Is a Pihole a DNS Server?


Angela Bailey

Is a Pihole a DNS Server?

If you’re someone who is concerned about internet privacy and security, you might have come across the term “Pihole.” But what exactly is a Pihole?

Is it a DNS server? Let’s dive in and find out.

What is a DNS Server?

Before we can determine whether a Pihole is a DNS server, let’s first understand what a DNS server is. DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it is the system responsible for translating domain names (such as into IP addresses (such as

A DNS server acts as a directory for the internet, helping your computer or device connect to websites by providing the IP address associated with the domain name you type into your browser.

Introducing Pihole

Pihole is not exactly a traditional DNS server; instead, it can be thought of as a network-wide ad blocker that uses DNS-level blocking to prevent ads from being displayed on devices connected to your network.

Pihole works by acting as an intermediary between your devices and the actual DNS servers. When you set up Pihole, you configure your devices to use the Pihole’s IP address as their primary DNS server. The Pihole then filters out requests for known ad-serving domains and prevents them from reaching your devices.

How Does Pihole Work?

Pihole primarily relies on blocklists to identify and block ad-serving domains. These blocklists are regularly updated with new domains known for serving ads or containing malware.

When your device sends out a request to access a website, it first reaches the Pihole. The Pihole checks its blocklists to see if the requested domain is on the list of blocked domains. If it is, the Pihole returns a blank response instead of the actual IP address, effectively preventing ads from being displayed.

Additionally, Pihole provides a user-friendly web interface that allows you to monitor and manage the devices on your network and view statistics about blocked domains and ads.

Pihole as a DNS Server

While Pihole is not a traditional DNS server, it does incorporate DNS functionality as part of its ad-blocking mechanism. It acts as a DNS sinkhole by intercepting DNS requests and blocking known ad-serving domains.

However, it’s important to note that Pihole is not designed to handle all DNS functions like a regular DNS server would. Its primary purpose is to block ads and improve internet privacy by filtering out unwanted content at the network level.

The Benefits of Using Pihole

  • Ad Blocking: Pihole effectively blocks ads across all devices on your network without the need for individual ad blockers on each device.
  • Improved Privacy: By preventing ads from being served, Pihole helps protect your privacy by reducing the amount of data collected about your browsing habits.
  • Faster Browsing: With ads blocked at the network level, web pages tend to load faster, resulting in a smoother browsing experience.
  • Customization: Pihole allows you to add or remove blocklists according to your preferences, giving you control over what content gets blocked or allowed on your network.

In Conclusion

Pihole is not just a simple DNS server; it is a network-wide ad blocker that uses DNS-level blocking to prevent ads from being displayed on devices connected to your network. While it incorporates DNS functionality, it is designed specifically for ad-blocking purposes and offers additional benefits such as improved privacy and faster browsing.

If you’re looking to enhance your internet experience by blocking ads and protecting your privacy, setting up a Pihole can be a great option.

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