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Minimal composite ad-blocking hosts file generator


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adhosts - Generate ad-blocking hosts file from multiple sources

This minimal tool builds a composite host file, containing entries mapping domain names to IP addresses, from multiple sources, such as ad-blocking, anti-tracking and other lists.

The resulting file can be used with eg. dnsmasq to provide ad-blocking via DNS for an entire network, or it can be installed on single hosts.

This script condenses much of the functionality of eg. PiHole into a form that is easily integratable into existing systems, without introducing lots of new software. Thus, this tool is mostly geared towards system administrators and people already familiar with their infrastructure.


The config file contains all configurable parameters, which are

  • SRC_HOSTS: A file containing lines of links to hosts-style (ip-blank-domain) blocklists.
  • SRC_DOMAIN: A file containing lines of links to domain blocklists.
  • OUT_DOMAINS: The output file containing the final list of blocked domains.
  • OUT_HOSTS: The output hosts-style blocklist.
  • ADSERVER: The host to redirect ads to. This can be used to approximately count the number of blocked ads (see below).

To add a local blocklist, in either domain or hosts-style, use a file:// URL.

Blocking on the local host

To apply the generated blocklist on a single computer, copy it to /etc/hosts. Take care that there may be pre-existing entries in there, which may be destroyed by simply overwriting the existing file. A reasonable solution may be including the existing entries via a file:// URL.

Blocking for the whole network

To block ads for an entire network, you will need to configure that networks resolver to prefer entries from an external hosts file. Most resolvers will also read the local /etc/hosts and prefer that to external responses, to copying the generated hosts-style file to /etc/hosts on the resolver should work.

For dnsmasq, the following configuration option will read an additional hosts-style file into the resolver:


Counting blocked ads

When redirecting the blocked ads to a host on the local network via the ADSERVER configuration variable, setting up a web server such as lighttpd and having it count the hits will provide an approximation of the number of ads blocked.

Note that most ad networks (sensibly) use HTTPS now, so the count may be off until you provide HTTPS on the diversion server (which may be complicated by having to also serve a valid certificate for the requested domains).


Minimal composite ad-blocking hosts file generator








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