I lied — it’s not been a whole month. Close enough, though. OK, anway, first, let’s get some setup and numbers out of the way.
I set up NextDNS on my laptop and my phone. I left the tablet out. No one else in my household is using this.
Configuration was relatively easy. They had me download some “profiles” that I could “install” and activate. Very old school, like with those GPRS/EDGE profiles your carrier would have you download, install, and activate.
|Total queries made||555,144|
|Queries on laptop *||169,596|
|Queries on phone||385,548|
My laptop is typically online about 9 to 10 hours a day, whereas the phone of course is online 24 hours a day (how creepy).
I do have an ad-blocker on my primary browser on my laptop (Firefox, uBlock Origin). It helps when I use Safari or Vivaldi though since I don’t have to think too much. The latter comes with its own ad-blocker too but it’s good to give it a little help.
A little nicety offered by NextDNS is a section on their analytics called GAFAM dominance.
The “GAFAM” (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft) are the 5 dominant Internet companies that own many popular services, often operating under a different name, e.g., WhatsApp and Instagram for Facebook.
You’ll find a decent table below:
|Service||Queries made||Queries made (%)|
While yes, I am using Apple a lot more, I am surprised to see 21% of my queries being Google even after all this time and effort spent on de-googling.
They really do dominate the web.
And this is a good reminder.
I went with a hosted and managed DNS service because, well, they are simpler to use. The thought of getting my Raspberry Pi 4 out, ready, and then installing and configuring PiHole or AdGuard on it and then my devices… there was no way I was going through all of that.
And then take into account the fact that there’s extra config if you want to use this “local” DNS outside of the local network!
NextDNS’ setup took about 15-25 minutes and I didn’t break a sweat at any point. Not there, and not during the roughly one month of usage.
My thoughts on this.
I tried to browse on Firefox without any ad-blocker and it was a massive fail. I added a lot more filters to try and see if it would help matter, but at that point, some legit sites stopped working.
So it can be aggressive, but then that’s too aggressive. And even so, keep in mind DNS based filtering only goes so far. uBlock Origin or a similar ad-blocker is absolutely an essential, despite NextDNS.
However, on my phone, where I use Safari which doesn’t allow ad-blocking, it has made things… more tolerable. Not an absolute amount of tolerable, just relatively more tolerable.
The nicer thing it has done is it blocks a ton of logging by Mozilla, iCloud, Firebase (Google), and WhatsApp (Facebook/Meta). I appreciate that.
I do worry that it makes debugging and opt-in tracking harder (where I want apps to improve!), but for now, I’m OK in this box.
Ease of use.
Oh this is a joy! I remember how annoying running PiHole was. I gave up within days. This has gone on for over 3 weeks in comparison.
And that’s it. With little config and no worry of managing anything, I get a little less spied on for free!
8/10, would recommend.