Is Pihole a DNS Server?


Scott Campbell

Is Pi-hole a DNS Server?

In this article, we will explore the concept of Pi-hole and clarify whether it can be considered a DNS server. Pi-hole is an open-source software designed to act as a network-wide ad blocker by functioning as a Domain Name System (DNS) sinkhole. Let’s delve into the details and understand its functionality.

What is DNS?

DNS, or Domain Name System, is a fundamental component of the internet infrastructure. It translates user-friendly domain names, such as, into machine-readable IP addresses like 192.168.1. DNS servers are responsible for resolving these domain names to the corresponding IP addresses.

Understanding Pi-hole

Pi-hole is not technically a DNS server in the traditional sense, but rather an intermediary device that intercepts and filters DNS queries made by devices on your network. It acts as a middleman between your devices and the actual DNS servers.

When you set up Pi-hole on your network, you configure it to be your network’s primary DNS server. When any device connected to your network makes a DNS query, it first goes through Pi-hole for analysis.

How Does Pi-hole Work?

Pi-hole works by maintaining an extensive blacklist of known ad-serving domains and filtering out any requests made to these domains from reaching the actual DNS servers responsible for resolving them.

The process involves several steps:

  • Device Query: A device on your network initiates a DNS query for a specific domain.
  • Pi-hole Intercept: The request is intercepted by Pi-hole before being forwarded to the configured upstream DNS server(s).
  • Blacklist Check: Pi-hole checks if the requested domain is present in its blacklist.
  • Ad Blocking: If the domain is on the blacklist, Pi-hole blocks the request, preventing ads from being displayed on the device.
  • DNS Resolution: If the domain is not blacklisted, Pi-hole forwards the request to the upstream DNS server(s) for resolution and returns the result to the device.

Benefits of Using Pi-hole

Pi-hole offers several advantages:

  • Network-wide ad blocking: By configuring Pi-hole as your network’s DNS server, you can block ads across all devices on your network, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and computers.
  • Faster browsing experience: With ad-serving domains blocked at the network level, webpages load faster as they no longer need to download and display numerous ads.
  • Better privacy and security: Pi-hole prevents your devices from connecting to potentially malicious domains used for tracking or distributing malware.

In Conclusion

In summary, while Pi-hole may not be a traditional DNS server in itself, it acts as a DNS sinkhole that intercepts and filters DNS queries to provide network-wide ad blocking. By leveraging its capabilities as an intermediary device between your devices and upstream DNS servers, you can enhance your browsing experience while enjoying increased privacy and security on your network.

If you are looking to rid your network of unwanted ads and protect your devices from potential threats, setting up Pi-hole can be an excellent solution.

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