From ArchWiki
Revision as of 17:08, 31 August 2018 by Maevius (talk | contribs) (→‎FTL: Merge sentences)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Pi-hole is a DNS sinkhole that compiles a blocklist of domains known to host advertisements and malware from multiple third-party sources. Pi-hole uses dnsmasq to seamlessly drop any and all requests for domains in its blocklist. Running it effectively deploys network-wide ad-blocking without the need to configure individual clients. The package comes with a web and a CLI interface.

Pi-hole server


Install the pi-hole-serverAUR package.

Initial configuration


The Pi-hole FTL engine (pi-hole-ftlAUR) is a dependency of the Pi-hole main project.

FTL is a DNS resolver/forwarder and a database-like wrapper/API that provides long-term storage of requests which users can query through the "long-term data" section of the WebGUI. To be clear, data are collected and stored in two places:

  1. Daily data are stored in RAM and are captured in real-time within /run/log/pihole/pihole.log
  2. Historical data (i.e. over multiple days/weeks/months) are stored on the file system /etc/pihole/pihole-FTL.db written out at a user-specified interval.

pi-hole-ftl.service is statically enabled; re/start it. See the official documentation to configure FTL.

Tip: If Pi-hole is running on a solid state drive (single-board computers SD, SSD, M.2/NVMe device, etc...) it is recommended to set the DBINTERVAL value to at least 60.0 to minimize writes to the database.
Note: Since Pi-hole-FTL 4.0, a private fork of dnsmasq is integrated in the FTL sub-project. The original dnsmasq package is now conflicting with pi-hole-ftlAUR and will be uninstalled when upgrading from a previous version. It's still possible to use the previous dnsmasq config files, just ensure that conf-dir=/etc/dnsmasq.d/,*.conf in the original /etc/dnsmasq.conf is not commented out.

Web server

Optionally choose a web server for the Pi-hole web interface.

Note: Pi-hole does not strictly require a web interface as many commands are possible via the CLI interface.

Example config files that work out-of-the-box are provided for both lighttpd and nginx. Other web servers can also run the WebUI, but are currently unsupported.

Install php-sqlite and enable the relevant extensions detailed here:


For security reasons, one can populate the PHP open_basedir directive however, the Pi-hole administration web interface will need access to following files and directories:


Install lighttpd and php-cgi.

Copy the package provided default config for Pi-hole:

# cp /usr/share/pihole/configs/lighttpd.example.conf /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

Enable lighttpd.service and re/start it.


Install nginx-mainline and php-fpm.

Edit /etc/php/php-fpm.d/www.conf and change the listen directive to the following:

listen =  

Modify /etc/nginx/nginx.conf to contain the following in the http section:

gzip            on;
gzip_min_length 1000;
gzip_proxied    expired no-cache no-store private auth;
gzip_types      text/plain application/xml application/json application/javascript application/octet-stream text/css;
include /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf;

Copy the package provided default config for Pi-hole:

# mkdir /etc/nginx/conf.d
# cp /usr/share/pihole/configs/nginx.example.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/pihole.conf

Enable nginx.service php-fpm.service and re/start them.

Making devices use Pi-hole

The upstream documentation documents four different methods:

  1. Define Pi-hole's IP address as the only DNS entry in the router
  2. Advertise Pi-hole's IP address via dnsmasq in the router (if supported)
  3. Manually configure each device to use the Pi-hole as their DNS server
  4. Use Pi-hole's built-in DHCP server


  • If you setup a DHCP-based method and ad blocking does not work on a device, it might still have an outdated DHCP lease. If you do not know how to renew your DHCP lease, try restarting the device.
  • A simple check to see that the router is setup correctly is to first renew a DHCP lease, then inspect the contents of /etc/resolv.conf on a Linux client. One should see the IP address of the Pi-hole box, not the IP address of the router.
  • If you are having problems with method 2, try disabling the dns-rebind feature on the router (if present).
  • If pihole -g or updating lists from the web UI fail with DNS Resolution is Currently Unavailable, adding pi.hole to /etc/hosts may fix it

Using Pi-hole together with OpenVPN

An OpenVPN server can be configured to advertise a Pi-hole instance to its clients. Add the following two lines to your /etc/openvpn/server/server.conf:

push "redirect-gateway def1 bypass-dhcp"
push "dhcp-option DNS Pi-Hole-IP"

If it still does not work, try creating a file /etc/dnsmasq.d/00-openvpn.conf with the following content:


It may be necessary to make dnsmasq listen on tun0.

Password-protect web interface

To password-protect the Pi-hole web interface, run the following command and enter your password:

pihole -a -p

To disable the password protection set a blank password.

Pi-hole Standalone

The Archlinux Pi-hole Standalone variant is born from the need to use Pi-hole services in a mobile context. Sky-hole article was inspirational.


Install the pi-hole-standaloneAUR package. The Pi-hole standalone package install a statically enabled timer (and relative service) will weekly update Pi-hole blacklisted servers list. If you do not like default timer timings (from upstrem project) you can, of course, edit it or preventing from being executed by masking it. You need to manually start pi-hole-gravity.timer or simply reboot after your configuration is finished.

Initial configuration


Ensure that the following line in /etc/dnsmasq.conf is uncommented:


Enable dnsmasq.service and re/start it.

Configuring host name resolution

The Pi-hole standalone package to work properly requires that a unique DNS is set on your machine. That DNS address need to be your machine itself. This can be done in several ways.


If no service on your machine automatically handles the /etc/resolv.conf file, you can easily edit it to insert the following unique item nameserver:

Note: No other nameserver items need to be present in the config file.

It is likely that is the openresolv service to handle /etc/resolv.conf if you use a network connection manager such as netctl or NetworkManager. If it is your case, you must force openresolv to use localhost as name server.
Edit /etc/resolvconf.conf to uncomment the name_servers line:


and update resolvconf:

# resolvconf -u

Using Pi-hole

As previously mentioned, Pi-hole offers the ability to be configured and used both through the command line and through its web interface (server package only).

Pi-hole DNS management

By default Pi-hole uses the Google DNS server. You can change which DNS servers Pi-hole uses with:

$ pihole -a setdns server

You can specify multiple DNS servers by separating their addresses with commas.

For server package only, you can manage this via web interface (http://pi.hole) going to Settings and adding desired DNS servers in Upstream DNS Servers section. Save to apply changes.

Forced update of ad-serving domains list

If you need to update the blocked domain list, on the machine running Pi-hole you can execute

$ pihole -g

or, server package only, via web interface (http://pi.hole) go to Tools/Update Lists and execute Update Lists.

Temporarily disable Pi-hole

Pi-hole can be easily paused through its web interface (http://pi.hole): go to Disable and choose the suspension option that best suits your case. It is possible via CLI too by executing

$ pihole disable [time]

If you leave time blank disabling will be permanent until later manual reenabling. time can be expressed in seconds or minutes with syntax #s and #m. For example, to disable Pi-hole for 5 minutes only, you can execute

$ pihole disable 5m

At any time you can reenable Pi-hole by executing

$ pihole enable

or, via web interface, clicking on Enable.

See also