Should You Use Pi-hole as your DNS server?

  • Post author:WunderTech
  • Post published:May 7, 2024
  • Post last modified:May 10, 2024
  • Post category:Synology
  • Reading time:4 mins read

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The internet has slowly evolved to a point where there are ads just about everywhere (yes, this site as well). Outside of browser-based ad blockers, the only real defense a user has for their entire network is implementing a DNS ad blocker like Pi-hole.

The issue is, that you’re implementing another layer that you have to maintain, and when it isn’t working, it will appear as if you have no internet. What’s actually happening is you have no DNS resolution (you can test it by pinging a public DNS server like Cloudflare (1.1.1.1) – if it works, you have internet but do not have DNS resolution).

So with all of this in mind, the question comes down to this, should you use Pi-hole as your DNS server?

pi-hole web interface

Should You Use Pi-hole as your DNS server?

The answer to this question will depend greatly on your scenario, so we’re going to break it down into a few different points.

This is when you should use Pi-hole:

  • If you want to block ads on an entire network, meaning cell phones, PCs, tablets, etc, a DNS ad blocker like Pi-hole is a great option.
  • If you want local DNS resolution with ad blocking, Pi-hole makes managing local DNS queries extremely easy.
Should You Use Pi-hole as your DNS server?

This is when you shouldn’t use Pi-hole

  • If you don’t want to maintain another system, Pi-hole won’t be a great option. It generally runs fine for months on end, but there will come a point where you have to update it, fix a problem, etc.
  • If you only want ad blocking on 1 or 2 devices, it might make sense to see if an ad blocker for that specific device exists and if it does, just implement it on that system.

The only final point I want to make is that setting up a DNS server and maintaining it isn’t exactly a beginner’s task. You can configure it and get it running relatively easily, but actually using it and understanding it is different, so if you go down that path, make sure that you take the time to understand how it works and it will benefit you greatly when the time comes that you have to fix and/or change something with it.