In this post, @markthethomas walks through a project in a privacy and home-tech vein: setting up a private VPN server on AWS with streisand and adding pi hole to get secure connectivity with network-level ad-blocking anywhere you go and on all your devices.
Pi Hole is a suite of tools designed to do network-level ad blocking by acting as a localized DNS resolver. It offers (from their site):
- Network-wide protection: Instead of browser plugins or other software on each computer, install Pi-hole in one place and your entire network is protected.
- Block in-app advertisements: Network-level blocking allows you to block ads in non-traditional places such as mobile apps and smart TVs, regardless of hardware or OS.
- Improve network performance: Since advertisements are blocked before they are downloaded, network performance is improved and will feel faster.
- Monitor statistics: Our Web interface offers control of your Pi-hole and a central place to view statistics. We also include an API for extending these stats.
But once I learned you could easily combine the pi hole’s ad-blocking capabilities with a VPN, I wanted to make it happen ASAP. This fact, plus discovering the streisand project were a perfect recipe for a (next available) weekend project. Streisand is great because it’s designed for speed and ease of use but also aims to be censorship resistant so it implements best practices. It also offers a wide variety of technologies out of the box, so you can choose a setup that works for you (ranging from more compatible to more performant).
The article discusses in depth how to set up the software and get everything working.
If you are looking for a hardware Pi-hole kit, Adafruit sells the Ad Blocking Kit for Pi-Hole with 2.8″ PiTFT:
This pack includes everything except a Raspberry Pi – No soldering required
- PiTFT Plus Assembled 320×240 2.8″ TFT – one of the cutest little display for the Raspberry Pi. It features a 2.8″ display with 320×240 16-bit color pixels and a resistive touch overlay.
- 8 GB microSD Card w/ PIXEL Desktop NOOBS – the fastest way to have a variety of operating systems on your Pi
- 5V 2.5A Switching Power Supply with 20AWG MicroUSB Cable
- Pi Model B+ / Pi 2 / Pi 3 Case Base – Smoke Gray
- Faceplate and Buttons Pack
Don’t forget to also get a Raspberry Pi computer to go along with this, we recommend the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B