Chrome with no privacy features turned on when making purchases that could be eligible for cashback; this earned me over £80 when we switched our broadband supplier to Vodafone recently.

For me, just having it running on my mobile devices when at home on wifi is enough.

Whilst AdGuard offers other tools that are paid-for, AdGuard Home is free and open source.


Pi-hole is similar to AdGuard, in that it is also a DNS-based ad blocker. As the name suggests, it was intended for use on Raspberry Pi computers, but can be installed on other devices. I had investigated installing this, but came across AdGuard as an easier alternative. Pi-hole is also open source, but development seems less active.

Advanced features

For the most part, once you’ve installed AdGuard Home and set it as your DNS server, you don’t need to do much else. However, you can enable DNS Encryption if you want – especially if you want to access your AdGuard server from outside the home. You can also use AdGuard Home to block adult content, or access to certain web sites, and configure this for individual devices. So, I could enable parental controls on our eight-year-old’s tablet using AdGuard without restricting my devices.

Ghost Signs

You know those old painted adverts you sometimes see on the side of buildings? York, where I grew up, has a famous one for Bile Beans, due to its prominent location, but there’s also one in Halifax too.

Historic England is building a list of these, with photos and GPS locations, and you can contribute. I’ve added one near where I live in Sowerby Bridge – it’s seen better days, but perhaps in Historic England have a list, then there may be money and resources to restore some of these.

Ianvisits mentioned this last week, and it’s encouraging to have seen the list grow in the days since. It’s not just painted adverts like this that are welcome – signs for old and defunct shops can be added too.