Running Pihole using Docker on your Mac

A colleague of mine mentioned an open source program called Pi-hole designed to act as a DNS resolver in your local network to blackhole trackers and ads. The biggest advantage of this is that it can also be used by devices that don’t support adblockers natively or are cumbersome to use.

So how does one trial something on their local Mac to see if it’s worthwhile? Turns out the project has a Dockerfile and it works quite well, and if you don’t expose the DHCP ports you can ignore breaking your work network with a rogue DHCP server. So assuming you already have Docker installed:

cat <<EOF | tee ~/.piholeenv

docker pull pihole/pihole

docker run -d -p 80:80 -p 53:53 -p 53:53/udp -p 443:443 --restart=unless-stopped --env-file ~/.piholeenv --name pihole pihole/pihole


Next, set your DNS server to

networksetup -setdnsservers Wi-Fi

And nada, a quick, dirty, and SUPER ephemeral test that doesn’t mess with the current DHCP setup on your network. If you want to run it more long term, follow the docs properly and specify a volume to save the data.

To shut it all down:

docker stop pihole
docker rm pihole

Unfortunately my home router provided by my ISP doesn’t offer the ability to change DNS. So I guess that’s the push necessary to get around to putting it in bridge mode and getting a proper router.