Pi-Hole: Ad-Blocking the Raspberry Pi Way


Internet ads have become a feature of many peoples’ daily lives. While many of us have learned to deal with this nuisance, companies such as AdTrap have developed devices to block these ads from reaching devices connected to your home network – and they’re marketing them for a pretty penny. However, a new project called Pi-Hole let’s you get much the same functionality with your Raspberry Pi as a low-cost, open-source alternative.

Pi-Hole, which you can fine more about at https://pi-hole.net/, operates on most models of Raspberry Pi – although you will require an adapter if you plan to run it on the Zero. Installation consists of four basic steps:

  1. Install Raspbian (although Pi-Hole also works on most Debian-based distributions of Linux).
  2. Install Pi-Hole by running curl -L https://install.pi-hole.net | bash
  3. Use Pi-Hole as your DNS server. You will need to configure your router’s DHCP options so that clients are forced to set their DNS server as your Pi-Hole, or you can manually configure each device to use the Pi-Hole as their DNS server.
  4. Block all of the ads, everywhere…on any device…even in apps.

As of April 2016, it was able to block over 1.6 million ad-serving domains from reaching your network. Pi-Hole accomplishes this by querying the sites these domains are maintained by and compiling a list. When a site attempts to load content from one of these domains it is redirected to the Pi and the actual site is never contacted. The end result? You can speed up your network performance, reduce bandwidth and…you won’t see the constant ads.

Cercle Social for Education