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I want to begin this post by saying thank you to Rita M. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have investigated the Blokada app.Blokada

What is Blokada?

Blokada is a free open source ad blocking app that works on Android devices, including the Amazon Fire Stik (unfortunately, it does not work on iOS). It not only blocks ads but disables tracking and prevents malware.

To get the app you have to download it from a source other than Google PlayStore. Google’s model and Blokada’s model are in direct opposition of each other. With Google, the more targeted ads the better. With Blokada, there’s no such thing as a good ad. It blocks them all. Let me rephrase that. Blokada blocks unwanted popup ads.

How to Use Blokada

First, download it. I recommend going to the Blokada site to find a trusted download source. Once it’s downloaded and installed, all you need to do is turn it on. Oh, and the one small configuration step that I’ve instituted is to turn off notifications. If you leave it on, Blokada will notify you everytime it blocks an ad.

Just for grins, leave notifications on so you can see just how many ads the app is blocking and which apps are the biggest culprits. After about 5 minutes or less, you’ll want to turn notifications off.

Since downloading Blokada, I am now able to install Solitaire on my tablet and play it without being interrupted by ads. That is a major feather in Blokada’s cap!

One Big Issue and One Small Issue

Big Issue: While the program does a great job with blocking ads, Blokada is in direct conflict with my VPN. I installed Blokada on my Fire Stick and noticed that every time I turned Blokada on, it turned off IPVanish. That’s not good.

I don’t need to use a VPN when I’m playing games, browsing the internet or chatting with friends (which I don’t do on the Fire Stick). However, I do need it I when watching programs with my movie/TV streaming apps. As a result, I removed Blokada from the Fire TV stick and kept it on my tablet.

Small Issue: When Blokada is running, It doesn’t display a notification icon in the taskbar. I’ve got to physically open the app to see if it is on. This small issue might be a problem with my tablet. I have a random star on my taskbar that I can’t figure out what or where it came from or how to get rid of it (something else for this grandma to investigate). Maybe that star is preventing the Blokada icon, who knows?No Blokada on Taskbar

Some Observations

If you go to the Blokada website, the image of the app shows the Start on Boot option is on the app’s home page. That’s no longer the case. Start on Boot is now located under the Advanced Settings option.

After spending some time on the Advanced Settings page, I wanted to learn more about how the app works. For those of you who like to geek out, visit their blog post on How Blokada works.

I’ll be honest, I did spend a little time there reading the post with confused excitement. Bottom line, the explanation was a little too deep for this wannabe Geek Grandma, so I figured I’ll just enjoy the fruits of their labor.Blokada Dream

Now to find an ad blocker for my iPhone.

FeliciaFelicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, freelance writer and low tech blogger.

7 comments… add one
  • b May 6, 2019, 5:36 am

    This doesn’t work on Fire Stick even with install from unknown sources on. Keeps saying “downloads not supported at this time.”

    • Felicia May 12, 2019, 9:32 am

      I’ve only installed Blokada on my tablet. I tried it on the Firestick, but ended up removing it. Not familiar with the “downloads not supported…” error. I did a quick Google search and found a couple of forums with folks having the same problem. Maybe the solution is buried in one of the forums. Here’s one that I found. Some of the other forums require registering and signing in. If you do find a solution, please let us know.

  • Amanda Rodgers April 20, 2019, 7:36 pm

    There is a YouTube ad blocker out there ❤️ also, you should be able to “split tunnel” blokada via IPVanish in settings. It allows apps to work while still using VPN for streaming services.

    • Felicia April 21, 2019, 6:59 am

      Thanks, Amanda. I’ll check it out. Hmmm, “Split tunnel” a new phrase for me. Something new for me to try. 🙂

  • Rita Montague January 19, 2019, 12:53 am

    You’re welcome, Felicia, and thanks for all the info you give us. I assumed the Blockade VPN did what all VPN’s do but maybe not. Good thing I have the DNS blocker.

    Later,

    Rita

  • Rita Montague January 14, 2019, 7:18 pm

    Hi Felicia: Blokada has a built in VPN and that may be why it’s conflicting with IP Vanish. Maybe in your Blokada settings you can turn off that feature. I use it because I don’t have a VPN, but I do use a DNS blocker. The one I use is unblockr.net. It blocks tracking also. There are others out there should you ever have the need.

    • Felicia January 15, 2019, 3:56 pm

      I’m not sure I quite understand how both VPNs work. I get the impression that the local VPN created by Blokada is for ad blocking purposes only. IPVanish, on the other hand, reroutes traffic through its servers for privacy reasons so your ISP can’t track what you’re viewing or the sites you’re visiting. It would be great if I could run both simultaneously, but unfortunately, Android doesn’t allow that.

      Now you mention DNS blocker. That’s a whole ‘nother rabbit hole for me to investigate. I’ll look into the one you mentioned.

      I need to spend a little time understanding the hierarchy of these things and to figure out if there’s a redundancy on my devices. Thanks for giving me more food for thought. 🙂

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