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Pi-hole in Container Manager on a Synology NAS

Last updated on 3 April 2024

Important or Recent Updates
Historic UpdatesDate
Updated guide for Container Manager and using Macvlan14/05/2023
Added a new section to ensure DSM continues having network access.02/06/2023
Guide updated so you can choose between Macvlan or Bridge mode12/08/2023
Added additional security option to the compose to restrict the container from gaining new privileges25/10/2023
Fixed issues I introduced with the recent changes in my mission to make things more secure. It was so secure I broke it!
Added the appropriate permissions/capabilities at start up for the container.
29/10/2023
Removed the requirement for the synobridge as this container can just use its own bridge, and added the Host network mode, so all three are a choice.28/01/2024
Removed the WEB_UID and WEB_GID from the config to avoid issues with ID’s conflicting inside the container. I will update again once I have some time to work around this.03/04/2024
Historic Updates


What is Pi-hole?

If you are looking to get advertising and tracking blocked across all the devices on your network a Pi-hole will have you covered. It’s a locally hosted Domain Name Server and uses block lists to stop adverts.

This guide will get you set up with Pi-hole and cover some basic initial settings, I recommend checking out the documentation for all the various features available.

Host vs Macvlan vs Bridge Network Modes

Host:

Host mode uses your NAS underlying network to run the containers network services, so it will be reliant on the NAS not using any of the required ports for the container. However, this makes it easy to set up, but you need to make sure no other service is using the required ports. All your clients will appear correctly as independent devices and stats.

Macvlan:

This gives you the benefit of Pi-hole having its own IP address on your network, all clients appear with their real IP addresses allowing you to assign specific rules and give you some nicer stats. However, one downside is that your NAS will not be able to use Pi-hole for DNS, due to the additional security features of Macvlan and its communication with its host. This is generally not an issue unless you wanted to use your Ad blocking with Tailscale.

Bridge Mode:

The main benefit of Bridge Mode will be the ease of setup however you will find that all clients on your network will appear under the same IP as the Bridge 172.20.0.1. This won’t impact ad blocking, but it will mean you can apply device specific rules etc.

Let’s Begin

In order for you to successfully use this guide you will need to check that your Router allows you to change your network DNS servers, this is usually found in the DHCP settings.

Please follow the two initial guides below to get a restricted Docker user and Bridge Network set up, then come back here.

Folder Setup

Let’s start by getting some folders set up for the container to use. Open up File Station create the following.

Folders
/docker/projects/pihole-compose
/docker/pihole
/docker/pihole/dnsmasq.d
/docker/pihole/pihole

Container Manager

Next we are going to set up a ‘Project’ in Container Manager. Open up Container Manager and click on Project then on the right-hand side click ‘Create’.

In the next screen we will set up our General Settings.

In the next screen we will set up our General Settings, enter the following:

SectionSetting
Project Name:pihole
Path:/docker/projects/pihole-compose
Source:Create docker-compose.yml

Next we are going to drop in our docker compose configuration. You now need to decide if you are going to go with Macvlan or Bridge Mode and copy the appropriate compose from below and paste it into line ‘1’ just like the screenshot.

What on earth is a Docker Compose?
Docker Compose allows us to define how Docker should set up one or more containers within a single configuration file. This file is yaml formatted and Container Manager uses the Projects feature to manage them.

Please note you will not be able to use Macvlan with a Bonded network connection e.g. ‘Bond0’. You will need to remove the bond in order to use this method.

Host

YAML
services:
  pihole:
    image: pihole/pihole:latest
    container_name: pihole
    cap_add:
      - CAP_NET_RAW
      - CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE
      - CAP_CHOWN
    environment:
      - PIHOLE_UID=1234 #CHANGE_TO_YOUR_UID
      - PIHOLE_GID=65432 #CHANGE_TO_YOUR_GID
      - TZ=Europe/London #CHANGE_TO_YOUR_TZ
      - WEBPASSWORD=YOURPASSWORD
      - DNSMASQ_LISTENING=local
      - WEB_PORT=8000
      - DNSMASQ_USER=pihole
      - FTLCONF_LOCAL_IPV4=YOURIPV4ADDRESS
    volumes:
      - /volume1/docker/pihole/dnsmasq.d:/etc/dnsmasq.d
      - /volume1/docker/pihole/pihole:/etc/pihole
    network_mode: host
    restart: unless-stopped

Macvlan

YAML
services:
  pihole:
    image: pihole/pihole:latest
    container_name: pihole
    cap_add:
      - CAP_NET_RAW
      - CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE
      - CAP_CHOWN
    environment:
      - PIHOLE_UID=1234 #CHANGE_TO_YOUR_UID
      - PIHOLE_GID=65432 #CHANGE_TO_YOUR_GID
      - TZ=Europe/London #CHANGE_TO_YOUR_TZ
      - WEBPASSWORD=YOURPASSWORD
      - DNSMASQ_LISTENING=local
      - WEB_PORT=8000
      - DNSMASQ_USER=pihole
      - FTLCONF_LOCAL_IPV4=YOURIPV4ADDRESS
    volumes:
      - /volume1/docker/pihole/dnsmasq.d:/etc/dnsmasq.d
      - /volume1/docker/pihole/pihole:/etc/pihole
    networks:
      macvlan:
        ipv4_address: 192.168.0.129
    restart: always

networks:
  macvlan:
    name: macvlan
    driver: macvlan
    driver_opts:
      parent: eth0
    ipam:
      config:
        - subnet: "192.168.0.0/24"
          ip_range: "192.168.0.254/24"
          gateway: "192.168.0.1"

Bridge Mode

YAML
services:
  pihole:
    image: pihole/pihole:latest
    container_name: pihole
    cap_add:
      - CAP_NET_RAW
      - CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE
      - CAP_CHOWN
    environment:
      - PIHOLE_UID=1234 #CHANGE_TO_YOUR_UID
      - PIHOLE_GID=65432 #CHANGE_TO_YOUR_GID
      - TZ=Europe/London #CHANGE_TO_YOUR_TZ
      - WEBPASSWORD=YOURPASSWORD
      - DNSMASQ_LISTENING=local
      - WEB_PORT=8000
      - DNSMASQ_USER=pihole
      - FTLCONF_LOCAL_IPV4=YOURIPV4ADDRESS
    volumes:
      - /volume1/docker/pihole/dnsmasq.d:/etc/dnsmasq.d
      - /volume1/docker/pihole/pihole:/etc/pihole
    ports:
      - 53:53/udp
      - 8000:8000/tcp
    restart: unless-stopped

We are now changing some settings this applies to all versions of the YAML above.

SectionExplanation
PIHOLE_UID=This UID is the one you obtained when setting up your dockerlimited user in the earlier guide at the start of the page. This tells Pi-hole to run under this user rather than root and gives it access to the folders we created.
PIHOLE_GID=As per the above this line will be the GID you obtained earlier.
TZ=You will need to change this line to your own timezone code – you can find the correct list of ones to use on wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tz_database_time_zones
WEBPASSWORD=Change this to the password you would like to use for the Web UI
FTLCONF_LOCAL_IPV4=If you are using the Bridge Mode this line will be the IP address of your NAS

If you are using MACVLAN Mode this line will be the same as line 25 when you do that part below.


If you are setting up the Bridge or Host versions you can now press next and jump ahead in the guide to Web portal settings for MACVLAN continue on below.

Settings Amendments for the Macvlan

OK we now need to make some further edits to the compose in order for it to work on your Network.

I have broken down the edits needed in this table it includes the line numbers and an explanation of what to edit.

External DNS for DSM

Containers on a Macvlan cannot be accessed by the host they reside on (without network changes under the hood), this mean DSM cannot use Pi-hole for its own DNS requests. It’s better to put DSM on an external DNS provider to avoid it having any issues connecting to the Internet if your Pi-hole is down.

Go into the DSM Control Panel > Network and then in the ‘Manually configure DNS server’ set two good quality DNS providers such as Quad9 9.9.9.9 and Cloudflare1.1.1.1

SectionExplanation
ipv4_address: 192.168.0.122Change to the IP address you want to use for the container. Make sure this is available and not in use by another device on your network. Don’t forget to go back up and change line 15.
parent: eth0This defines the network interface the container should use, I have used eth0 which will be the first Ethernet port on your NAS. If you want to use a different port change it accordingly.

Note! If you have Virtual Machine Manager installed change this to ovs_eth0
subnet: “192.168.0.0/24”We need to change this in line with your networks’ subnet – in the example I have used 192.168.0.0/24. The super quick way to work out what to use is just take the IP of your NAS and change the final digit before the /24 to 0
ip_range: “192.168.0.254/24”This has to be changed to the highest available IP address within the range of your subnet. Again if your network is in the 192 range the final number used from the subnet above can be changed to 254 and added to this section.
gateway: “192.168.0.1”This will be the IP address of your Router/Gateway/DHCP Server

Once you have made the edits you can click ‘Next’

Web portal settings

You do not need to enable anything on the ‘Web portal settings’ screen click ‘Next’ again.

On the final screen click ‘Done’ which will begin the download of the container images and once downloaded they will be launched!

The image will now be downloaded and extracted. You should see ‘Code 0’ when it has finished.

You will now see your Pi-hole running and should have a green status on the left-hand side.

The web interface will now be available via the below.

Macvlan = the IP you specified in the compose followed by the port :8000/admin/login.php

OR

Bridge or Host = Your NAS IP followed by the port :8000/admin/login.php

You can access the UI with the password you specified in the compose.

Now you need to add the appropriate IP address to your router depending on which method you used to set up Pi-hole

Bridge or Host = NAS IP

MACVLAN=The address you chose for the container on the line ‘ipv4_address:’

It can take some time for all of your devices to move over the new DNS settings so be patient, and you will gradually start to see your stats begin to start.

Also note as we are not using Pi-hole as the DHCP server you will not be able to see the names of the devices in the statistics just their IP addresses.

That’s it!

FAQ:

What ports does Pi-hole use?

PortProtocolUsed For
53TCP/UDPDNS
67IPv4 UDPDHCP – Only used when the ipv4 DHCP server is enabled.
547IPv6 UDPDHCP – Only used when the ipv6 DHCP server is enabled.
8000TCPFor the WebUI

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Published inAd-Blocking / DNS 7.2DockerSynology

106 Comments

  1. Baldy Baldy

    Hi,

    I have been using pi-hole for a while but decided to update my config based on your guide changes. I got it to work but I came across a few issues:

    Both bridge and macvlan:
    -The server kept trying to restart in a loop until I removed the ‘security_opt’ lines.

    macvlan:
    -I couldn’t use ‘network_mode’ and ‘networks’ at the same time due to them being mutually exclusive (according to Portainer). I removed ‘network_mode’ and it worked.

    Also, is there any way to gain access via the DSM reverse proxy? I guess not but maybe you know of a way.

    Thanks a lot,
    Baldy

    • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

      OK – Looks like I went over the top with the security line switched it around to give specific access rather than lock it down.

      cap_add:
      – CAP_NET_RAW
      – CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE
      – CAP_CHOWN

      Interesting around the network mode as it works for me in Container Manager – I will remove it for Portainer users to avoid issues in the future as it must be a bug or’feature’.

      The Proxy element I will have to come back on as wanted to get this fixed before heading out for the day.

    • Paul Paul

      This helped clear the port 53 already being used error message. Thank you and Dr. F so much! What a great site!

  2. TJ TJ

    PS
    After failing to get Pihole working I tried Plex and that worked perfectly, so it’s not all bad!

  3. TJ TJ

    Dear Dr F – I have hit a problem having followed your guide and installed Pihole in a container and started it:

    The PiHole web interface comes up ok but doesn’t seem to be able to do much. Pihole shows the error as:
    PHP error (2): fsockopen(): unable to connect to 127.0.0.1:4711 (Connection refused) in /var/www/html/admin/scripts/pi-hole/php/FTL.php:47

    The Synology keeps chugging away and neer stops chugging. The container log alternates between:
    Stopping pihole-FTL
    and:
    pihole-FTL: no process found.

    The initial container startup log looks as if it is doing what it should, starting things, updating gravity etc, and includes:
    [i] pihole-FTL (no-daemon) will be started as pihole
    s-rc: info: Service pihole-FTL successfully started

    Everthing else seems to start OK until:
    /bin/bash: Line1: 301 Hangup /usr/bin/pihole-FTL no-daemon > /dev/null 2>&1
    Stopping pihole-FTL
    Pihole-FTL: no process found

    Pihole and FTL version are then confirmed to be the latest, then the log keeps repeating
    Stopping pihole-FTL
    Pihole-FTL: no process found
    Stopping pihole-FTL
    Pihole-FTL: no process found
    Stopping pihole-FTL
    Pihole-FTL: no process found

    until I stop the container manually.

    I set up the folders, Dockers group and Docker user, and SynologyDocker bridge as per your guides. The YAML is:
    services:
    pihole:
    image: pihole/pihole:latest
    container_name: pihole
    environment:
    – PIHOLE_UID=1027
    – PIHOLE_GID=65536
    – WEB_UID=1027
    – WEB_GID=65536
    – TZ=GB
    – WEBPASSWORD=X?X?X?X?X?
    – DNSMASQ_LISTENING=local
    – WEB_PORT=8000
    – DNSMASQ_USER=pihole
    – FTLCONF_LOCAL_IPV4=192.168.0.8
    volumes:
    – /volume1/docker/pihole/dnsmasq.d:/etc/dnsmasq.d
    – /volume1/docker/pihole/pihole:/etc/pihole
    ports:
    – 53:53/udp
    – 8000:8000
    network_mode: SynologyDocker
    security_opt:
    – no-new-privileges:true
    restart: unless-stopped

    Any idea what I have done wrong?
    Thanks for nay help……

    • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

      Seen a couple of comments with the same issue over a couple of days, makes me wonder if it’s an issue with the PiHole docker release from 5 days ago

      Can you edit this line and let me know if it makes any difference to start up

      image: pihole/pihole:2023.05.2

        • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

          Try removing the security lines mentioned by baldy. I am going to see if I can reproduce the issues

    • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

      Hey

      I have just updated the compose details to fix my clear issues I introduced in the recent updates. You should find it works perfectly now.

      • TJ TJ

        Thank you Dr F and Baldy – PiHole starts in both Bridge and Macvlan modes when I use your new YAML without the security lines.
        But…..

        Some of the tabs on the Settings page don’t work – API, Privacy, and Teleporter. This means that

        1) I can’t import my settings from the other PiHole I have running on a RPi (which is running Pi-hole v5.17, FTL v5.23, Web Interface v5.20.1 – the Synology Docker versions are Pi-hole v5.17.2 FTL v5.23 Web Interface v5.20.2).

        2) On the Settings/DNS tab, although I can select “Use Conditional Forwarding” I can’t enter the required network details.

        Is this deliberate/inevitable or an error?

        • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

          Something else must be going on here as both my personal versions on my 1821+ and NUC work with the same compose however when I spin up on my VirtualDSM instance I also can’t click into those tabs. I will keep digging as something has changed other than my breaking amendments when trying to improve security which are now not an issue.

          Can you upload your log file for either of the install types please

          paste.drfrankenstein.co.uk and then post the URL as a reply

        • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

          You won’t believe this… Clear your browser cache.

          I opened on a fresh Chrome install and the tabs work fine but on Firefox they don’t until I cleared my cache

          • TJ TJ

            Hi Dr F
            Further to my last comments and log upload (as yet unmoderated so I can’t reply to them):

            I wiped all Pihole projects and containers, cleared Chrome’s cache, rebooted the Synology, made a new PiHole macvlan project, rebuilt and restarted the PiHole macvlan container, et voila – PiHole seems now to be working as it should, with all tabs and boxes showing and working. Even the CPU temperature is now showing!

            Yay!

            Just one last tiny thing (not important but……) –
            PiHole shows the hostname as the Synology’s MAC address rather than the name I have given it. What am I missing?

            Thanks for your help

            TJ

            • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

              OK cool glad it’s working. I set up 6 times yesterday with numerous changes and the cache clear immediately sorted mine.

              When I get onto a bigger screen I will tweak the guide as editing in mobile is a mare. In the interim this should give the container a hostname just add to the top of the yaml as shown and Build the container.

              services:
              pihole:
              image: pihole/pihole:latest
              hostname: pihole
              container_name: pihole
              cap_add:
              – CAP_NET_RAW
              – CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE
              – CAP_CHOWN

              • TJ TJ

                Triffic.
                I can now see which of my 3 PiHoles I’m looking at.
                This new PiHole on a DS720+ wil replace one of the 2 RPis I have been using. (Why? Because it’s there and I can!)
                I have learned a lot. Thanks
                TJ

  4. Christopher Green Christopher Green

    I am having trouble parsing this part of the guide:

    “Line 15
    FTLCONF_LOCAL_IPV4= – This will be the IP address of the container which will be setting a bit further down change this to match (Line 22)”

    I went down to the Macvlan section and under Line 22 it says to choose an ip address. So I picked one of the ips I have set aside for stuff like this and built the project. Everything went fine buuuuuuut the site won’t resolve and in the pihole container log it says “pihole-FTL: no process found” over and over, so I stopped the project.

    • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

      Hold fire I think I effed up here as I added new lines to the compose yesterday and didn’t adjust the wording / line numbers. Can you circle back just to make sure you are in line with the amended guide I just published.

        • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

          Hey OK I should have asked which method you were using, and yes now re-reading that section my edits don’t actually make sense as you are using bridge mode. I will clear that up now.

          Essentially you just need to enter the IP address of your NAS in line 15 when using Bridge Mode. Do that and build the container again and you should be working.

          • Christopher Green Christopher Green

            Dang, I put my NAS ip into line and still get the same error, over and over.

            • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

              TJ Above (Below?) has had the exact same issue can you try swapping the image to the previous release

              Edit this line and let me know if it makes any difference to start up

              image: pihole/pihole:2023.05.2

              • Christopher Green Christopher Green

                Changed the line in the YAML and got this new error while building the project:

                Error response from daemon: driver failed programming external connectivity on endpoint pihole (long string of numbers and letters but it won’t let me copy and paste): Bind for 0.0.0.0:53 failed: port is already allocated

                  • Christopher Green Christopher Green

                    All of this was from before (except for the last bit of instruction you gave me). I’m going to stick with AdGuard going forward.

                    • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

                      No worries – I will see if TJ comes back and going to spin up a fresh copy here to see if I can replicate the issues.

  5. Richard Davies Richard Davies

    I’m getting an error when trying to enable this as a DHCP server,
    “FTL failed to start due to process is missing required capability NET_ADMIN”
    I’ve tried setting the DNSMASQ_USER to root, but it makes no difference. I’ve also tried changing DNSMASQ_LISTENING to single, with no effect.

    Whereabouts in the config do I need to add the “–cap-add=NET_ADMIN”
    Cheers

    • Dr_Frankenstein Dr_Frankenstein

      Hey, are you using the bridge or macvlan version? I am out at the moment if you have a look at the compose section of the Gluetun guide you will see where to position that part.

      Keep in mind that if you are using the macvlan version the NAS won’t be able to get an ip from the server as they are separated.

      I have an amendment incoming for the guide to bridge the macvlan to the host not sure if this will help DHCP wise though.

      The user should ideally stay as pihole and will work correctly if the UID and GID have appropriate permissions to the config folder.

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