How to Block Ads Using Squid Proxy Server

How to Block Ads Using Squid Proxy Server

While some ads can be quite useful, providing valuable information about new products or services we might be interested in, others can be intrusive, distracting, and even potentially harmful. As a server administrator, you may want to enhance your users’ browsing experience by blocking these unwanted ads.

One effective way to do this is by using a Squid Proxy Server, a highly flexible, widely-used, caching and forwarding web proxy software.

Squid is known for its ability to speed up web browsing for users and reduce bandwidth usage by caching and reusing frequently-requested web pages. But beyond these features, it also allows you to control, filter, and modify web traffic, making it a powerful tool for blocking ads.

In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of setting up your Squid Server to block ads. This can help to improve your network’s web browsing speed, protect your network from harmful ads, and provide a cleaner, more enjoyable browsing experience for your users.

Before we begin, make sure you have Squid installed on your server. If you haven’t installed it yet, you can refer to our tutorial on how to install and configure Squid on CentOS.

Step 1: Download an Ad Blocking Source File

The first step in blocking ads with Squid is to download a source file that contains the URLs of known ad servers. One popular source is the “pgl.yoyo.org” list. You can download this list directly to your server using the wget command:

wget 'http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/serverlist.php?hostformat=squid-dstdom-regex;showintro=0' -O /etc/squid/ad_block.txt

This command will download the list and save it as “ad_block.txt” in your /etc/squid directory.

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By the way, there are several other lists similar to pgl.yoyo.org that you can use to block ads with Squid. Here are a few examples:

  1. EasyList: This is a popular filter list that blocks ads from known ad servers. It’s primarily used with ad-blocking browser extensions, but you can also use it with Squid. You can find it at https://easylist.to/
  2. AdAway: This is an open-source ad blocker for Android, but it also provides a host file that you can use with Squid. The host file is available at https://adaway.org/hosts.txt
  3. StevenBlack’s Hosts: This is a consolidated host file that brings together several reputable sources into one comprehensive list. It’s available at https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts
  4. Fanboy’s Lists: This is a collection of filter lists that block various types of ads, trackers, and annoyances. You can find it at https://www.fanboy.co.nz/
  5. Malware Domain List: This list includes domains that are known to host malware. While it’s not specifically an ad-blocking list, it can help to improve security. You can find it at https://www.malwaredomainlist.com/

Remember to review the terms of use for each list before using them.

Step 2: Configure Squid to Use the Ad Blocking Source File

Next, you need to configure Squid to use the ad blocking source file you just downloaded. Open the Squid configuration file in a text editor:

nano /etc/squid/squid.conf

In the configuration file, add the following lines:

acl ads dstdom_regex "/etc/squid/ad_block.txt"
http_access deny ads

The first line creates an access control list (ACL) named “ads” that matches the domains listed in the ad_block.txt file. The second line denies HTTP access to these domains.

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Step 3: Restart Squid

After making these changes, save and close the configuration file. Then, restart Squid to apply the changes:

systemctl restart squid

That’s it! Squid is now configured to block ads. Your users should now enjoy an ad-free browsing experience.

Commands Mentioned:

  • wget ‘http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/serverlist.php?hostformat=squid-dstdom-regex;showintro=0’ -O /etc/squid/ad_block.txt – This command downloads the list of ad servers from pgl.yoyo.org and saves it as “ad_block.txt” in the /etc/squid directory.
  • nano /etc/squid/squid.conf – This command opens the Squid configuration file in a text editor.
  • systemctl restart squid – This command restarts Squid, applying any changes made to the configuration file.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we’ve shown you how to block ads using Squid Proxy Server. By leveraging Squid’s powerful traffic control features, you can significantly improve the browsing experience for your users, protect your network from potentially harmful ads, and even reduce bandwidth usage. This makes Squid a valuable tool for any server administrator.

Remember, this is just one of the many features that Squid offers. To learn more about what Squid can do, check out our other tutorials. Whether you’re a seasoned web server administrator or a novice venturing into the realm of proxy hosting, Squid offers a versatile and powerful solution for managing and optimizing your web traffic.

Hope you found this tutorial helpful.

If you have any questions or run into any issues, feel free to leave a comment below.

FAQ

  1. What is Squid Proxy Server?

    Squid is a highly flexible, widely-used, caching and forwarding web proxy that supports protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, and more. It is known for its ability to speed up web browsing for users and reduce bandwidth usage by caching and reusing frequently-requested web pages.

  2. How does Squid block ads?

    Squid can block ads by denying HTTP access to the domains listed in an ad blocking source file. This file contains the URLs of known ad servers. When a user tries to access one of these domains, Squid blocks the request, preventing the ad from loading.

  3. Where can I find ad blocking source files?

    There are several sources for ad blocking files online. Some popular ones include pgl.yoyo.org, EasyList, AdAway, StevenBlack’s Hosts, Fanboy’s Lists, and Malware Domain List. Remember to review the terms of use for each list before using them, as some may have restrictions on how they can be used.

  4. Can Squid block all ads?

    While Squid can significantly reduce the number of ads, it may not be able to block all ads. Some ads may come from servers not listed in the ad blocking source file, or they may be served through the same domain as the website, making them harder to block without blocking the website itself.

  5. What are the benefits of blocking ads with Squid?

    Blocking ads with Squid can improve the browsing experience for your users by eliminating distracting and potentially intrusive ads. It can also increase browsing speed, as less data needs to be downloaded when ads are blocked. Additionally, by blocking ads, you can enhance security, as some ads can be malicious or lead to harmful websites.

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