Use Privoxy as an Internet Filter and Ad-Blocker

I have recently made the shift to Google Chrome and missed the Ad-Block extension dearly. Chrome currently does not support a streamlined interface for providing plugin support unlike Mozilla Firefox, so I am left wanting for a way to bust the ads that keep appearing in my page.

My attempts at looking for a way around this problem yielded a way of switching on developer mode for Chrome and then using a Userscript to do the same thing.


Unfortunately, the whole process is rather clunky and did not really work. Happily, I stumbled upon something called Privoxy, and it’s an absolute godsend which I will now heartily recommend to anybody who’s on the Internet often. Even if you have adblock software installed on Firefox, you should check out Privoxy all the same because it’s a whole new concept of Internet filtering.

First let’s introduce Privoxy and what it is capable of. It is an advanced non-caching web proxy with filtering capabilities allowing you to directly modify HTTP headers and controlling access. The advanced features are quite powerful and allows you to filter out certain keywords, setting up actions and filter rules and so on. However for most of us, Privoxy is used to block ads and banners, get rid of ‘web-bugs’ or invisible cookies and generally remove most of the nasty stuff that the Internet likes to throw at you.

Although the settings sound scary, installing and configuring Privoxy can be done in two steps and gives you 80% of the benefits from the tool. Only a small percentage of very advanced people would actually use the remaining 20% of Privoxy’s power for other purposes. Simply head on over to their website and grab a copy to install in your machine.

After you’re done, its time to set your browser to use Privoxy as a proxy. In the case of Google Chrome, we simply head on to the Options > Under the Hood page and hunt down the Proxy configuration. In the new dialog menu, go to LAN Settings, then Advanced and finally under HTTP and Secure, set the Proxy address as localhost and the port as 8118. This are the port that Privoxy uses. Set the same settings for your other browsers if you want to use Privoxy to filter out the data.

Proxy configuration

Once that’s done you’re all set to go. Remember to allow Privoxy to start each time your computer does (just drag a shortcut to Privoxy and put it inside your Startup folder in the Start Menu). Otherwise, your browser will be hunting for a Proxy which hasn’t started yet.

That’s all you need to do. Now whenever you visit any website, Privoxy will be the bouncer in line to strip search the content and filter out all the junk from the Internet before passing the remaining clean data over to your browser, to use an analogy. The built in filtering algorithm and rules are pretty sturdy right out of the box, but remember to update your Privoxy installation every now and again to get newer filtering rules. It’s a very fast and efficient way to set up ad blocking on your computer, and if you follow the above method for Chrome, Internet Explorer will also be configured for Privoxy.