Android device owners have a couple of options when it comes to blocking ads on their devices. One of the better options, as it is application independent and does not require root, is to use a DNS filter proxy.
The method works similarly to how hosts files work on computer systems. DNS is used to "translate" domain names to IP addresses that computers communicate with, and a hosts-based solution blocks access to known domain names by changing the information on the device.
The Android application personalDNSfilter blocks connections to known ad servers on devices running Android to block advertisement and other unwanted scripts from being downloaded and executed.
The application is offered as a compiled APK that is compatible with Android 4.2 or newer devices. You need to configure the device to accept installations from unknown sources as it is not installed through the Google Play store but independently.
Cautious users can check out the released source code of the application and use it to build the app from scratch.
The app sets up a new VPN connection that all traffic is routed trhough. The developer states that all filtering happens locally on the device.
Advertisement connections are blocked in all applications that you run on the device after installation of the personalDNSfilter. Please note that its needs to run in the background. If you plan to use it all the time you may enable the autostart option it comes with to have it started automatically so that it is ready for use whenever you use the device.
The application uses an ad server filter list with about 2500 entries by default. You can check it out with a click on this link. You can use other lists, more complete ones for instance or specialized ones, as well.
Simply enable advanced settings in the application's interface and add your own hosts file lists so that any list you add is used by the application.
You can disable the blocking of advertisement in the interface temporarily; useful if you need to access a site, application or service that refuses to work when personalDNSfilter is enabled.
A quick test with the default list resulted in ads being blocked for the most part in all tested applications. I ran tests in browsers like Chrome but also opened applications that display ads, and most of the ads were not displayed with the default list that personalDNSfilter uses by default.
personalDNSfilter is an easy to use solution; it does not require root nor expert knowledge. While you need to allow the installation of unknown applications for a brief moment, that is the biggest technical hurdle that you will face when it comes to the application.
The application is open source which is always reassuring as you can inspect the source if you really want to make sure that the app is clean and does only what it is supposed to do.
Now You: Do you block ads on your mobile devices?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.