As many of you probably know, AdGuard provides a lot of ways to block ads in form of various apps and browser extensions. Some even heard about AdGuard DNS, a way to block ads without installing anything on your device. And today we are announcing the official release of a completely new product — AdGuard Home, which carries a lot of cool new stuff with it.
The short version: AdGuard Home is a network-wide ad-and-tracker blocking DNS server. Its purpose is to let you control your entire network and all your devices, and it does not require using a client-side program. At the same, AdGuard Home features a web interface to easily manage the filtering process.
Where it started
The first step towards AdGuard Home was made two years ago, with the announcement of the AdGuard DNS beta. For the first time, we offered a way to block ads without having to install anything on your device, like a browser extension or an app. And while AdGuard Home is a standalone project, it took a lot from its spiritual predecessor.
In fact, we should probably "thank" Apple for speeding up the development of AdGuard Home. When Apple decided that you couldn't control the traffic on your own devices anymore, we sought ways to put users back in charge of their own gadgets. Naturally, the DNS approach looked the most promising. It's too bad Apple won't allow apps that manage DNS requests anywhere near the AppStore — well, what if you didn't need any apps? And this is the main strength of AdGuard Home: you can set it up anywhere, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Honestly, I would be lying if I said that we implemented 100% of everything that we wanted. That is why we are calling this version of AdGuard Home "v0.9".
One of the main reasons is that the installation of AdGuard Home is currently not the easiest task for an unprepared user, simplifying it is one of the highest priority tasks as we move forward.
Don't get me wrong, it works perfectly fine in its current state, there's just even more we want to add — and we will, in the official v1.0 release that will be announced before you know it.
But we simply couldn't wait any longer, so meet AdGuard Home 0.9!
Why use it?
It is probably not news to you that ads and trackers follow you on the web wherever you go, not only on your computer, but also on your smartphone (in fact, probably even more on your smartphone!), and even in things like smart fridges, smart vacuums and — God help us all! — smart light bulbs!
Even if you have nothing against companies gathering data about you, tracking can be plain dangerous. Ads are no better — they have long become a gateway to all kinds of malware, viruses, crypto lockers, phishing and more trackers.
Given how densely we are surrounded by gadgets in our life, it can get really tiresome to find, install, configure and maintain an ad blocker app for each of them, and, as I've mentioned already, in case of "smart furniture" this is not possible at all. This is where AdGuard Home comes into play — and shines. It provides a unified solution for blocking ads and trackers on all devices within your network, most commonly your home Wi-Fi network, but nothing prevents you from setting it up in your workspace or anywhere else.
Features and advantages of AG Home
The first thing you will notice is the web interface. We think it looks neat and tidy:
AdGuard Home Dashboard
Let's have a look at the main tab. Here you will find all kinds of statistics, including a vivid graphical representation. As you probably noticed, it looks just like a normal app, but you only need it alone to manage filtering on all your devices within the network.
Unlike application-based solutions for Android and iOS, AdGuard Home is not dependent on media giants like Google and Apple and their countless artificial limitations. Your personal preference is the only deciding factor
Now let's go to the "Settings" tab and look more closely at each of the options offered.
Manage filtering process
The name speaks for itself. This is the main module, keep it enabled if you want AdGuard Home to block ads and tracking in your network — and it will block a lot. Just look at this comparison:
Ads are gone now
And this is not just aesthetics, look at the amount of saved traffic and load speed:
AG Home saves time and traffic
That is more than 3Mb of traffic and 15 seconds of load speed, and that's only one page.
AG Home blocked a dangerous website
This stands for anti-malware and anti-phishing protection. AG Home will block all potentially dangerous requests to malicious and fraudulent websites, protecting you from online threats.
A page is blocked by Parental control
This is useful if you have kids and you don't want them to access websites with inappropriate content.
AG Home enforced "Safe search"
In the same vein, this option enforces "Safe search" mode in the most popular search engines (when enabled, it omits adult websites and pictures from being displayed in the search results)
Custom upstream servers
At the bottom of the "Settings" tab is a window to select a preferable upstream DNS server. Don't bother yourself with it unless you know what it means — this option is not essential to the quality filtering at all, but rather is a nice bonus.
AdGuard Home was developed based on the production-ready AdGuard DNS software, which has been used successfully by millions of users from around the globe for the last two years
Add third-party filters
The third tab is devoted to filter settings. By default, ad blocking will be managed by the AdGuard SDN filter, but you have an option to add other filters and hosts-based blocking lists (basically, those are lists of rules that tell AG Home what exactly to block), or even create your own custom filtering rules. Multiple filters and hosts lists are available on the Internet.
AdGuard Home is developed by AdGuard — known experts in ad blocking and privacy protection. Over 25,000,000 users entrusted us with their online safety and never looked back
Monitor network activity
In the next tab there is a query log that offers everything you would expect from it — complete information on each and every request, all kinds of sorting. For each blocked request, there is a small tooltip telling you what rule it was filtered by, additional information about its origin and an "Unblock" button right next to it. Similarly, for unblocked requests there is a "Block" button. The log keeps track of the last 5000 queries and, of course, you can download the log file.
AdGuard Home is an open source project. We would be delighted to see any feedback, suggestions or other contribution from you. Whatever it is you have for us, the place to go to let us know about it is always the GitHub repository.
In summary, AdGuard Home gives you complete control over what is happening within your network.
How to set it up
Currently, you can install AdGuard Home on MacOS, Linux (x32 or x64), and Raspberry Pi. There is no need to go into technical details — we have the installation process described in the dedicated GitHub repository. Also, detailed guides on installing AG DNS to VPS and Raspberry Pi are available in our Wiki.
We are not going to stop here: on the contrary, we have big plans regarding the future development of AdGuard Home. Here is a short list of what we are planning to do next:
- One-click setup of your private VPN integrated with AdGuard Home
- Improve the UI, make it better both functionally and aesthetically (send us your suggestions!)
- Enhance the encryption options — DNSCrypt and DoH support, a possibility to run in the encrypted DNS server mode
- Make it easier to use AdGuard Home with mobile devices (e.g. Mobileconfig for iOS)
- Integrate AG Home with AdGuard applications
Being optimistic and looking a bit further, we would like AG Home to eventually become the privacy protection center for you and your devices, simple to use and easy to configure, where you can set up a personal proxy, VPN or encrypted DNS just in a couple of clicks.
Can I uninstall my ad blocker now?
The main advantage of AG Home lies in its ability to protect the whole network. When it comes to the sheer "filtering power", DNS-based ad blocking is inherently less potent and flexible than the approach taken by browser extensions and especially less so than dedicated tools. As an example, this article compares AG for Android and hosts-based ad blockers, and it gives a good impression of their relative capabilities. Whether you need this level of protection or not is a matter only you can decide.
And that's about it, hope you'll like AdGuard Home and will find a good use for it!
Do you have any questions or suggestions? We're answering everything on Product Hunt today!