Things I Love: Pi-Hole and PiVPN


The wonderful Pi-Hole is an open-source DNS/web system integrated together to run on a single platform. It has many benefits for many users and is not difficult to install or configure.

Pi-Hole is basically a small DNS server that runs on almost any linux device (or Docker) and, given its name, was thought to be more targeted at those running Raspberry Pi devices.

It installs in a few minutes and can be configured quickly, needing few resources in terms of RAM and disk.

The core functions are:

  • Leveraging DNS lists to block many domains and hosts where trackers are known to be present

Instead of browser plugins or other software on each computer, install Pi-hole in one place and your entire network is protected. Block in-app advertisements. Network-level blocking allows you to block ads in non-traditional places such as mobile apps and smart TVs, regardless of hardware or OS.


My network has two Pi-Hole systems running, one in each zone. Additionally, on my TailNet, I have a Pi-Hole defined as the DNS which means all of my mobile devices are using Pi-Hole wherever they are being used.


It gets better.

PiVPN has some simple but great features. It is relatively simple to use as long as you are not afraid of the command line. It’s also aimed at low-resource devices such as the Raspberry Pi. In my case, it’s installed on two stripped-down Ubuntu servers.

  • Wireguard support. It’s more modern than OpenVPN
  • On-Demand VPN. Only on Apple devices but this sidesteps the need to bring those devices into an MDM solution

The result is a platform into which you can connect your devices and leverage many functions:

  • Pi-Hole DNS functionality wherever you are in the world
  • SmartDNS geolocation work-arounds which allow you to consume media services bypassing region restructions
  • Appearing to be in the same place no matter where you are