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Thread: Ubuntu Server 23.10 no GUI and PiHole

  1. #1
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    Ubuntu Server 23.10 no GUI and PiHole

    Is PiHole worth while? I currently use brave and other ad blockers, and trying to rearrange my VPN and configure PiHole sounds like something that's gonna eat some time. Once set up is it hard to maintain? Does it require me to update it's blocking list often?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by kein90; January 7th, 2024 at 10:10 AM. Reason: Wrong forum section

  2. #2
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    Re: Ubuntu Server 23.10 no GUI and PiHole

    Quote Originally Posted by kein90 View Post
    Is PiHole worth while? I currently use brave and other ad blockers, and trying to rearrange my VPN and configure PiHole sounds like something that's gonna eat some time. Once set up is it hard to maintain? Does it require me to update it's blocking list often?

    Thanks!
    First, if you want the longest time between required maintenance, never, run a server that isn't using an LTS release. 23.10 support ends in June, so you should install 22.04 or plan to wipe and start over in June, a few months after 24.04 is released. If you aren't 100% certain what an LTS is, look that up, since it matters for desktops and servers. I don't use non-LTS releases. They aren't worth my effort due to the very short support period. Heck, most Ubuntu Desktop LTS flavors only have 3 yrs of support, so basically, most people migrate to a new release (1 upgrade + 1 fresh install) every 2 yrs. Not for me. I'm running 20.04-based servers still - actually didn't move of 18.04 until a few months before that standard support ended. That's enough about LTS vs non-LTS.

    I've been using piholes here for a while. I run them inside an LXD managed container. Have 2 of them, specifically to ensure when one if off, maintenance reboots happen about every 3 weeks, so my other systems always have local DNS available. For me, they are mostly set and forget, unless you really want to block ads from streaming sites. Then it becomes more of a challenge. I get updated block lists from public sources as part of my weekly patches. Wrote a few scripts to mux those together for one of the lists that wasn't specific to the pihole needs.

    In theory, if you have a local DNS, then you don't need caching DNS on any of your Linux systems. Sometimes Ubuntu running systemd-resolved gets confused and breaks, so you'll need to understand more about that as well. I got to the point that I was tired of systemd-resolved breaking and just started purging it and manually setting up the DNS like we did for 20 yrs in the /etc/resolv.conf. That change really has made life easier.

    Every 2 yrs or so, the pihole upgrade/patch process breaks something. It is a really bad day. Some of those are self-inflicted. For example, I don't allow any IPv6 traffic on my LAN (security reasons), but the PIhole software supports it. So, about a year ago, there was a pihole update that assumed IPv6 support existed. Since it didn't on my system, it broke, badly. I had no DNS and all my systems knew it. It was ugly. Setup 1 box to have outside DNS without any blocking do I could research the issue. Thankfully, because I patch weekly and the issue was introduced earlier in the week, a fix had already been posted, but I had to switch to a specific git branch to get that fix for a few weeks. Then it broke again and I had to switch to the master branch to get it working again.

    Like all software, some level of maintenance is needed. For block lists, you can do as much or as little as you like. Scammers are constantly creating new domains, so don't expect to always have perfect prevention if you don't update, but that it up to you.

    A pihole has a webapp-GUI. I don't use that for patching or updating. I ssh into the pihole and run a few commands. I've scripted it as part of my weekly patching script used by all systems. The normal,
    Code:
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade
    If on the pihole,      ssh pihole1 "/home/ubuntu/bin/to-upgrade-pi-hole-sw "

    $ more /home/ubuntu/bin/to-upgrade-pi-hole-sw
    Code:
    # Update pihole software
    echo "INFO: Update pihole software"
    pihole -up
    
    # Update tracking domain lists
    echo "INFO: Update tracking domains "
    ~/bin/update-trackers
    
    echo "INFO: Update pihole gravity block lists"
    # Update gravity block lists
    pihole -g
    Pretty simple. The update-trackers script is custom for my needs after pulling some lists from a few different places and massaging those lists.

  3. #3
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    Re: Ubuntu Server 23.10 no GUI and PiHole

    Thank you so much for the input - both on the LTS matter and on the Pihole. I'm a mostly Windows user and in my ignorance, I assumed that the latest version was the best to have. For now I think I'll keep my current ad blocking setup.


    One other aspect. Since I'm on the 23.10 server version due to stop receiving support in June, could I not simply wait for the LTS edtion somewhere in April this year (24.04) and upgrade to that version without losing all my data and setup in the process?
    Last edited by kein90; January 7th, 2024 at 06:22 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Ubuntu Server 23.10 no GUI and PiHole

    Quote Originally Posted by kein90 View Post
    Thank you so much for the input - both on the LTS matter and on the Pihole. I'm a mostly Windows user and in my ignorance, I assumed that the latest version was the best to have. For now I think I'll keep my current ad blocking setup.
    https://blog.jdpfu.com/2013/07/19/wh...an-lts-release Why Ubuntu Users should run an LTS is more extensive answer.
    Just be aware that most Ubuntu LTS desktop flavors only get 3 yrs of support. There are actually some subtle things that lose support faster, regardless of flavor or release.

    Each Linux distro has a little bit different support plan and since Ubuntu flavors are wide ranging, each has slightly different support. In general, assuming 3 yrs for LTS is safe except the main "Server" and "Gnome" desktops, which get 5 yrs for the LTS releases. I mostly use Ubuntu Server LTS, which makes things easier.

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    Re: Ubuntu Server 23.10 no GUI and PiHole

    @ TheFu just a kind note from your link.
    Code:
    ubuntu-support-status —show-unsupported|more
    Has been replaced with:
    Code:
    pro security-status
    Worth a mention.
    With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world.
    Dalai Lama>>
    Code Tags | System-info | Forum Guide lines | Arch Linux, Debian Unstable, FreeBSD

  6. #6
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    Re: Ubuntu Server 23.10 no GUI and PiHole

    Things change from 2013. I don't hide the date my article was initially written, so it should be expected that some things have changed.
    The different commands for checking package support seem to constantly change recently. Even ubuntu-security-status is gone in 22.04+.

  7. #7
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    Re: Ubuntu Server 23.10 no GUI and PiHole

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    Even ubuntu-security-status is gone in 22.04+.
    Almost Gone but yes things change, I know how you like correct wording is all.
    On Noble
    Code:
    ubuntu-security-status
    This command has been replaced with 'pro security-status'.
    2681 packages installed:
         1848 packages from Ubuntu Main/Restricted repository
         804 packages from Ubuntu Universe/Multiverse repository
         26 packages from third parties
         3 packages no longer available for download
    
    To get more information about the packages, run
        pro security-status --help
    for a list of available options.
    
    This machine is receiving security patching for Ubuntu Main/Restricted
    repository until 2029.
    This machine is NOT attached to an Ubuntu Pro subscription.
    
    Ubuntu Pro with 'esm-infra' enabled provides security updates for
    Main/Restricted packages until 2034.
    
    Ubuntu Pro with 'esm-apps' enabled provides security updates for
    Universe/Multiverse packages until 2034.
    
    Try Ubuntu Pro with a free personal subscription on up to 5 machines.
    Learn more at https://ubuntu.com/pro
    It dose give the user the correction "This command has been replaced with 'pro security-status'."
    Just thought you might want to know about it is all. If not just disregard
    With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world.
    Dalai Lama>>
    Code Tags | System-info | Forum Guide lines | Arch Linux, Debian Unstable, FreeBSD

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