Ad-blocking with Pi-Hole

The days of needing browser plugins to block unwanted ad traffic on home networks are well and truly over and Pi-Hole just keeps delivering more and more stable innovation. There are numerous options when configuring the setup, Raspberry Pi, Docker image, virtual host or even an old physical device. Ultimately as long as you have a Linux flavour installed (see Prerequisites) it should function pretty nicely but for the sake of this guide, I will assume the Operating System (OS) has been cleanly installed on your platform of choice. Ensure you have a static IP assigned (easiest to assign this at build) and that ssh is configured to remote allow access to the host.

Log onto the host or ssh to get command line access, once complete type the below into the command line interface (CLI) and hit Enter. If it asks for your password you, it needs to be able to elevate privilege to install, once entered it will progress.

curl -sSL https://install.pi-hole.net | bash

If you prefer to see the code and subsequently run it then navigate to the folder you want to clone the repository to and run the following commands

git clone --depth 1 https://github.com/pi-hole/pi-hole.git Pi-hole
cd "Pi-hole/automated install/"
sudo bash basic-install.sh

#Optional further options can be found here https://github.com/pi-hole/pi-hole/#one-step-automated-install

Confirmation that the installation is progressing will present like Screen 1 below, followed by a sequence of information screens. Subsequently you’ll be asked to choose your preferred DNS provider (Screen 3), in my case I chose cloudflare. The next page asks for confirmation of the third party block lists, any of which can be removed if you so wish.

Screen 1
Screen 3

Next choose whether the Pi-Hole will be responding to IPv4 and/or IPv6 traffic. Now you’ll be asked to confirm the hosts IP address and gateway, which can be changed if necessary, once complete the Pi-Hole warns that statically assigned IP’s used in conjunction with DHCP can cause conflicts. Would you like the web admin interface to be installed (well you can’t see the analytics without it) and whether you want to install the web server to support the admin interface (if you have a web server installed you don’t need this one). Do you want to log the queries, well I’d hope so to be able to see the analytics. Finally you can choose the level of logging, whether domains should be hidden etc, I choose to see everything.

If an error message pops up claiming that the Pi-Hole is not able to resolve dns, it is probably trying to lookup against itself so use the following command

sudo nano /etc/resolv.conf

Find the entry for “nameserver” and change the IP to your chosen provider, in my case 1.1.1.1 or 1.0.0.1. Save the changes and progress to the next stage.

Once the command finishes running the script, Pi-Hole is pretty much installed, running the following command allows you to set the password for the admin console;

sudo pihole -a -p

Enter a sensibly complex password and store it in a password manager, then navigate to the web console by typing the IP into your browser. You’ll notice it’s not really doing anything so don’t forget to set your router DNS to point at your Pi-Hole’s IP address, or just a laptop, PC, phone in order to test how things are working, then you should be able to see the traffic flowing in over time like this.

Well that is it for the basic configuration, enjoy the analytics and ad blocking.

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