How to set up ad blocking in our app

27 May 2021  FEATURES

We've all appreciated those award-winning commercials worthy of every bit of praise, but we also got our fair share of dreadful ads. Soon: on/off-button for Ad-blocking in our app. Until, do this if you please.

In March, we released a public DNS service that offered DNS over HTTPS (DoH) and DNS over TLS (DoT), with QNAME minimization and basic ad blocking. It was audited by the security experts at Assured.

In April, we added support for custom DNS server configuration in the desktop (macOS, Windows, and Linux) and Android versions of the Mullvad VPN app.

Today we release our Ad-blocking and tracker-blocking DNS service, running on all our servers. This can be used with every Mullvad app version that supports custom DNS. This works on both OpenVPN and WireGuard® connections.

Until we release an on/off button in our app, test this

Click on the gear icon (Settings), then Advanced. Scroll down to Use custom DNS server and enable it to add any of these DNS servers:

  • 100.64.0.1 – for Ad-blocking
  • 100.64.0.2 – for Tracker-blocking
  • 100.64.0.3 – for Ad- + Tracker-blocking.

You will see a warning that says, “The DNS server you are trying to add might not work because it is public. Currently we only support local DNS servers.” You can safely disregard this warning and click Add anyway.

How do I know if it’s working?

First, restart your browser to clear cache then go to https://mullvad.net/check and find out! You should have no DNS leaks. Click on “No DNS leaks” for details. Then check how it actually response on an ad- and/or track-friendly website. Eager to test all three at once? Not possible, this is a one-at-a-time thing. Test and find your favorite.

Should I replace my browser ad-block plugin with DNS blocking?

Probably not, unless you want to. DNS blocking can never be as effective as a traditional ad-blocker. It is an excellent idea to keep that awesome ad-blocking plugin in the browser and then let DNS ad-blocking take care of blocking ads and trackers in apps, games and on devices where traditional ad-blocking isn't available.

Notes

We use the following block lists (same as on our DNS over HTTPS service) configured as ‘Zonefiles’ to provide the ad-blocking functionality:

  • easylist
  • easylist-privacy

 

For the universal right to choose whether or not to block ads and trackers,
Mullvad VPN


"WireGuard" is a registered trademark of Jason A. Donenfeld.