Let me start by saying I “want to love” PiHole, I really do, I think the concept is great, it’s an innovative use of the Raspberry Pi and I think the project has real potential.
But this is also where it falls down for me with the product, its always got “real potential” but never seems to quite deliver, for me anyway and I just can’t help but wonder if its me just doing something wrong. Let me explain.
PiHole at its core is designed to be at its heart one thing…A network wide ad blocking DNS proxy, but yet even this one task which the project is designed to deal with, it doesn’t seem to ever quite get right. I’ve scoured the internet trying block list after block list but here’s the simple facts of the matter
I can’t block YouTube ads - Please don’t tell me its hard to do and its an ever changing battlefield, I know this yet if I install “Adblock for YouTube” Google Chrome extension that blocks 100% of ads 100% of the time. Why is it a simple Chrome extension does a far better job than an entire software package that is specifically designed to bring the same functionality ?.
There’s no out of the box DoH or DoT, yeah I’m sure I can bolt on some linux package to do it but why isn’t PiHole offering me this, it gives me DNSSEC, yet if I want to secure my DNS requests I simply can’t. DNS is at the core of this product why isn’t DoT or DoH right there in the GUI ?, surely in this day and age it can’t be hard to add with so many DNS services like Google, Cloud Flare, Quad 9 and many others all supporting it.
DNS Caching, alright yeah its there, I see it, alive and well, but when I look at just how many of my DNS requests actually get cached its about 5 maybe 10% of the total at best, surely caching should be working a bit harder to cache all these requests and be routinely checking that cache in the background to ensure its up to date. Why isn’t the caching ratio much higher than it is. I admit I’ve just used DNS caching in its default configuration and haven’t tried tweaking it but everything I read seems to suggest increasing the cache etc is a bad idea anyway.
And then there’s services like ITV Hub, Amazon Alexa (which has now start bolting on ads at the end of the flash briefing news summary), various IOS games etc all continue to spam me with ads and I have a pretty severe block list blocking nearly 2.5 million domains yet these ads seem to walk through my defences with ease.
So whats the deal here ?, why am I still bombarded with ads, I’m more than happy to donate and support future developments but I want to see these issues being actively addressed and I just don’t see things getting any better ?. So is it me ?, is it a config issue ?, is there a magic block list out there I just need to add that’ll make all my woes disappear ?
Where am I going wrong, I just don’t get it ?.