Unifi UDM with Pi-hole Conditional Forwarding

Pi-hole dashboard

I've recently had to redo my home networking after moving, and I finally decided to pick up the Unifi UDM instead of a bunch of disparate Unifi devices that seemed to break down when I try to update or manage any of them.

This guide details how to both configure Pi-hole with the UDM and enable Conditional Forwarding for nice hostnames in the Pi-hole UI. It should also work with an up-to-date USG, Cloud Key, or other Unifi Controller on your network.

The following assumes you've already set up the Pi-hole server on a static IP in your network.

1. UDM: Set upstream DNS

On the UDM, you'll need to set the DNS servers just like you would without a Pi-hole.

In the new UI it's Settings, Internet, WAN (or whatever you've named your internet connection), Advanced, DNS Server. Set these values to whatever you like, Cloudflare or Quad9 are good options.

2. UDM: Advertise Pi-hole DNS

Next, we'll tell the DHCP server(s) that the UDM runs to advertise the Pi-hole's static IP address as the DNS server.

In the new UI for IPv4 it's:

  1. Settings
  2. Networks
  3. LAN (or the name you've chosen for your network(s))
  4. Advanced
  5. DHCP Name Server: Change to Manual
  6. DNS Server 1: Change to the static Pi-hole IP address

In the new UI for IPv6 it's very similar to IPv4, follow steps 1—4 and scroll all the way to the bottom.

  1. Settings, Networks, LAN, Advanced (as above)
  2. Scroll until the end of time
  3. Ensure IPv6 is enabled via Interface Type (my ISP uses Prefix Delegation) and RA
  4. DHCPv6/RDNSS DNS Control: Change to Manual
  5. DNS Server 1: Change to the Pi-hole IPv6 address

3. Pi-hole: Set upstream DNS

Next, we'll change all the upstream DNS servers in Pi-hole to only the router's address, typically Your settings panel should look something like this.

Pi-hole DNS settings page

I automate this with the following Docker Compose file:

version: '3.8'

    container_name: pihole
    image: pihole/pihole:latest
    restart: always
      - '53:53/tcp'
      - '53:53/udp'
      - '8053:80/tcp' # access Pi-hole UI on this port
      TZ: 'Australia/Melbourne'
      PIHOLE_DNS_: ''               # set to router upstream
      FTLCONF_REPLY_ADDR4: '192.168.1.xx'      # ipv4 of Pi-hole server
      FTLCONF_REPLY_ADDR6: 'XXXX:x00:000X::00' # ipv6 of Pi-hole server
      - ''
      - ./pihole/etc/pihole/:/etc/pihole/
      - ./pihole/etc/dnsmasq.d/:/etc/dnsmasq.d/
      - NET_ADMIN

Line 19 is an interesting one. I needed to set this to prevent Pi-hole from using a default list of DNS servers on startup.

4. Pi-hole: Enable Conditional Forwarding

Lastly, if you want the full hostnames reported in the Pi-hole UI instead of the IP addresses you'll need to enable conditional forwarding.

To do this you need to make sure that:

  1. both the FTLCONF_REPLY_ADDR4 and FTLCONF_REPLY_ADDR6 environment variables are set for your Pi-hole server
  2. you've found the local domain name from the UDM (Settings, Networks, LAN, Advanced, Domain Name)

Then, head to the Pi-hole DNS settings and all the way at the bottom you can enable Conditional Forwarding with your local network details. Mine looks like this:

Pi-hole DNS settings page

Check it works

If everything went well you should be able to restart/reconnect your network adapters/services and the UDM DHCP server should advertise that the Pi-hole IP is the DNS server IP, the Pi-hole will start to get hostnames from your router, and your blocked domains will continue to be blocked!

Pi-hole Top Clients

If you're using systemd-resolved like me, you can use resolvectl to check which DNS servers are in use.

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