Use Pi-Hole to block ads on all devices in your network

Sure ad blockers have been around for a long while now, but those are typically only available for your web browsers and not ever device allows you to install them such as cell phones, media players, smart TV’s, etc. I came across a neat project that allows you to block web ads on every device in your network, called Pi-Hole.

In a nutshell Pi-Hole was developed to run on a Raspberry Pi, but will run on most any Debian based distro, and will act as a DNS server to which you point your devices or router to use as the DNS server so that all requests are filtered through Pi-Hole. Pi-Hole then blocks 100’s of thousands ad domains. All without having to use a single browser extension and for FREE!

So while Pi-Hole is made to run on a Raspberry Pi I decided to run Pi-Hole within my VMware home lab on a Ubuntu 16.04 LTS virtual machine using 1 vCPU and 1GB memory.

Below are the steps I performed to install Pi-Hole after I had Ubuntu installed on the VM.

How to install Pi-Hole on Ubuntu

  1. Lets start off making sure our Ubuntu install is updated so type in the following command:
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y

    ubuntu ssh update system

  2. Lets get the Pi-Hole script and save it as pihole-install.sh by typing the following:
    sudo wget -O pihole-install.sh https://install.pi-hole.net

    pi hole download script

  3. It’s best practice not to blindly run any script you download from the internet and at least give it a quick look over, so lets open it in nano:
    sudo nano pihole-install.sh

    pi-hole view script

  4. After you’re done looking at pihole-install.sh simply press CTRL+X to exit nano.
    pi-hole close view script
  5. Now we need to make pihole-install.sh executable by typing:
    sudo chmod +x pihole-install.sh

    pi-hole chmod script

  6. Start the Pi-Hole installer:
    sudo ./pihole-install.sh

    pi-hole install script

  7. Press ENTER at the introduction screen.
    pi-hole install 1
  8. Press ENTER again to start configuring the network settings.
    pi-hole install 2
  9. Select the network adapter you want to use and press ENTER.
    pi-hole install 3
  10. Select which protocols you want to block ads.
    pi-hole install 4
  11. Next you can configure a static IP for Pi-Hole. I’ll use the current settings and select YES.
    pi-hole install 5
  12. Now select which upstream DNS service you want to use with Pi-Hole.
    pi-hole install 6
  13. Pi-Hole is now installed and ready for use. Either update all your devices DNS settings to your Pi-Hole IP or simply set your Router DNS to the Pi-Hole server IP.
    pi-hole install 7

Once you’ve changed your devices or router to use Pi-Hole as the primary DNS server you are essentially done and will no longer see any ads. If you want to enable/disable pi-hole ad blocking or whitelist certain ad domains then you can easily do so by accessing the Pi-Hole admin panel by going to: http://<PIHOLE_IP>/admin

pi-hole admin panel

They also give you a cool dashboard to see just how many ads Pi-Hole has been blocking for you and other stats – very neat stuff!

Check out the Pi-Hole website here and donate to help them out!

  • Pat Black

    I’m amazed this guide hasn’t gained more popularity considering its noob-friendly, curl-command-avoiding benefits. Took so long to find out the safest, most straightforward way to go about installing this.

    Kudos

    • Thanks for the positive feedback @disqus_Rv9qSvT6UX:disqus. Feel free to spread the word. 😉

  • Stibbons

    Looks great! How does it behaves on web sites that blocks you if you have an adblock ?