Ideas for reducing mobile data usage over VPN?


I am happy to say I am finally the proud owner of a recently flashed LEDE router! :smiley: I have been having lots of fun setting up QoS, OpenVPN and all kinds of goodies! Now I have come to an area where I need some advice.

As I said, I have OpenVPN up and running. Now I want to experiment with compressing, optimizing and filtering out unwanted elements (ads, etc) for the purpose of reducing data usage on my phone. I have done a lot of reading on the subject but am I am unsure of the most effective methods for accomplishing this or if it is even worth the effort in the long run. I think what I am looking for is a forwarding HTTP/HTTPS proxy server/MITM that will incept web traffic, decrypt it, strip out unwanted stuff (ads), compress it and/or otherwise reduce data usage as much as possible, encrypt it with self signed certs and then finally send it through my VPN to my phone which also has the trusted certs. In a perfect world this will drastically reduce data usage. But, probably not. Hopefully it would be enough to make it worth it!

I have researched a few tools:

ziproxy (old and no longer in development)
RabbIT (old and no longer in development)
compy (looks promising but virtually no mention of it in anywhere)
privoxy (not entirely sure if it is specifically setup to do what the first two do. could be made to work?)

Those are the few that I have found that could accomplish what I am looking to achieve. However, they all have their downsides. Ziproxy doesn't appear to be in active development. There are no binaries for Compy, it is written in Go and there is next to no information in regards to install it on my router. Privoxy doesn't seem to be intended for what I have in mind. If I am wrong about that, I'd be delighted to know!

If you have any recommendations or ideas on how I could pull this is off, I would love to hear it! Even if it is a combination of other tools chained together. This is fun for me so if it requires a little work to do then I am all for it. However, the lack of discussions on this leads me to believe its not really worth it. If so, why not?


Router info:
Linksys WRT AC1200
1.3 GHz Dual-core, 512 MB or RAM, 128 MB NAND
LEDE 17.01.1

How about something simple and effective, with impressive statistics like Pi-hole? Set it up as your DNS server, and enjoy nearly ad-free Internet with very little fuss. The Raspberry Pi I'm using is also the MySQL server for Kodi and my Ubiquiti UniFi controller without breaking a sweat! Ad-blocking plus eliminating redundant metadata downloading equals reduced data usage!

Agree with bnhf Pihole is simple and effective for DNS filtering, Also there are adblock opkg downloads for LEDE

Hey thanks guys! Thanks for your input! PiHole is a strong contestant for my ad blocking needs. I've been looking into it. However, I am also VERY interested in reducing data, not just through ads but also through compression, converting images to smaller sizes, minifying JavaScripts, CSS, HTML. Blocking Ads is just part of the equation. Also, frankly, I'm not really looking for simple. As you've stated PiHole is all too easy! I want to try to stretch my 2 GB as far as it will possibly go! I love a good challenge!

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i know it's not lede related but if you're on android try opera max it should do all you need ...

Have you tried OpenVPN's in-built lzo compression?

Opera Max does fit what I am looking for. However, in terms of privacy it's not ideal. Also for the free version you have to deal with a stupid ad on your lockscreen as a trade off. Lastly, it's been scrapped by Opera.

Yes I have considered lzo and have it enabled currently, but lzo does not compress https traffic very much. Most if not all compression algorithms don't compress https very well. Also gifs, jpegs and png formats are already highly compressed, so further compression will yield very little if any data savings. HTTPS would need to be broken to be able to compress the data within. Gifs, jpegs and pngs will need to be converted to a smaller size. The trade off is less quality but for most sites I am completely fine with that.