NextDNS - proof that it's working

After reading a few posts here regarding things like ad blocking, I decided to check out NextDNS. Since I was looking to test it out, I decided to take the easiest route and set it up on my iPad only and I didn’t even sign up for a free account - I just installed it. Once I like what it’s doing, I would then put it on my iPhone and laptop (on the individual devices and not on my router).

I deactivated 1blocker so I could see what NextDNS could do. But I’m now wondering how I can confirm it’s installed correctly and working. When I go to some sites, I see a bunch of ads. I know that’s not the only thing that it’s supposed to help with.

I believe there is a log that I can turn on/off but I’m wondering if the only way to see that log is to create the free account.

I’m wondering if anyone that uses NextDNS can give me a simple instruction (like go to a website) to confirm what I should and should not see if it’s working.

Try viewing stories in the Apple News app. That’s been my go-to check.

I just downloaded the app and clicked on an article from NPR on global happiness. I see 3 ads within the article.

Follow up. After seeing the ads in Apple News, I realized that maybe I never restarted my iPad (although it never said had to). So I restarted and went back to the same article and there were no ads.

But then I went into Safari and opened up NYT website and it didn’t show the big ad banner at top. But then I decided to double check if 1Blocker was on and it was so I turned it off and the NYT top banner ad displayed.

I’m not sure what to think now.

You can surf to to check the status.

Does that report “ok” in the status field?

Thanks for this. I just clicked on that link and it does say ‘ok.’ So that’s good news.

Now I’m wondering how I can test that it’s blocking ads.

You could try an ad blocker test page like this one:

  • with NextDNS disabled I score 50 out of 100 in the DuckDuckGo browser
  • with NextDNS enabled I score 64 out of 100 in the DuckDuckGo browser
  • with NextDNS enabled and the AdGuard extension installed I score 97 out of 100 in Mobile Safari

This also shows that a browser extension is still useful when using any of the DNS services that can block (some) ads (since a DNS service can only block based on hostnames, but a browser extension can filter based on the full URL).

I achieved 100 out 100 with Ghostery, Ublock Origin, Privacy Badger (and FB Purity for Farcebook) running and none of which I disable. Use the highest custom privacy settings in my web browser. Also default to browser premissions blocking various media – specific sites I unblock on a case-by-case basis — and, of relevance here, forcibly disable notifiactions. My profile here has emails turned off too; why would I need to have those when I am permanently logged in here anyway.

My results were on iPad, like the OP was testing on.

I don’t think uBlock Origin is possible on mobile?

(Maybe it will in the EU now browsers are no longer required to use the WebKit engine?)

Wow, this is fascinating and exactly what I was looking for earlier.

I happened to be on my laptop when I read this. (No NextDNS installed). I got a 100 out of 100. I did have 1Blocker extension running when I got that score. I then proceeded to turn off all the 1Blocker extensions and it got down to 65 out of 100. I then added back on one 1Blocker extension at a time to see how each one would affect things.

I then just went to my iPad and loaded the test page. With NextDNS on only, I got a 25. Then I turned it off and oddly got a 30. But then I did it again and with and without NextDNS, it was about 25 or 30. So that was a little surprising that NextDNS was as low as it was but in my limited understanding of it, there are other things it’s doing.

But as you stated above, a browser extension is still useful. I will reinstall 1Blocker on my iPad and see how that changes things. But I may also look at some of the other adblocker extensions like Wipr.

Don’t forget to clear your browser’s cache between test runs.

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I don’t know how NextDNS performs without an account, but it’s worth mentioning that having an account lets you configure the block lists that it uses.

Based on your description, my guess is that whatever defaults are applied when you don’t have an account are more conservative than what you might be after. In addition to the 50+ lists you can choose between (you don’t have to pick just one, you can mix & match as you see fit), there are also options for some additional tracking protection.

For what it’s worth, I’ve been a happy user of NextDNS for a couple of years now and find that it does a great job once you have it set up to your liking. I use it at the router/network level because the main appeal for me was less about ads and more about the security protections it offers, especially for the devices on my network that I can’t configure ad blocking or security for (TV, smart home, etc.)

For web browsing I find that the combination of NextDNS + Wipr in Safari and uBlock Origin in Arc is essentially flawless for my needs.


Thanks for this. Because this was a test, I didn’t bother setting up an account. But I’m not against doing so so that would be the next step. This all has been very helpful.

Maybe not but the older AdBlock Plus is. Not that I do that much surfing on either my iPhone or iPad. 99% of my webbing is done on one of my Macs.

You need to create an account else you cannot add block/filter lists. The iOS app is only an enable/disable toggle.

here is the how the ui looks like when you block ads.

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Many thanks for this. I will set it up this weekend when I have time.

I could be missing something here but if I don’t have an account, wouldn’t it just block everything by default?

No. Like I mentioned, you’d need to setup filter lists. Like this

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Then you might like this more detailed test as well:

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That gave me 139 out of 140 successful blocks on my desktop browser. The one that seems to get through this is pagead.js; if I knew where that originated from I’d block it too.