Does Peerblock still have a use?
I was reading over some articles discussing Peerblock and there was a lot of back and forth about it’s usefulness. Most comments were directed toward file sharing, which I agree, it won’t do much, but what about in general terms, does Peerblock still serve a purpose?
It depends on what you plan to do. As mentioned, it’s ability to block peers while sharing files doesn’t really help these days. It’s only as good as the list it downloads and considering hosts change their configuration at will, that’s not going to do much. Further, once you make a connection to a peer, your IP address is known.
From a browser point of view, the features of Peerblock can be found in tools like Adblock Plus and Ghostery. You can also install BlockSite if you find yourself being directed to annoying advertisers.
So is Peerblock worth running? In a simple sense it can be used to block advertisers from the system level so you won’t see ads served up by applications. This can be useful for chat applications and others that come free with advertising. You’ll most likely have to track down and configure some IP addresses, but it can be done.
I still have Peerblock installed and still use it to block advertising that ADP misses. At this point, it’s more of a backup plan to cut down on site specific offenders. It also offers a way to subscribe to the iBlockList which can be of benefit.
As it runs, I see it blinking on a regular basis, blocking some sort of connection that matched one of the rules. I will say that when it’s off, there is a noticeable increase of advertising coming into my machine. It’s not the most powerful line of defense, but I still see a benefit to it’s use.
So, is it good for protecting you while you work with Torrents? Not at all. Does it help with blocking advertising and other junk mail style sites? Yes, it can. But keep in mind that it uses a wide stroke to block sites so you may need to turn it off for some everyday sites. For example, it’s hostile toward Netflix and Steam.