Pi-hole Server is Awesome!
A friend recently asked me if I knew of a good way to block ads on his home network. At the time I didn’t, but I started to dig into it more, since this is something I have also been curious about. Ads have become more and more annoying and intrusive to our lives. The people that use them for the right reasons get a bad rap, by the people who hijack browsers with it. I needed to find something, enter Pi-hole.
My Pi-hole Setup
I have a small linux server running in my basement. Nothing special, just a Gigabyte Brix box, 120GB SSD, 4GB RAM, and a small Intel CPU. It is enough for me to test what I need to in the house before I either move it to a VPS or find a service to run it for me. The server is currently running Docker so I can run containers of apps I want to test. To manage these containers I have Portainer installed so I have a nice GUI of everything. I am the first to admit I am not the best at these things.
From there I followed this guide on how to get Pi-hole running inside of docker. I have to admit it was very easy to get it going, for lack of a better phrase, it just works. I did have a small issue I needed to fix with the admin password. Docker creates a random on for you, and they tell you if you want to change it run the following command.
When I run this command, it would return an error that the server didn’t understand pihole. I figured this was an issue since it was running inside of docker in it’s own little world. Doing a little looking around I finally found someone online with the same issue as me, and instead of making me feel dumb, they just elain how to fix it.
Credit to Nico Maas Nico’s Link
To start I have only changed one of the machines in my network to use Pi-hole, because I want to see how it works before I go all in. Its not that I have a lot of devices in my house, by with Smart TVs, Phones, Tablets, Etc I don’t want to break anything and have to explain to the family what I did. My 5 year old daughter will be pissed if she can’t watch her shows on her iPad. (Don’t judge me). After running the server for a bit and doing some gaming and web browsing, I found that Pi-hole just works. While my wife was using my rig, I had their admin panel up on my phone, and I could see in real time what it was doing.
I think this is 100% something I am going to be looking into and running in my house. It might take some tweaking to get everything just right, but from what I have seen so far it is good. Nothing really broke, and my wife had no idea it was even running. I plan to do a follow-up after I have this fully integrated into my network so I can post some better stats.