Are you annoyed by website ads? Do you know who is tracking your web browsing habits? Firewalla's built-in ad blocker can make sure you don't see ads and ads don't see you.
Firewalla's Ad Block feature will block ads for web pages and mobile apps. Under the hood, our service points your currently configured DNS server to our internal DNS cache on the box. A side benefit of this is your DNS lookup will be very fast, which is a terrific bonus.
To turn on this feature, tap the Ad Block button on the main page, then toggle it on.
Strict Mode and Target Lists
If you tap on Mode, you can choose between Default and Strict. Strict mode will trigger Ad Block more often than Default mode.
While Firewalla already has an extensive amount of security data that we use to block ads and judge the security of your connections, you can also upload your own Target Lists if you have many custom targets or want to use a pre-existing target list. Read more about how to use Target Lists.
Here is an example of using the target list OISD to enhance ad blocking.
Giving Exceptions (Allow Rules)
If Ad Block blocks certain sites you'd like to access, you can use allow rules to give an exception. In the example below, Google shopping ads (googleadservices.com) are allowed on the device "jack iphone". Learn more about Firewalla Rules here.
You can also go to the Network Flows page to create allow rules to give exceptions. To do this, go to your Blocked Flows, locate the site you'd like to access, and in the flow's detail page, tap Allow to create a rule directly.
Note that the priority of all rules is Device > Group > Network > Global. For example, if you have Ad Block applied to a network but you want to make an exception for a certain ad site, you will need to create an allow rule on the device or device group level. A global rule will not take precedence over Ad Block in this situation, since it is on the network level. To ensure your allow rules always work as expected, apply them to a specific device. Learn more about rule logic.
Some services may not like their ads getting blocked. If you experience any issues, try temporarily turning off Ad Block on your device.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How do I know if Ad Block is working?
To test if Firewalla Ad Block is working, visit one of these websites:
You should see "No more ads" if it is working.
2. I have turned on Ad Block, but it is not working.
Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android all cache DNS entries. If you have just turned on ad blocking, your DNS may still be using the old server. Try flushing the DNS cache first. For iPhone and Android, the easiest way to clear your DNS cache is to switch to airplane mode on and off. For laptops and desktops, wait several minutes or restart.
If your devices are connected to VPN, please ensure the option "Force DNS over VPN" is off.
3. Why isn't Ad Block blocking every ad?
Firewalla's Ad Block is a lot weaker than many of the desktop versions of Ad Block. Yes, we acknowledge that. Here is the reason: an ad blocker needs to access your data stream and manipulate unencrypted data to block ads more effectively. Firewalla, by design, will never look at your data and only at metadata. That's why Firewalla will only stop certain ads, not all. Because of this, Firewalla can not block YouTube ads. We still efficiently block ads from well-known ad sites.
We stand by our commitment to never look at your data or pass your data to a third-party service!
4. Why is my browsing experience different after turning on Ad Block?
Adblock is NOT a standard feature. It is like a cat-and-mouse game of advertiser platforms pushing ads and ad blockers intercepting them. Technology will move forward, so your everyday browsing experience may be disturbed. For example:
- You may be experiencing content not loading...
- The website may complain that you have an ad blocker on...
- Some sites may not load due to an ad blocker...
When this happens, please disable Ad Block. Also, if you can send us the link that's causing trouble to firstname.lastname@example.org, it will help us to improve our accuracy over time.
We do not and will never claim we can block all ads. That s just impossible.