I was cleaning up my office recently and found an old Raspberry Pi that for a long time I used as a Quake server but now it was just gathering dust. It stil worked so I went looking for a fun project to try and found Pi-Hole.
Pi-hole is a DNS sinkhole that protects your devices from unwanted content, without installing any client-side software.
It took me a bit to clean up and reinstall Raspbian and after that installing Pi-hole was trivial. They have excellent documentation on thier site. Pi-hole replaces your DNS server on your network and there are a few ways you can set it up.
After installing I first just routed my desktop through it, verified it was working and got familiar with the user interface.
I then plugged it into my router and switched it’s DNS to point to the Pi-hole. I also use OpenDNS at home and during the Pi-hole install you can set the upstream DNS server so don’t worry. If you use OpenDNS or Googles DNS it will route accordingly.
I’ve had it setup about a week now and am blocking roughly about 30% of my traffic.
What’s nice is Pi-hole blocks ads on everything in my local network: computers, phones, tablets, etc.
While it’s been working great I have run into a few gotchas…
Links in emails may route you through an ad service - so they may not work. (my wife doesn’t like this)
And if sites have one of those ad blocker warning pop-ups this will still trigger those. Since it’s not running on your computer there isn’t an easy work around like simply disabling or whitelisting an ad blocker extension.
But so far those have been minor issues. Overall I’m going to keep it running. Sites load much faster and it’s nice not seeing annoying ads all over the place.