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Tired of slow, broken, outdated, or closed internet? Pi-Hole is a small piece of software that you can install on your own computer to redirect all of your home internet traffic through your own, local, static DNS server. This means that instead of all of your traffic going through the superfast, supersecret, and superexpensive “internet”, all your traffic goes through your own, local, “home” internet connection. This is a great way to keep all of the privacy benefits of the web without any of the vulnerabilities of a global internet connection.
Pi-Hole is a free software project for blocking Internet ads and tracking, originally written by the team at Pi-Hole, and now maintained and improved by volunteers. Pi-Hole is an open source system, and supports both the Raspberry Pi and the Shield TV. It is available in three editions: the full Pi-Hole system, which is built on top of the Linux operating system and the DNSCrypt network protocol; the Pi-Hole Lite, which is a stripped down version of Pi-Hole that only runs on the Raspberry Pi and is intended for beginners; and the Pi-Hole Shield, which is a small device that plugs directly into the Ethernet port of the Shield TV.
On the Internet, advertisements may be seen all over the place. You acquire a sixth sense to ignore them, use a browser extension like AdBlock to hide some of them, or go full out and install Pi-Hole on Ubuntu to block everything on your entire network. How do you go about doing this? In this essay, I’ll describe my setup.
Pi-Hole is a free and open-source ad blocker that can be installed with only one command: “curl -sSL https://install.pi-hole.net | bash” on any Linux distribution. After that, alter the network setup to utilize it as the primary DNS server.
At first look, this may appear to be an easy task, but I’m sure you’ll need additional information on how to accomplish it securely and effectively. Continue reading to learn how to set up Pi-Hole on your network step by step.
Installation of a Pi-Hole server on Ubuntu
If you’re confused by all the new terms and acronyms, get my free Raspberry Pi glossary (PDF format)!
Pi-Hole is a little solution that doesn’t take a lot of processing power to set up. It’s mostly utilized on the Raspberry Pi, a small computer with limited CPU and RAM, so it shouldn’t be a problem on a conventional PC.
Pi-Hole recommends at least 2 GB of free disk space and 512 MB of RAM in their documentation.
Your PC will suffice, but you could also use a Raspberry Pi 4 or a low-cost Intel NUC. I just read that you may use a Docker container to install it on a Synology NAS (I have this one on Amazon, but you can find cheaper models).
Warning: The current Ubuntu release may not support Pi-Hole; check this page for further information.
If you’re using Ubuntu, you can install Pi-Hole directly on your computer, but it’s generally best to install it on something you’ll use every day. If you configure your entire network to use Pi-Hole, for example, the Internet will not operate on other devices if your computer is turned off or in sleep mode. This would not be a pleasant encounter :). That’s why I recommend a Raspberry Pi (on which you can install Ubuntu), a NAS, or any other device you can leave on all the time.
Note: If you’re using a Raspberry Pi with the default operating system, I have a step-by-step guide on how to install Pi-Hole on a Raspberry Pi. I’ll concentrate on Ubuntu in this piece.
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Your operating system should be updated.
The first step after selecting your hardware and installing Ubuntu is to update your system. To avoid dependency difficulties and version incompatibility, it’s a smart practice to follow before installing anything on your system.
This is simple to perform in a terminal: apt update sudo apt upgrade sudo
If you’re using the Desktop version, you can also use the software updater function in the graphic interface:
To complete the installation, click “Install now” and provide the user password. If you have a lot of updates to catch up on, a reboot is definitely a smart option.
Then, if curl isn’t already installed on your system, you’ll need to do the following: curl sudo apt install
After that, the Pi-Hole script will install anything else.
Installation script for the Pi-Hole
Once your system is ready, you may install it with only one command by copying and pasting the following into a terminal: https://install.pi-hole.net/curl -sSL | bash
Although the process is nearly automatic, you must still answer a few questions in order to alter your settings:
- The installation begins after you provide your user password:
- A few seconds later, a wizard will shows up with a few questions for you to answer: Just confirm by pressing Enter for the first few questions.
- Then choose your DNS provider: Google is fine, but you can choose another one if you prefer.
- To block advertisements, Pi-hole uses third-party lists. It will use StevenBlack’s hosts list by default, but you can uncheck it if you choose (not recommended). To continue, press Enter (and the space bar to pick or deselect).
- After there, choose the protocols you want to utilize (I recommend keeping both).
- A static IP address will be used by Pi-Hole (to avoid reconfiguring everything each time it uses a new ip). The next step is to decide whether you want to preserve the current IP or manually change it. Depending on your network, you can probably keep the default one at home without too many problems.
- Then validate that the web interface and web server are both enabled (highly recommended):
- The installation process will configure everything as desired after a few questions.
Continue to the following step after making sure you don’t use the default password.
Set up Pi-Hole for your clients.
After you’ve installed your server, you’ll need to setup your network to use it. Because Pi-Hole functions as a DNS server, you’ll need to update all of your devices’ primary DNS servers to point to the Pi-Hole IP address.
This can be done individually on each device, but changing the default DNS server in your DHCP configuration is the easiest option.
Set Pi-Hole as the default DNS in the DHCP settings.
Going to your DHCP server setup and setting the primary DNS server to the Pi-Hole server IP address is the quickest approach to configure all devices at once.
If you’re doing this at home, your DHCP server is most likely your router. I won’t go into detail because it will vary by provider and router, but the general concept is to locate the DHCP settings on the web interface and modify the DNS server IP address.
It’s most likely your provider’s DNS server by default. It was in the DNS settings in my case:
Remove the default values and configure the primary DNS server to your Pi-Hole installation IP address if you’ve found something like this (probably something like 192.168.1.X or 192.168.0.X). The secondary DNS server should be left blank.
It may take a few hours for all devices on your network to change their settings, but it will be done automatically.
Change each client’s network setup to use Pi-Hole.
Manually updating the setup on each device you want to utilize with Pi-Hole is another option. This may take a little longer, especially if you have a lot of devices on your network, but you’ll be able to double-check everything before breaking the Internet for the entire family!
On Windows 10, follow these steps:
- Choose “Network Connections” from the “Start Menu” by right-clicking on it.
- Then select “Change adapter settings” from the drop-down menu.
- Choose “Properties” from the context menu when you right-click on your current connection.
- “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” should be double-clicked.
- Set the DNS server to static and input the IP address of your Pi-Hole server. Make sure the backup DNS server isn’t in use.
On Linux and Mac OS, follow these steps:
- The network settings are found in the System Preferences if you have a graphical interface.
- If not, modify the /etc/resolv.conf file and substitute the Pi-Hole IP address for the current DNS server.
It’s in your Wi-Fi settings on your phone. To see the DNS setup, click details or edit network on a network.
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How can you tell if Pi-Hole is up and running?
If you want to check if Pi-Hole is working, go to the web interface and see if it is blocking advertisements. Another method is to visit a domain that hosts advertisements (such as doubleclick.net) and see if the Pi-Hole page appears instead of the website content.
The web interface is available at http://localhost/admin (if your computer is set up that way) or http://IP Address/admin (if your machine is set up that way) (if installed on another computer). At the end of the installation, you’ll be given a default password.
Pi-Hole Frequently Asked Questions
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Is Pi-Hole compatible with any Linux distribution?
Raspberry Pi OS (Raspbian), Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS are all officially supported by Pi-Hole. It should run on practically any Linux distribution because it is based on them.
Before attempting to install it, double-check the precise supported release on this page. When a new version is released, they are frequently behind. For instance, at the time of this writing (July 2023, Ubuntu 21.04 is not yet supported). If you’re having trouble with your system’s compatibility, consider utilizing Docker.
What devices may Pi-Hole be used with?
Pi-Hole requires 2 GB of disk space and 512 MB of RAM to install, thus it can run on practically any computer, even older ones. As long as a compatible operating system is installed, Raspberry Pi and other single board computers are also supported.
My suggestion is to use a Raspberry Pi (because it’s the cheapest), connect it to your network, and leave it on all the time.
What am I able to accomplish using Pi-Hole?
Pi-main Hole’s goal is to block advertisements on the Internet by blocking their servers on a network level. Pi-Hole also functions as a DHCP server and network monitor.
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Is Pi-Hole able to block YouTube ads?
Pi-Hole isn’t the ideal option for blocking YouTube advertisements because it works at the network level. Because advertisements and videos are served from the same domain on YouTube, Pi-Hole will either block both or none, as it is unable to determine the exact content.
If your sole purpose is to block YouTube adverts, a browser addon like AdBlock has a better chance of succeeding.
Does the Pi-Hole protect against malware and phishing?
Malware and phishing aren’t automatically blocked by Pi-Hole, however you can add additional block lists containing domains that are known to host malware or operate as phishing. It won’t guarantee 100 percent success, but it may help to improve your network’s overall security.
Resources for the Raspberry Pi
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This website also contains all of my tool and hardware suggestions.
In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Pi-Hole on Ubuntu 15.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS. This will be a step by step guide for beginners.. Read more about clone pi-hole and let us know what you think.
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