“Just set up a PiHole and look, what is going on”. Since my home is not massively IOT’ized I didn’t suspect much traffic going to analytic servers; but a relatively free weekend offered the opportunity for a small side-project.

The setup is very simple. I used a spare Raspberry PI 1 with a 2GB SD card and flashed the latest Raspbian Lite image.

Tip: In case your Raspberry is running headless: Put an empty file named ssh on the SD card after writing the image. The system will then be configured to accept SSH connections.

Just update everything and you will be ready to install Pihole

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

pihole offers a simple installation method:

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

Simplicity is great, but be careful, if you install things this way. It is always a good idea to check what the script does before executing it.

You will now be guided through a setup wizard and at the end of it you will have a fully configured pihole. Be sure to note the generated admin password and set your Raspberry up to use a static ip address.

Be sure you configure the pihole as a DHCP server and deactivate all other DHCP servers in your network. Pihole will be able to filter the requests as soon as the cached DNS addresses and DHCP leases are expiring.

Following things I noticed so far:

  • no ads in apps (on my mobile)
  • Redirection Ad target sites are blocked
  • Chromecast is not able to phone home
  • Tracking sites are blocked

What gets blocked depends on your selection of block lists.

Have fun! :)