PiHole and OpenVPN

Finally a meaningful use for my Raspberry Pi!

I used the $5 a month server from DigitalOcean to boot up this pre-built image. Ideally I’d like it to be true to form and running on a Pi, maybe on my home network. Alas that can’t be for a few more months.

Setup was super easy - I’ve gone for TunnelBlick rather than the official OpenVPN client for MacOS as I’ve used it for work previously. I had a few hiccups with TripMode blocking the agents - my stupid fault.

So far after about a week of running it I’m pretty pleased. There is a noticeable speed bump when on really slow or tenuous connections. About 20% of requests get blackholed by the DNS server.

One unexpected improvement is that my search results on DuckDuckGo are massively improved. I have the VPN in the London data centre and now I get much more relevant results then I ever got from Norway or when travelling. The problem is that DuckDuckGo seems to default to US based sites when it can’t fulfil a request with a local site. So searching for shopping items etc. was always a horrible experience.