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Per-client blocking example

In this example, we describe how to set up a blocking rule for three specific clients. All remaining (and newly added) clients in the network are "unmanaged", i.e., they use Pi-hole as usual. The examples shown here are built upon each other, i.e., example 5 might make no sense without the context of example 3.

Don't forget to run

pihole restartdns reload-lists

after your database modifications to have FTL flush its internal domain-blocking cache (separate from the DNS cache).

Prerequisites

  1. Add three groups.

    The Default group has a special meaning and cannot be deleted. All domains, clients, and adlists without a specific group assignment are automatically managed through this group. Disabling this group will disable Pi-hole blocking for all unmanaged devices.

    Adding three groups

    Raw database instructions
    INSERT INTO "group" (id, name) VALUES (1, 'Group 1');
    INSERT INTO "group" (id, name) VALUES (2, 'Group 2');
    INSERT INTO "group" (id, name) VALUES (3, 'Group 3');
    
  2. Add three clients.

    Add three clients at your will, their IP addresses might differ from the ones in this example.

    Adding three clients

    Raw database instructions
    INSERT INTO client (id, ip) VALUES (1, '192.168.0.101');
    INSERT INTO client (id, ip) VALUES (2, '192.168.0.102');
    INSERT INTO client (id, ip) VALUES (3, '192.168.0.103');
    
  3. Link the clients to the created groups.

    Link groups and clients

    Raw database instructions
    INSERT INTO client_by_group (client_id, group_id) VALUES (1, 1);
    INSERT INTO client_by_group (client_id, group_id) VALUES (2, 2);
    INSERT INTO client_by_group (client_id, group_id) VALUES (3, 3);
    

Example 1: Exclude from blocking

Task: Exclude client 1 from Pi-hole's blocking by removing client 1 from the Default group.

Change client groups assignment - Overview

Raw database instructions
DELETE FROM client_by_group WHERE client_id = 1 AND group_id = 0;

Result

Client Group membership Domain Blocked
all other Default doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.101 Group 1 doubleclick.net No
192.168.0.102 Group 2 + Default doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.103 Group 3 + Default doubleclick.net Yes

All three clients got automatically assigned to the default (Default) group when they were added. The default group includes all adlists and list domains (if not already changed by the user). When we remove the default group for client 192.168.0.101, we effectively remove all associations to any adlists and domains. This leaves this client completely unblocked.

Example 2: Blocklist management

Task: Assign adlist with ID 1 to group 1 (in addition to the default assignment to group 0). This results in client 192.168.0.101 using only this adlist (we removed the default association in the last step).

Change blocklist group assignment - Overview

Raw database instructions
INSERT INTO adlist_by_group (adlist_id, group_id) VALUES (1,1);

Result

Client Group membership Domain Blocked
all other Default doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.101 Group 1 doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.102 Group 2 + Default doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.103 Group 3 + Default doubleclick.net Yes

192.168.0.101 gets doubleclick.net blocked as it uses an adlist including this domain. All other clients stay unchanged.

Example 3: Blacklisting

Task: Add a single domain that should be blacklisted only for group 1 (client 192.168.0.101).

Step 1

Add the domain to be blocked

Add new exact blacklist domain

Resulting row in the list of domains

Raw database instructions
INSERT INTO domainlist (type, domain, comment) VALUES (1, 'blacklisted.com', 'Blacklisted for members of group 1');

Result

Client Group membership Domain Blocked
all other Default blacklisted.com Yes
192.168.0.101 Group 1 blacklisted.com No
192.168.0.102 Group 2 + Default blacklisted.com Yes
192.168.0.103 Group 3 + Default blacklisted.com Yes

Note that Pi-hole is not blocking this domain for client 192.168.0.101 as we removed the default assignment through group 0 above. All remaining clients are linked through the Default group to this domain and see it as being blocked.

Step 2

Assign this domain to group 1

Assign group to a new domain

Raw database instructions

INSERT INTO domainlist_by_group (domainlist_id, group_id) VALUES (1, 1);
(the domainlist_id might be different for you, check with SELECT last_insert_rowid(); after step 1)

Result

Client Group membership Domain Blocked
all other Default blacklisted.com Yes
192.168.0.101 Group 1 blacklisted.com Yes
192.168.0.102 Group 2 + Default blacklisted.com Yes
192.168.0.103 Group 3 + Default blacklisted.com Yes

All clients see this domain as being blocked: Client 1 due to a direct assignment through group 1, all remaining clients through the default group 0 (unchanged).

Step 3

Remove default assignment to all clients not belonging to a group

Remove Default group from new domain

Raw database instructions

DELETE FROM domainlist_by_group WHERE domainlist_id = 1 AND group_id = 0;
(the domainlist_id might be different for you, see above)

Result

Client Group membership Domain Blocked
all other Default blacklisted.com No
192.168.0.101 Group 1 blacklisted.com Yes
192.168.0.102 Group 2 + Default blacklisted.com No
192.168.0.103 Group 3 + Default blacklisted.com No

While client 1 keeps its explicit assignment through group 1, the remaining clients lost their unassignments when we removed group 0 from the assignment.

Example 4: Whitelisting

Task: Add a single domain that should be whitelisted only for group 2 (client 192.168.0.102).

Step 1

Add the domain to be whitelisted

Add a new exact whitelist domain

Resulting row in the list of domains

Raw database instructions
INSERT INTO domainlist (type, domain, comment) VALUES (0, 'doubleclick.net', 'Whitelisted for members of group 2');

Result

Client Group membership Domain Blocked
all other Default doubleclick.net No
192.168.0.101 Group 1 doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.102 Group 2 + Default doubleclick.net No
192.168.0.103 Group 3 + Default doubleclick.net No

Client 192.168.0.101 is not whitelisting this domain as we removed the default assignment through group 0 above. All remaining clients are linked through the default group to this domain and see it as being whitelisted. Note that this is completely analog to step 1 of example 3.

Step 2

Remove default group assignment

Remove default group assignment

Raw database instructions
DELETE FROM domainlist_by_group WHERE domainlist_id = 2 AND group_id = 0;

Result

Client Group membership Domain Blocked
all other Default doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.101 Group 1 doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.102 Group 2 + Default doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.103 Group 3 + Default doubleclick.net Yes

Requests from all clients are blocked as the new whitelist entry is not associated with any group and, hence, is not used by any client.

Step 3

Assign this domain to group 2

Assign group to a new domain

Raw database instructions

INSERT INTO domainlist_by_group (domainlist_id, group_id) VALUES (2, 2);
(the domainlist_id might be different for you, check with SELECT last_insert_rowid(); after step 1)

Result

Client Group membership Domain Blocked
all other Default doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.101 Group 1 doubleclick.net Yes
192.168.0.102 Group 2 + Default doubleclick.net No
192.168.0.103 Group 3 + Default doubleclick.net Yes

Client 2 got the whitelist entry explicitly assigned to. Accordingly, client 2 does not get the domain blocked whereas all remaining clients still see this domain as blocked.


Last update: October 22, 2021
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