Does a Pi-Hole Act as a DNS Server?


Larry Thompson

Does a Pi-Hole Act as a DNS Server?

When it comes to blocking ads and improving network security, Pi-Hole has become a popular choice among tech enthusiasts. But what exactly is Pi-Hole, and does it act as a DNS server? Let’s dive into the details.

The Basics of Pi-Hole

Pi-Hole is a network-wide ad blocker that functions by acting as a DNS sinkhole. It works by intercepting domain name resolution requests and blocking requests to known ad-serving domains. This means that when you have Pi-Hole installed on your network, any device connected to it will have ads blocked at the DNS level.

Understanding DNS Servers

To grasp how Pi-Hole works, it’s essential to understand the role of DNS servers. DNS, or Domain Name System, is responsible for translating human-readable domain names (like into IP addresses that machines can understand.

A typical home network setup involves devices using the default DNS servers provided by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) or routers. These DNS servers are responsible for resolving domain names on behalf of connected devices.

However, ISPs’ default DNS servers often do not offer ad-blocking capabilities or enhanced security features. This is where Pi-Hole comes in.

Pi-Hole as a DNS Server

Pi-Hole acts as a local DNS server within your network. When you set up Pi-Hole on a Raspberry Pi or any other compatible device, it replaces your ISP’s default DNS server with itself.

By acting as a local DNS server, Pi-Hole handles all domain name resolution requests made by devices on the network. Instead of sending those requests directly to external DNS servers, Pi-Hole becomes the intermediary that filters out ad-serving domains.

This means that when a device connected to your network tries to access an ad-serving domain, Pi-Hole recognizes the request, blocks it, and prevents the device from loading ads. The blocked request is then logged for your reference.

Benefits of Using Pi-Hole as a DNS Server

Using Pi-Hole as a DNS server offers several benefits:

  • Ad Blocking: Pi-Hole effectively blocks ads at the network level, reducing the need for browser extensions or software-specific ad blockers.
  • Network-Wide Coverage: With Pi-Hole installed on your network, all devices connected to it benefit from ad blocking and enhanced security features.
  • Improved Security: Pi-Hole can block access to known malicious domains, providing an additional layer of protection against malware and phishing attempts.
  • Customization: Pi-Hole allows you to whitelist or blacklist specific domains, giving you control over what is allowed or blocked.

Setting Up Pi-Hole as a DNS Server

To set up Pi-Hole as a DNS server:

  1. Choose a Compatible Device: Raspberry Pi is a popular choice due to its low cost and energy efficiency. However, other devices that support Linux can also be used.
  2. Install the Pi-Hole Software: Follow the official documentation for downloading and installing the Pi-Hole software on your chosen device.
  3. Configure Network Settings: During setup, configure your router or individual devices to use the Pi-Hole IP address as the primary DNS server.
  4. Access the Pi-Hole Admin Console: Once set up, you can access the Pi-Hole admin console via its IP address to monitor blocked requests, whitelist or blacklist domains, and customize settings.

With Pi-Hole successfully set up as your DNS server, you can enjoy a network-wide ad-free browsing experience and enhanced security.


Pi-Hole acts as a DNS server within your network, intercepting domain name resolution requests and blocking known ad-serving domains. By replacing your ISP’s default DNS server with Pi-Hole, you gain network-wide ad blocking and improved security features.

Setting up Pi-Hole as a DNS server is relatively straightforward and offers customization options for whitelisting or blacklisting specific domains. Give Pi-Hole a try to take control of ads on your network and enhance your browsing experience!

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