Blokada - Simplicity at its best

You are impatiently waiting for the download page to load, after all it’s the file you were waiting for all day.
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Those evil, pesky, flashy popups “There are 13 singles within 12 miles. Click to chat.”
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*sigh*
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Finally download page loads. Hurray 👏👏
Now the only thing separating you from your file is the download link among 20 other “Download/Download Now/Generate Download Link”.
Now you need to make a choice that will decide your fate.
Suspense builds up.
You make a decision you tap ‘download’ among several other download links.
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It was a trap, it’s an ad. Now get ready for the doom.
You close 17 tabs opened after clicking the ad and (try to) get back to download page.
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Well the page has redirected to youwonafreeiphone.xyz with beeps and vibration.

Mission Failed ☠☠☠

Jokes apart, this is your regular battle with these annoyances that you encounter every day on webpages.
Don’t even get me started on those video ads on apps.
“I hate these” you hopelessly grunt every time you see them but you encounter them in almost every app or webpage you visit.
It’s not the first time but it can be the last if you use an ad-blocker.


An adblocker is a silent guardian that takes care of ads and a watchful protector against malicious pages.
With Blokada as your Batman you won’t ever be deprived of calm and peaceful webpages.
Blokada fights for you (not literally, street fight is not good for your face) against ads and you reclaim your right to clean and secure webpage.

You can use adblock browsers while browsing, but they block just while browsing, what about the ads in other apps.
Remember the video and banner ads in apps, What else could be used then ?
Well, Blokada is again at your rescue.

“Blokada efficiently blocks ads, tracking and malware. It saves your data plan, makes your device faster and protects your privacy. It’s fast, simple, free, open source and secure.”

Yes, you read it right. Fast, simple, free & secure, all compliments for one app. Rare but true. Blokada is lightweight, less than 5MB in size.
Each update makes the app faster and more efficient in removing ads. Along with speed and efficiency you get what very few apps can offer, low battery consumption and lesser RAM usage.
It’s stays silently in the corner and optimizes your internet experience.

We recently asked our users the best thing they liked about Blokada. The best things about Blokada according to users were simplicity, effectiveness, easy on battery and RAM, reliability and being open source.

Tighten your seatbelts we are about to get deep into few of the many loved features of our favorite Blokada.

1. System wide blocking without root:

Yes, you heard it right. You don’t need to root your device to block ads anymore.

What comes to mind when you hear system wide ad blocking, rooting and changing system level host files. I know rooting has its perks but is it as easy as it sounds?
Nope, you have to unlock your bootloader (I feel your pain Xiaomi and Huawei users) and then root it painstakingly using different methods with a fear of bricking your device.
If and only if you succeed, good news awaits,“Your warranty is now void. Your device is now less secure.” Now proceed to modify system level files.

All these troubles just to get rid of these nuances. It would be quite unfair, isn’t it?
Saving you from all such troubles Blokada does not need root and instead creates a local VPN to filter out all ads requests and you get your adfree experience.
Blokada provides system wide ad blocking using local VPN. All data remains in your phone, none leave it.
Now you won’t have to void your warranty to use an adblocker. > Note: Due to Android limitation more than 1 VPN can’t be used for a single user simultaneously. Therefore Blokada won’t run with your VPN.

2. Free and Open Source:

Blokada is open source, you can inspect, modify or enhance the source code. Due to this it’s transparent and secure. You no longer have to worry about trusting the developer, whenever you wish you can head over to GitHub - Blokada and inspect the code yourself to your satisfaction.
Blokada is free, all due to the donations of users and the community that support it.

3. Ease of use & Reliability:

Blokada is simple and reliable. You don’t need to be a geek to use it. You don’t even need to configure anything. It comes ready to use out of the box.
Just Install, open it tap the power icon and you are good to go. It’s as simple as it sounds. Although first time it would ask permission to set up VPN.
No crazy and complicated setups, just simple ad blocking.
By default you get loads of ad blocking host lists and DNS to choose from.
You can see the live blocked ads from notification.
If your device kills Blokada in background you can turn on ‘Keep Alive’. You can also turn on ‘Start on Boot’ and Blokada would keep on working even after you reboot your device.

Tip: You can turn on ‘Keep Alive’ and ‘Start on Boot’ and forget about Blokada. It will keep on working in the background.

Blokada consumes so little battery and RAM that you won’t even notice its effect on your phone performance.

4. Stability:

What good is an adblocker if it stops working midway. Other than the need of efficiently blocking ads, stability is the most important requirement.
Each and every release is extensively tested by Blokada Insider community before being released publicly.
Rigorous checks and tests are carried out on different available devices before it gets to you. So you can stay assured that the app you are using is not going to let you down anytime.

5. Support:

Although it’s not a feature of the app but it’s a thing worth mentioning, Blokada has a large community of supporters and volunteers that are always ready to help you with any problem that you face.
It is one of the most liked aspect of our users.
Apart from dev, there are community managers on different platforms that are working hard to help you. Community managers are from all over the world (different time zones), due to this I can dare to say that all queries/issues will be entertained 24 hours a day.
Drop a problem or query on Facebook or Telegram and experience the support that Blokada provides.

I also have a message from rpeter from our Insider Community to share, “Give it a try. Experience it, and you’ll stay with us.”

I could go on and on about how awesome the app or community is, but that will be someday next time.

See you folks till then.
K. Sunny

Want to help Blokada grow.

How does Blokada work?

This article is brought to you by Sebastian, one of Blokada Insiders, and is the first in a series of articles aiming to improve your understanding of ad blocking, privacy and malware protection, and related topics.

In very simple words, how does Blokada work and what is that VPN?

We all know that blocking ads is certainly something we all want. While some developers in fact rely on the revenue coming from displaying ads on their apps, the majority of ads we want to block are annoying, they increase the amount of traffic and simply ruin user experience, to put it straightforward (personal advice: if you use an app whose developers seems to really depend on ad revenue, you can whitelist that app on Blokada, and URL requests from that app won’t be filtered).

There are several solutions to block ads available at the moment, but most of them are somewhat complex on the field of privacy data, others require special measures like rooting your phone, and others block ads on webpages but the rest of the system still displays ads. Nevertheless, Blokada requires none of this measures, and blocks not only webpages but also apps. Let’s see in short terms how Blokada does it.

So, how does Blokada work?

To put it simply, Blokada generates a Virtual Private Network, a VPN, on your phone, and through the use of that VPN it filters traffic against hosts lists that contain hosts that are known as ad hosts. Also, it provides alternate DNS, so eventually that traffic will be resolved with the use of those DNS.

Basically two parts: first through the use a VPN all traffic is checked against a host list that contain ad delivery hosts; the second part is the host list itself, which is automatically updated within Blokada from known hosts list (like AdZHosts). A third component is the alternate DNS option provided by Blokada, but we’re not going to get into it now.

To get things clear, DNS stands for “Domain Name Server” and/or Domain Name System, and while it’s much more complex than these few words, for the purpose of this short article we’re going to say that it is the system by which an URL is converted to an IP address, or, how your phone finally knows which IP is www.google.com. Blokada allows to use other DNS different from the system DNS, but by default the DNS used is the system DNS.

Now, what is a VPN and how does the Blokada VPN affect the privacy of my data?

A lot of people have asked about the privacy of their data, since Android will always tell you that there is an active VPN on your phone when Blokada is activated. In short words, a VPN is a method that allows, among many other things, for re-routing traffic. When Blokada is activated, traffic is routed locally on your phone and passed through the hosts lists.

If there is a match between the URL that a webpage or an app tries to reach and an entry on the host list (the one that contain the ads hosts), then that connection is blocked. If there’s no match, then the data is retrieved from the host and delivered to your phone, be it a webpage or an app.

Ad blocking diagram

Does the Blokada VPN mean that my data is passing through third party hands?

No. The Blokada VPN is a local VPN and its reason is to route all the traffic through the hosts filters to know when a requested URL matches an ad host. As it was said before, if there’s an URL request to a host on the hosts lists, the request is blocked, so the ad isn’t even reaching the phone (this is where Blokada also helps in saving data, because it blocks the ad from the very request of it, not just displaying it). No data is passing through third party servers or hands or screens nor it is stored anywhere.

So, for the peace of your mind, using Blokada and seeing that VPN android alert doesn’t mean your data is at risk. This method is the reason why Blokada works not only for webpages and inside a specific browser like any other browser extension, but also on any other app on your Android system that requests an URL.

Technical notes!

When we are trying to explain in simple words something that has several technical aspects, there always has to be a section with the correct terms, specially for readers with advanced knowledge. In this article we made a few compromises to keep it simple, but there are two important things.

  1. The first one: we used the concept of “URL request” to explain how ads are delivered, but Blokada in fact works at DNS level, meaning it filters not by URL but by domain. At DNS level, a domain is associated with an IP, and Blokada works at this level. These concepts -the DNS system- are a little bit technical since the DNS system involves “levels” among other things (the server that knows where to find .com domains knows where are the next layer of DNS, so it asks for a given .com domain to that DNS server, it’s a recursive query). For the purpose of this article we let it at “URL request”, but in reality Blokada works with domains, as in the DNS system (in the DNS system there’s no such concept as URL, but domain). We took the liberty to explain it with the use of the term URL since it is far more known than the concepts around the DNS system.

  2. The second one: there are two kind of hosts lists. The common ones, those used by Blokada, are composed by a domain and its associated IP address -and if there’s a match between the requested domain and an entry on the list, then the domain is blocked-. The other ones, commonly known as “cosmetic filtering” are used by some other ad blockers, and have another function. The difference is the following: when an ad is blocked, the webpage itself -or app itself- doesn’t know that the ad has been blocked, it simply doesn’t display it. Sometimes the consequence of this is a white space or some other layout issue, since the webpage or app had a space on the layout reserved for that ad. These other ad blockers sometimes use what is known as “cosmetic filtering”, meaning it filters content according to some other rules (like CSS styling, by detecting on the CSS where are ads located on the webpage) and work on the layout of the webpage. Blokada doesn’t work on this type of filtering, since Blokada works at domain level.

Platforms vote results

During May we’ve been running the platforms vote, which is part of my strategic planning of the Blokada future. Needless to say, this is very long term, since there’s a lot of things to implement on Android still, but, it’s always good to check what do you think. Especially because you are always keen on giving your feedback. :)

This time we had 1039 responses, which is much more than before, although this survey was running for longer time than the previous ones. This was a multiple choice survey, so one participant could vote on more than one feature (and there was no maximum limit). In total, there was 2595 votes. Unsurprisingly Android was your top choice. I included it in the survey as a sanity check mostly ;).

What is interesting though, is the fact that you rank Windows (23%), and Linux (16%) so high. This is a good sign for future expansion of Blokada, although for the foreseeable future I plan to put the focus on mobile platforms. From this perspective, it’s good to see that Android TV / Fire stick got a decent amount of votes (14%), even more than iOS (13%).

Platforms vote 1

The second question was meant to probe the popularity of iOS among you. This was an optional question, although 1010 participants responded to it (almost everyone). Almost half of you (48%) said to be using an iOS device or have someone close who is using it. This is great news for a potential future expansion of Blokada to iOS.

Platforms vote 2

Again, thank you for so active participation in another general voting of our community. The next survey is already online, and I encourage you to take part in it!

PS, did you know you can join Blokada Insiders and help run the project? For example, you can be managing the voting like this one. It’s totally free and doesn’t take much time. You are welcome to join us!

Features vote results

Throughout April we’ve been running the features vote to see which of the proposed features are the most welcome among you. Today, I finally found some time to write up the results. :)

This time we had 721 participants, which is great. This was a multiple choice survey, so one participant could vote on more than one feature (maximum 5). In total, there was 2317 votes. The most popular feature was HTTPS filtering (to block YouTube ads and encrypted ads) with over 20% of all votes. It’s worth noting, though, that probably the most popular feature (VPN), was not included in the survey, since it’s already planned. This result doesn’t surprise me much, since you ask about blocking YT ads a lot, but implementation wise, it’s hard to guarantee high effectiveness and low battery usage across devices. Nevertheless, the survey results tell me to keep this feature high on the priority list.

Features vote 1

Looking at the rest of highly popular feature requests yields some more surprising results. While the high demand for the Firewall feature (17%) is in line of what I expected, and confirms my priorities, it’s surprising to me to see the Auto activate / deactivate feature clocking over 10%. It’s welcome though, in particular since it’s way faster to implement than most of the other features.

Other high contenders are: Better notifications (8%), Advanced DNS configuration (6%), and Data saver (6%). I’m quite happy those are high on your list, since they are high on mine too.

Next in order are: Speed test (5%), Root non-VPN mode (5%), and Cloud backup (4%). Among those, first two are more popular than I would expect, while the cloud backup seems less important to you than I thought.

The rest of the features apparently has a lower priority, so we won’t analyse them in detail just yet. Again, thank you for so active participation in another general voting of our community.

PS, did you know you can join Blokada Insiders and help run the project? For example, you can be managing the voting like this one. It’s totally free and doesn’t take much time. You are welcome to join us!

VPN vote results

For the last month I’ve been running a survey about the possibility of adding VPN service into Blokada. The idea is that introducing independently from the existing ad blocking and DNS changing functionality will allow to support the project development long term. The survey was designed to help me understand what you think about this idea and how would you like it to work.

As usual, I could count on your participation. With 896 responses the survey turned out to be very useful for making decisions. Over 78% of you answered you’d use Blokada VPN, which I think is very promising result. Among those, 43% declared to only be interested in a free tier. It means that 44% of all voters is interested in a paid service, which is a very good sign for supporting the development of Blokada in the future.

VPN vote 1

As to top features you’d like to see in Blokada VPN, first five are: high speed, strong encryption, servers in many locations around the world, no logs, and support for multiple platforms. It’s a bit surprising to see strong encryption so often requested, and it highlights the fact that Blokada users are quite tech savvy and concerned about privacy.

Among the ones who said no, roughly 39% is happy with their current VPN provider, and 37% do not want to use any VPN anymore. Only 16% said to not trust Blokada enough to use its VPN service. The rest of responders provider more specific answers, mostly stating a lifetime subscription of existing VPN service, or a worry about Blokada becoming too bloated. The last one is an unnecessary worry though, since if the VPN service gets introduced in the future, it’ll be fully optional, and you’ll be able to use Blokada exactly as today, for free.

Again, thank you for so active participation in another general voting of our community. I already prepared a new survey, and it’s available in the app. This time it’s simply about which features would you like to see implemented in Blokada the soonest.

PS, did you know you can join Blokada Insiders and help run the project? For example, you can be managing the voting like this one. It’s totally free and doesn’t take much time. You are welcome to join us!

Blokada translations moved to Crowdin

During the last year we’ve translated Blokada to 15+ languages, with more than 30 languages in total being worked on. This is amazing!

In order to make the job easier for translators, I decided to change the translation platform to Crowdin. Migrating existing translations took me many hours, and not everything went smoothly to say the least, but I think you will agree it was worth it - the new platform is much better!

You can read more about the new translation platform here.

If you’ve contributed translations to Blokada before, I sent you an email about the new system. I invite you to try it out and let me know what you think. Also, we’re looking for people interested in managing translations - each language will have a person approving changes having a say on what goes into the app, and what doesn’t. We hope to increase the overall quality of translations this way. If you’re interested, please read about Blokada Insiders.

Branding vote results

Since users seem to confuse the name Blokada very often, I decided to check what the community really thinks about the branding. Over the last 3 weeks we’ve been voting on alternative names for the project, and we got some cool suggestions. Here are the results.

The first voting was designed to test if we want to change the name at all. Surprisingly, 89% of users (from 1286 votes) is happy with the name Blokada, or at least think we should not change it.

Branding vote 1

This was a bit of surprise to me, but since rebranding is a significant amount of work and I would prefer not to do it, I was happy with the results ;).

Users who voted to change the name was asked then to vote on one of the existing alternative suggestions, or propose their own. We got some really interesting suggestions, so just to exhaust the topic of branding I decided to run one more survey. The second survey was just focusing on those suggestions, to see which one of them is the best, in case we decide to rebrand after all in the future.

Branding vote 2

We got 358 votes (this survey was running only a few days). The highest number of voters (23%) voted on Blockade. Two next most popular choices were Blocky McBlockface and BlockIt, both with roughly 11% of votes.

So, thank you for so active participation in the first general voting of our community. I am very happy with the engagement and I think this is a very good way to decide about any matters important for the future of the project. In fact, we’ll be voting on introducing VPN functionality next.

PS, did you know you can join Blokada Insiders and help run the project? For example, you can be managing the voting like this one. It’s totally free and doesn’t take much time. You are welcome to join us!

Blokada Insiders

With the growing popularity of Blokada, I’m getting more and more questions about how can one help the project. Well, there is a lot of things to do with every single release! If you are enjoying Blokada and wish for its continued development, you can make a big difference by joining Blokada Insiders.

Blokada Insiders is a welcoming group of people giving a bit of their time to help Blokada grow and improve. We do various tasks which don’t take much time, but together make a huge difference. Each of us take a specific role, like Community Manager, Columnist, YouTuber, Adopter, Promoter, Translator, etc. Each role defines things to take care of.

How to join us? It’s very simple:

  • Check Insider roles (the ones marked with orange Help Wanted are up for taking) and decide what would you like to do. Click any of the roles to see a detailed description. Each role has its perks!
  • Check Creators board if you’re thinking about one of the creator roles, to get an overview of which things we currently need.
  • Join our chat and mention that you would like to join the insiders.

That’s it! Join the community, support Blokada, and have fun with us!

Blokada is an open source project. There is no financial reward or cost involved with participation. You are free to resign anytime, we only ask you to let us know once you decide to do so.

Blokada v3 is out!

Blokada v3 is now released and I’m gradually rolling out the update to all users. If you haven’t received it yet, stay tuned, or just go the download section.

This release is introducing a lot of changes and improvements, and you’ll see all of them described in detail in next several posts. Meanwhile, here are the highlights:

  • Improved “Keep Alive” feature. This is addressing the problem of Blokada being killed by the OS too often on some devices.
  • Improved “Start of Boot” feature. Now Blokada starts earlier in boot and is more dependable.
  • Introduced HTTPS to Blokada API and website to improve security and prevent MITM attacks.
  • Introduced Blokada Chat. You are welcome to join us on Telegram!
  • Introduced Blokada Patron. This feature aims to help supporting the project and at the same time reward contributions and active members of the community.
  • Introduce “Chip In”, a periodic Call to Action mechanism to engage the userbase and help make community decisions. As a first order of business, the Blokada community is having a vote to express their opinion on Blokada branding.
  • Simplified and refreshed UI to eliminate confusing bits, keep the codebase nimble and decrease apk size.
  • Simplified translating Blokada by decreasing the overall amount of strings, eliminating use of plural strings and keeping the core phrases set small.
  • Fixed several significant bugs, for example with the whitelist.

A detailed changelog is always available at go.blokada.org/changelog.

Thanks to the great team of Blokada translators, Blokada v3 is translated to 15 languages from the start. I can’t emphasize enough how awesome it is, especially because it was done on a really short notice.

Please note that some non-essential bits are still to be translated and you’ll see more complete translations in coming days.

Blokada ad blocker now also available in Italian and Malay

The awesome members of the Blokada community just contributed new translations! As of v2.2, Blokada adblocker is now available in two more languages: Italian and Malay. A thank you goes to:

  • Italian: htrex
  • Malay: Syed

This makes Blokada ad blocker speak 10 languages in total! Just a month after I’ve introduced translations support. What’s more, Hebrew and Persian are already in the pipeline (I need some more testing for those since they’re first RTL languages to be supported by Blokada). This is seriously impressive.

Great job everyone!

Your language missing? I’ve made contributing translations as easy as possible. Go here to help.