Pi-hole has been around for a while but just recently I decided to take a closer look at what I’ve been missing out on. Pi-hole was originally designed to run on a dedicated Raspberry Pi but it’s not required.
Version 4.2.1 just released this month with several improvements but what really makes it easy is the setup. It took me about 5 minutes to have ad blocking for all my phones, laptops, and desktops in the house.
First you need a linux system on the network. This is why the Raspberry Pi is a popular choice. It’s low power, small, and most importantly under $40. For me, I used an Ubuntu vm running on my esxi stack.
Next, the one command setup
curl -sSL https://install.pi-hole.net | bash
The next is running through the wizard that really isn’t any different than any other wizard on windows. It just looks a bit different. I recommend running a static IP, but it’s not required.
Next configure you DHCP server to specify Pi-hole as the DNS server. Let Pi-Hole do everything else for you. You can even run DCHP from the Pi-Hole but that’s not covered here.
Now just sit back and watch all the ads getting blocked. For more advanced users, custom lists, installing Pi-Hole on your pfsense router, etc are just the beginning of customizations. DNS blocklisting has been around for a long time, Pi-Hole just figured out a really easy consumable way to implement it. Hats off to that team.