I bought my first Raspberry Pi at 2015, it was model 2. I was an idealist and foolish college freshman at the time. Things happened, and fast forward 7 years later, my Pi was collecting dust. And here I am thinking want I want to do over the new year break. So, as a QoL improvement to my home network, it might be nice to have a Pi-hole.

I’m surprised the SD card is still alive and it’s still running 2018’s version Raspbian. Hardware also looks good, so I proceed to nuke the SD card and install the latest OS. Seems like Raspbian is no longer a thing, they have Raspberry Pi OS now1.

It didn’t even take 3 hours to get everything running and working. I expected it to take a lot more time as I’m setting this up while having lunch.

  • Raspberry OS download and write to SD (30 mins)
    • They have official imaging utility now, downloading the image and writing it to the SD card is a breeze now2.
    • My internet speed sucks though, so the download still take some time.
  • Setup static IP for the Pi (needed for Pi-hole) (10 mins)
    • I hate the built-in interface of the ISP provided router with passion (it’s Huawei from IndiHome BTW). It is sluggish and hard to navigate.
  • Install and set-up Pi-hole on the Pi (20 mins)
    • Pi-hole has install script, and that really helps saving some time3. Yes, running unknown script from the internet is dangerous, I understand the risk.
  • Finding admin account for my ISP provided router (10 mins)
    • I just realized the admin user that I use cannot be used to change the DNS server settings. Google here I go. Thankfully I found an user I can use real quick, it’s telecomadmin4.
  • Change default DNS server to Pi-hole in the home router (5 mins)
  • Test everything is working (60 mins and counting)

So far it’s working great!

Admin console of Pi-hole

I’m feeling happy when looking at the queries blocked number going up.

I still need to figure out some things though:

  • Why some query didn’t go through Pi-hole?
  • How do I back up the SD card? The 7 y.o. SD card won’t last forever.
  • Can I lower the Raspbian temperature? Making it sit in on top of a running router does not help at all.
  • Do I need to set up HTTPS for the console?
  • Should I set up my VPN to use Pi-hole as the DNS server? I’m already using Tailscale for VPN and the Pi is connected to it. Maybe I’ll have an answer after running Pi-hole for a month or so. Tailscale also have official guide here, so this should be a supported use case.
  • Should I set up unbound?

Some blog posts that I found useful while setting up Pi-hole:

Post 6 of #100DaysToOffload.