LOCAL DNS server – Pi-hole
Local area network is either govern by static or dynamic IP addresses. In most cases the static IP addresses are preferred because the user of the internet can be identified and the potential errors, faults, or misuses can be identified. In the environment where people use mobile devices (laptops, tablets and phones) the static IP is less convenient, and the internet connection is configured through DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol). This enables any devices to acquired free IP address and provide all instructions for the internet settings.
For internet to work as intended we need DNS server (Domain Name Server) that transforms URL (Universal Resource Locator) names into IP numbers. By using local DNS multiple things can be done and in the educational environment these are highly beneficial.
Pi-hole is a network-wide ad blocker that runs on a Raspberry Pi or other devices. It can improve the internet browsing experience and security for all devices in the educational environment. Here are some benefits of setting up a Pi-hole server in the school network:
- It blocks ads and trackers on all devices: Pi-hole intercepts DNS requests and blocks domains that are known to serve ads or trackers. This reduces the loading time and bandwidth consumption of web pages, as well as protects the privacy of the users.
- It filters out inappropriate content: Pi-hole allows you to customize the blocklist and whitelist of domains, so you can prevent access to websites that are not suitable for the school environment, such as pornography, gambling, violence, etc.
- It provides statistics and control: Pi-hole has a web interface that shows the statistics and logs of the DNS queries in the network. You can see which domains are being requested, how many are blocked, and which devices are making the requests. You can also change the settings and update the blocklists from the web interface.
- It is easy to install and use: Pi-hole has an automated installation script that guides you through the setup process. You can also install it as a Docker container¹. Once installed, you can use Pi-hole as the default DNS server for all devices in the network, or configure individual devices to use it.
If you want to learn more about Pi-hole and how to set it up, you can check out these resources:
(1) Pi-hole: How to Set Up and Configure Pi-hole on Raspberry Pi. https://howchoo.com/pi/pi-hole-setup/.
(2) Pi-hole – Network-wide Ad Blocking. https://pi-hole.net/.
(3) Prerequisites – Pi-hole documentation. https://docs.pi-hole.net/main/prerequisites/.
(4) Pi-hole: How to Set Up and Configure Pi-hole on Raspberry Pi. https://howchoo.com/pi/pi-hole-setup/.
(5) GitHub – pi-hole/docker-pi-hole: Pi-hole in a docker container. https://github.com/pi-hole/docker-pi-hole/.
(6) What is the Server env variable in docker hub’s pinole/pihole used …. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/52189098/what-is-the-serverip-env-variable-in-docker-hubs-pihole-pihole-used-for.