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Pi-hole Where To Place It On Your Network

Re-configure your router so that Pi-hole is the DNS Server for your network

To have Pi-hole automatically used by all the clients on your network, you have to reconfigure your home/office router to use a different DNS server. If you have never tinkered with the settings on your home router, this may be a little challenging.

Your first step is to find out the IP address of your router and log into it with a web browser.

You Have Two Choices For Router Configuration

Most users at this point will have to make a choice when it comes to changing the configuration of their router:

Some users may have no choice but to go with the ‘red pill’ option and have to disable DHCP services on their router because they do not get the option of changing DNS Servers. Let’s discuss these options properly.

The Blue Pill: Change the IP address of the DNS Server your router uses

This setting will have minimal impact on your current network setup. By default, most routers will make themselves the DNS Server for clients on the network. By replacing the DNS server that your router uses with Pi-hole’s DNS server, it will mean all the devices on your network which get an IP address from the router, will use Pi-hole for DNS. Some routers, like my own, may allow setting the DNS server in the configuration for the DHCP service.

  1. Log into your router as an administrator.
  2. Set the primary and secondary DNS server to be the IP address of your Pi-hole. See the image below and follow the Blue Text.
  3. There are too many different routers give step-by-step instructions on changing the DNS server settings, if you get stuck, try searching for the model of your router and the phrase “change DNS server settings”.
  4. Save the setting on the router, and reboot all of your devices and that’s it! You’ve now got the basic Pi-hole ad blocking enabled for your entire network!

TIP: Some routers will want a primary and secondary DNS Server. If your router requires two values, try putting in the IP address of your Pi-hole for both primary and secondary.

If you cannot make these above changes to your router because it has been locked-down by your ISP, or the router you are using does not support the option, you will have to choose the ‘red pill’ option below.

The Red Pill: Disable your router’s DHCP service and have Pi-hole take over

DHCP is the protocol used to give out IP addresses to devices on a network. A service running on your router typically does this. You can disable this service on your router, and have Pi-hole take over performing the DHCP service. You may not wish to do this right away, but once you get a feel for the Pi-hole console, this is something you will want to do. On my network, I have Pi-hole take over DHCP so that local network name resolution works appropriately and Pi-hole can identify devices in its audit log by hostname instead of IP address.

  1. Log into the Pi-hole administrator console http://192.168.x.x/admin where 192.168.x.x is the IP address you have set for your Pi-hole.
  2. Click on the settings menu on the left-hand side.
  3. Under settings, there should be a section for turning the Pi-hole DHCP server. Click the checkbox to enable DHCP. The default settings provided should be ok. Just check that the IP address range makes sense for your network, and that the router address is correct. I personally like setting the DHCP lease time to be at least a day. For further discussion about these settings refer to this page.

  4. Once you have reviewed the DHCP options and clicked enable, click Save.
  5. Log into your router and disable DHCP (make sure you do this after you turn on Pi-hole’s DHCP). if you get stuck, try searching for the model of your router and the phrase “disable DHCP”

  6. Reboot a device on your network and reload the Settings page on your Pi-hole and expand the DHCP leases control, you should see the name of the device you restarted come up in the list.
  7. You should now have Pi-hole running DHCP services on your network.

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