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Pi-hole for noobs?

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TheLyppardMan

Very Senior Member
I've seen a few references to Pi-hole on these forums, but all I know about it at the moment is that it's main purpose is to block ads. So I have some initial questions for the more-enlightened people on this forum:
  1. What hardware is required on which to run Pi-hole (some examples would be useful)?
  2. Does it only work with Merlin firmware or can it run on the official ASUS firmware as well?
  3. Once the hardware has been assembled, how is it connected to the router?
  4. What settings need to be configured on the Pi-hole and the router (screenshots would be useful)?
  5. Anything else needed to know about, that's not covered by my questions above?
 
I've seen a few references to Pi-hole on these forums, but all I know about it at the moment is that it's main purpose is to block ads. So I have some initial questions for the more-enlightened people on this forum:
  1. What hardware is required on which to run Pi-hole (some examples would be useful)? Normally a Raspberry Pi single board computer (SBC). I have used a Pi 3b+ which runs Pi-Hole just fine
  2. Does it only work with Merlin firmware or can it run on the official ASUS firmware as well? Merlin firmware is not required as the Pi-Hole is installed on a Raspberry Pi or other compatible SBC.
  3. Once the hardware has been assembled, how is it connected to the router? It is not connected to the router. You ad the IP address of the Pi-Hole to the LAN/DHCP Server/DNS Server 1.
  4. What settings need to be configured on the Pi-hole and the router (screenshots would be useful)? See #3 above for the router. As for the Pi-Hole see: https://pi-hole.net/
  5. Anything else needed to know about, that's not covered by my questions above? A Pi-Hole is not for just blocking adds although an add blocker list is included with the install which you do not have to use. There are also lists for spam, malware, porn, phishing and a host of others. Several web sites offer block lists that work on a Pi-Hole . But, you can do the same thing with Diversion on Merlin firmware!
 
What does the same thing in Asuswrt-Merlin:



None of the above can block YouTube ads. None of the above is better in ad-blocking than browser extension uBlock Origin.
 
What does the same thing in Asuswrt-Merlin:



None of the above can block YouTube ads. None of the above is better in ad-blocking than browser extension uBlock Origin.
Ah, but Youtube is now complaining about add blockers. But, with uBlock Origin there is a work around!
 
It's a cat and mouse game. Browser extension has a chance continuing the chase. DNS-based blockers lost the game long time ago. I saw YouTube complaining in Europe. Haven't seen it yet here in North America. In both cases uBlock Origin was running on my devices. It will be updated soon.
 
1. I've run Pi-Hole on a Pi-Zero, powered from a router USB port. While on the default firmware, it was possible to run power and network over a single USB cable, I'm not sure this is still possible without a lot of messing about.
2. As Pi-hole runs on a separate device, all you need do is point your DNS server settings at it. There are multiple ways you can set it up, but giving any one single example is bound to cause a war of words here!
3. Despite running Diversion on the router which does roughly the same job as Pi-Hole, I still have Pi-Hole up and running on an SBC which is connected to the router through a switch, but provided you have reliable WiFi there is nothing to stop you using that - it's just a regular network connection.
4. When you set up Pi-Hole, read the on-screen instructions and follow them like a pedant! Then all you have to do on the router is tell it to use your Pi-Hole for DNS. https://pimylifeup.com/raspberry-pi-pi-hole/ is a good guide
5. Many people get confused about DNS, thinking every bit, nybble, and byte of their traffic passes through DNS servers. It doesn't; think of DNS as a directory that tells your applications and devices where to find things. DNS provides a "look-up" service not a transport service!
After all that is said, I use Diversion on the router over Pi-Hole, apart from a single specific case where having a quick web interface is useful.
 
I've seen a few references to Pi-hole on these forums, but all I know about it at the moment is that it's main purpose is to block ads. So I have some initial questions for the more-enlightened people on this forum:
  1. What hardware is required on which to run Pi-hole (some examples would be useful)?
  2. Does it only work with Merlin firmware or can it run on the official ASUS firmware as well?
  3. Once the hardware has been assembled, how is it connected to the router?
  4. What settings need to be configured on the Pi-hole and the router (screenshots would be useful)?
  5. Anything else needed to know about, that's not covered by my questions above?
Honestly if you use the site search feature, if you haven't done so already, you'll get the answers to some or most of your questions, particularly on how to setup the router to use Pi-Hole. For example see my post here: https://www.snbforums.com/threads/pihole-dns.74646/page-3#post-712319

There are a ton of information on the Pi-Hole website including the system requirements are needed including which operating systems:
https://docs.pi-hole.net/main/prerequisites/#supported-operating-systems

If you are looking at running it on a Raspberry Pi, it can be run on pretty much any Pi, including the Pi Zero W.

Pi-Hole can work with pretty much any router that allows one to configure the router's LAN DNS servers. Been running it with Merlin for years, in addition to running it with the stock Asus firmware from time to time.

Generally Pi-Hole responds to DNS requests on your local network (assuming its not also configured to be a DHCP server). The device it runs on would have to be connected to that local network using Ethernet or WiFi or similar.

Seriously search the internet for Pi-Hole. There is a TON of information out there. There are tons of setup guides on various devices and docker containers. There is a fairly active Pi-Hole subreddit as well (https://www.reddit.com/r/pihole/).

Been running Pi-Hole on a Raspberry Pi Zero W and Pi 3B+ for a number of years now. Works well for my needs. I also run Unbound on my Pi's as well. (https://docs.pi-hole.net/guides/dns/unbound/)

Just understand that Pi-Hole isn't the end all or be all for ad blocking. Ad blocking is a layered approach. Pi-Hole, or Diversion if you want Merlin based, is just one layer. One should be using other ad blocking methods, particularly browser based Ad blockers (like UBlock Origin and similar). If you want Youtube blocking then see the many discussions on trying to block Youtube ads and the somewhat limited success such attempts (other than browser based or streaming device based) yield.
 
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Honestly if you use the site search feature, if you haven't done so already, you'll get the answers to some or most of your questions, particularly on how to setup the router to use Pi-Hole. For example see my post here: https://www.snbforums.com/threads/pihole-dns.74646/page-3#post-712319

There are a ton of information on the Pi-Hole website including the system requirements are needed including which operating systems:
https://docs.pi-hole.net/main/prerequisites/#supported-operating-systems

If you are looking at running it on a Raspberry Pi, it can be run on pretty much any Pi, including the Pi Zero W.

Pi-Hole can work with pretty much any router that allows one to configure the router's LAN DNS servers. Been running it with Merlin for years, in addition to running it with the stock Asus firmware from time to time.

Generally Pi-Hole responds to DNS requests on your local network (assuming its not also configured to be a DHCP server). The device it runs on would have to be connected to that local network using Ethernet or WiFi or similar.

Seriously search the internet for Pi-Hole. There is a TON of information out there. There are tons of setup guides on various devices and docker containers. There is a fairly active Pi-Hole subreddit as well (https://www.reddit.com/r/pihole/).

Been running Pi-Hole on a Raspberry Pi Zero W and Pi 3B+ for a number of years now. Works well for my needs. I also run Unbound on my Pi's as well. (https://docs.pi-hole.net/guides/dns/unbound/)

Just understand that Pi-Hole isn't the end all or be all for ad blocking. Ad blocking is a layered approach. Pi-Hole, or Diversion if you want Merlin based, is just one layer. One should be using other ad blocking methods, particularly browser based Ad blockers (like UBlock Origin and similar). If you want Youtube blocking then see the many discussions on trying to block Youtube ads and the somewhat limited success such attempts (other than browser based or streaming device based) yield.
An app called SmartTubeNext works great on an Amazon FireTVStick for watching YouTube videos without any ads. On an Android phone the Brave browser works well as it doesn't require the user to try to find and install a third-party adblocker.
 
Lots of mention of raspberry Pis but you can run it on x86 architecture too so pretty much any gear you have spare should be able to.

Also keep in mind DNS as single point of failure for your network. If the pihole instance is down local users will have network issues. There are a few ways to deal with this generally around a second instance on an alternative host.
 
An app called SmartTubeNext works great on an Amazon FireTVStick for watching YouTube videos without any ads. On an Android phone the Brave browser works well as it doesn't require the user to try to find and install a third-party adblocker.
Correct. As indicated in my post for blocking Youtube ads, browser based or streaming device based are the way to go. Other methods that are network wide based are hit or miss for Youtube. Its a constant back and forth battle with ad blocking on all websites which is why layered approach works best to limit the amount and types of ads you'll see.

YouTubeVanced was the go to app for Android for a while to block Youtube ads, but Youtube went after them and they eventually shut down last year. So people moved to using SmartTubeNext and similar apps.
 
It's a cat and mouse game.
I completely agree. Blocking Ad's is definitely cat and mouse. Browser extensions are great for blocking right there at the web browser; however, I would still also use a DNS based solution for preventative measures for non-web browser network level interactions.
 

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