uBlock Origin vs AdBlocker vs Pi-Hole


The topic of ad blocking as a security measure is often misunderstood. Besides the fact that ads can be annoying they can also bring with it malvertising. Malvertising is advertising that can be dangerous to your computer, mobile device, browser, or any device.

Why do I need it?

  • Pop-up and pop-under ads that hi-jack your Internet browsing experience
  • Ads which follow you around on all your devices, because you searched for a related product 3 days ago
  • Ads which track your location and profile you
  • Security measure against ad based Malware
  • Block Ads on Youtube
  • Block Ads on Pandora
uBlock extension blocking ads on Chrome using Youtube
uBlock blocking ads on Pandora using Firefox

Fake Ads

  • Ads trying to get you to install fake software updates such as Adobe Flash.
  • Ads pretending to be operating system messages telling you that you have a virus

Malvertising can come in many forms such as .pdf, images, and links. Many people visit sites everyday without realizing the effects of Malvertising on your computer. The use of online advertising to spread malware has become widespread. From regular mom and pop online stores to porn, the spread of Malvertising is at an all time high and it is flying under the radar of many security measures.


Credit: Wikipedia

uBlock Origin – What is it?

uBlock Origin is a Browser plugin and has a basic interface that can allow you to choose what is blocked. It will also give you a view of what has been blocked.

uBlock Origin GUI

uBlock Origin’s Philosophy

uBlock Origin (or uBlock₀) is not an ad blocker; it’s a general-purpose blocker. uBlock Origin blocks ads through its support of the Adblock Plus filter syntax. uBlock Origin extends the syntax and is designed to work with custom rules and filters. Furthermore, advanced mode allows uBlock Origin to work in default-deny mode, which mode will cause all 3rd-party network requests to be blocked by default, unless allowed by the user.

Credit: uBlock Github Page

Pi-hole – What is it?

Pi-hole is a Hardware Appliance that sits on your network with a more robust offering, since it covers your entire network. We prefer this approach since it takes less to maintain. It does require maintaining a box that sits on your network, but at least I know it will protect the entire network and that seems like a more thorough solution.

Pi-hole Philosophy

Image Credit: Pi-hole

We threw in AdBlocker in this discussion because it is very prevalent and is misused due to its generic name.

The real question is which is better for you?

Well, uBlock Origin is a browser based plugin, while Pi-hole is a device you add to your network.

uBlock Origin Advantages

  • Browser based so installation is minimal
  • It is a safe extension
  • Aimed at making your browser safer
  • Technologies like WebRTC will leak your IP Address, uBlock will block that

Pi-hole Advantages

  • With Pi-hole you can change your preferred DNS server
  • Pi-hole has a robust choice of DNS servers for DNS filtering such as OpenDNS
  • OpenDNS is aimed at making your browsing safer

Which one to choose from?

The answer depends on your Network strategy and resources. For a simple solution uBlock Origin will work since it is just browser based.

For a more advanced installation Pi-hole is worth checking out since it will filter out any device that tries to communicate on your network instead of depending on a computer or mobile browser. If you have multiple computers and multiple browsers that is more management to worry about.

It may take a little bit more effort, but we love the power of the incredible Raspberry Pi, and Pi-hole is a great way to showcase it.

Final thoughts…

  • Blocking ads on your Mobile Device with Pi-hole and a VPN sounds awesome
  • uBlock Origin extension does its job, try it out

For a more advanced review of these tools check back.

Link to add uBock Origin Chrome Extension

Link to add uBock Origin Firefox Extension

Link to add uBlock Origin Safari Extension

Link to uBlock Origin site

Link to Pi-Hole