Rice hull (designated with RH) was activated by phosphoric acid to prepare an adsorbent for the removal of sulfur-containing compounds from diesel fuel. Adsorption tests for both, a 300 µg.g-1 dibenzothiophene (DBT)-containing n-octane solution using as model oil and a commercial hydro-treated diesel fuel, were performed to elucidate the effect of varying phosphoric acid to RH ratio, treating temperature and the removal of silica from the adsorbent on the combination of the textural structure, surface chemical property and adsorption capacity. It was indicated that high surface area and micro-pore volume of the adsorbent favored the adsorption of DBT and its derivatives. Richening of oxygen-containing compounds on the adsorbent surface was advantageous to the adsorption and removal of DBTs. At a phosphoric acid and RH weight ratio of 3:1 by using a two-step treatment, a satisfactory adsorbent with an adsorption capacity of 28.89 mg S/g was successfully prepared. If the silica in the adsorbent was further removed, the product exhibited the highest performance, reaching 30.43 mg S/g for the model oil and 21.79 mg S/g for the commercial diesel fuel. Both the textural structure and the surface chemical property like acidic groups of a RH-based adsorbent play important roles in its adsorption behaviors, and the formation of donor-acceptor complexes between surface acidic groups and DBT may probably benefit DBT adsorption capacity.