PiHole and Unbound

Sat 20 Mar 2021

I've added Home Assistant. Time for another great Pi project. PiHole! PiHole is a great solution if you are looking for a network wide DNS sinkhole. Advertisements (at least for the better part of them) are no longer an issue. It is packed with features that will enhance your local network. I will not be sharing full install details as they have done a great job doing it themselves. I will however, share some great tips to do after you've setup your PiHole.

DNS addresses for other devices

The great thing about the PiHole is that it doubles as a DNS server. You can create records for other devices or the PiHole itself. Think of domains like pihole.local or homeassistant.local to name a few.

It will make it easier for other people in the household to navigate to essential devices.

Setup Unbound for better privacy

Unbound is a recursive DNS resolver that you can setup on the Pi next to PiHole to also do DNS resolving. Setting up your PiHole will increase privacy. You won't resort to Google, Cloudflare or your providers DNS servers to do the resolving. Instead, Unbound will fetch the records directly at the authoritative nameserver. In a lot of cases it has also improved performance. We are now locally interfacing with out own DNS server instead of resorting to the internet already.

I won't go into detail on how to install Unbound on the Pi as they have an excellent guide on how to do this. It literally only took me 15 minutes to read through and set my Pi up with this. I do very much recommend doing this when you've already got a PiHole running on your network and see the results for yourself.

Adding Ad list

Adding ad list will block more domains. There is OISD, a great list that has worked wonders for me. There are also great lists at fireblog.net that you can take and install. I'd say, pick a healthy mix and evaluate all the lists after a month to see which ones yield the best results for you.

The results will always be different for everyone. You will be visiting different sites than I would. Adding these lists is easy enough and should not give you any trouble.

Evaluating Ad list

Yubiuser's CLI tool is great to evaluate your lists. It will tell you how many hits a particular list has blocked. If a particular list doesn't do anything for you then remove it from your PiHole. This is a great post-installation action that you can do to optimize the setup even further.

In conclusion. I think it is good to have a device or service in the network like this. You are taking control and responsibility over your privacy. I've been using this for months now and the experience has been excellent. Give it a shot!