How to set up your own open source DNS server

Take control of your internet privacy by running your own DNS server with the open source project, Adguard Home.
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Working from home at a laptop

A Domain Name Server (DNS) associates a domain name (like with an IP address (like This is how your web browser knows where in the world to look for data when you enter a URL or when a search engine returns a URL for you to visit. DNS is a great convenience for internet users, but it's not without drawbacks. For instance, paid advertisements appear on web pages because your browser naturally uses DNS to resolve where those ads "live" on the internet. Similarly, software that tracks your movement online is often enabled by services resolved over DNS. You don't want to turn off DNS entirely because it's very useful. But you can run your own DNS service so you have more control over how it's used.

I believe it's vital that you run your own DNS server so you can block advertisements and keep your browsing private, away from providers attempting to analyze your online interactions. I've used Pi-hole in the past and still recommend it today. However, lately, I've been running the open source project Adguard Home on my network. I found that it has some unique features worth exploring.

Adguard Home

Of the open source DNS options I've used, Adguard Home is the easiest to set up and maintain. You get many DNS resolution solutions, such as DNS over TLS, DNS over HTTPS, and DNS over QUIC, within one single project.

You can set up Adguard as a container or as a native service using a single script:

$ curl -s -S -L \

Look at the script so you understand what it does. Once you're comfortable with the install process, run it:

$ sh ./

Some of my favorite features of AdGuard Home:

  • An easy admin interface

  • Block ads and malware with the Adguard block list

  • Options to configure each device on your network individually

  • Force safe search on specific devices

  • Set HTTPS for the admin interface, so your remote interacts with it are fully encrypted

I find that Adguard Home saves me time. Its block lists are more robust than those on Pi-hole. You can quickly and easily configure it to run DNS over HTTPS.

No more malware

Malware is unwanted content on your computer. It's not always directly dangerous to you, but it may enable dangerous activity for third parties. That's not what the internet was ever meant to do. I believe you should host your own DNS service to keep your internet history private and out of the hands of known trackers such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. Try Adguard Home on your network.

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A photo of Amar, circa 2019
I am passionate about open source software and hardware, because of the Verge, my main influences include Dieter Bohn formerly of the Verge and how they tackled privacy and security concerns surrounding big technology.

1 Comment

Can you please explain how it works, your article just says install it, and doesn't explain how you configure it. You say it has an easy interface but there doesn't appear to be any screen shots showing how easy it is.

Also how is this better than Pi-hole or dnsmasq? Can you please elaborate on what you have said?

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