Need help with pihole_adlist_tool?
Click the “chat” button below for chat support from the developer who created it, or find similar developers for support.

About the developer

222 Stars 9 Forks 89 Commits 1 Opened issues


An tool to analyse how your pihole adlists cover you browsing behavior

Services available


Need anything else?

Contributors list

Pihole Adlist Tool

This script tries to provide you with a bunch of information that enables you to decide which adlists you need based on your browsing behavior. It does that by matching your browsing history (FTL's querylog) with your current adlist configuration (gravity database) generating a list of domains that you have visited in the past and which would have been blocked if your current adlist configuration would have been in place back then. In a second step the scripts takes this list and attributes each domain to the adlists it is on (similar to what

pihole -q
does). The final output is a table of all your adlists with the corresponding number of covered domains (domains that you have visited and that would have been blocked if only this particular adlist would have been used).

The script outputs

  • the number of adlists (and how many are enabled)
  • the number of unique domains in your gravity.db
  • the number of blocked domains as reported by pihole ('blocking status == blocked by gravity' or blocking status == blocked by gravity+blocked during CNAME inspection) and how often those domains have been blocked ('hits')
  • the number of covered domains and how often those would have been blocked ('hits')
  • special case: domains on your (personal) blacklist which are also on an adlist and have been visited in the past, including hits (run 'pihole -q' to see on which adlist those domains appear)
  • optional: top blocked domains and number of hits if your current adlist configuration would have been used
  • adlist table id, status, total domains on adlist, covered domains, hits, unique covered domains, address
    • the sum of unique covered domains
  • optional: list of unique coverd domains with adlist_id, address
  • optional: analyse regex blacklist

As domains usually appear on more then one adlist I introduce the concept of unique covered domains. Those are domains that have been visited, would have been blocked and appear on just one adlist. This might help you to value your adlists not just by how many domains are covered but also what would happen if you disable this adlist.


  • ~~Disabled blocklist won't be analyzed as gravity is not including domains from deactivated adlists. You can enable all adlists from within the script.~~ The script will warn you, if there is a mismatch between the enabled adlists and data found in the gravity database. Users have the choise to run gravity to clear the mismatch or proceed anyway. In this case the tool will analyze all availabe data, but results must be interpreted with caution. (see 8dab71)

  • Black/Whitelisted domains (~~including regex~~ see PR #19 are not considered when calculating the number of covered domains (and hits)

    • Whitelisted domains reduce the number of blocked domains as reported by pihole compared to the calculated numbers
    • Blacklisted domains increase the number of blocked domains as reported by pihole compared to the calculated numbers
  • ~~This tool can not deal with domains that have been blocked due to CNAME inspection because pihole doesn't store the actual blocked domain but the CNAME and a corresponding status ("Blocked during deep CNAME inspection"). This CNAME domain will not match a domain from an adlist - if it would it would have been blocked directly.~~ (see PR #3)

  • Other differences between the number of domains/hits as reported by pihole and calculated numbers are due to change in adlist configuration over time

  • For the limits of the regex analysis see the notes of PR #19


  • Depending on the number of enabled adlists and the number of visited domains in the selected time period the calculation might take some time - please be patient. On my NanoPi NeoPlus2 (ARM, Quad-core Cortex A53) it takes ~17-18sec to analyse 2.3 million queries from pihole-ftl.db and 347603 domains in gravity.db

  • Analysis of regex blacklist can take minutes easily!

  • While lists that have attracted no or only very few hits in the analysis are prime candidates for removal, you should also consider the type of blocklist before you ultimately decide do remove a list, e.g. you may want to keep malware or telemetry focused blocklists nonetheless.


  • Pi-hole FTL v5.5 (see PR #13)
  • For Docker users see notes below

Notes on Docker

Running Pi-hole on docker is not officially supported by this script! I don't run Pi-hole on docker myself and have no ability to test the script. Expect things to break anytime. However, I do try to release a "workaround" script (

) that should work also with Pi-hole on docker. Don't expect the full functionality or me to invest a lot of time on this. Contributions welcome!


  • Pi-hole v5.5
  • sqlite3 packges installed on host system

** Usage **

pihole_adlist_tool [options]

options: -d [Num] Consider the last [Num] days (Default: 30). Enter 0 for all-time analysis. -t [Num] Show top blocked domains. [Num] defines the number to show. -s [total/domains/hits/unique] Set sorting order to total domains, domains covered, hits covered or unique covered domains DESC. (Default sorting: id ASC) -u Show covered unique domains -a Run in 'automatic mode'. No user input is requiered at all, assuming default choice would be to leave everything untouched. -r Analyse regex as well. Depending on the amount of domains and regex this might take a while. -h Show this help dialog


As adlist configuration might have changed over time (add/removed adlists, enabled/disabled adlists) this script doesn't rely on pholes blocking status for the analysis but rather determine if queries from the long-term database would have been blocked with the current adlist configuration. Relying on the blocking status could lead to wrong assumptions about adlist coverage of your current adlist configuration: some domains might have been blocked in the past but wouldn't be blocked now (removed adlist) and some might be blocked now but haven't in the past (added adlist). If the adlist configuration hasn't changed over time there should be no huge difference between this approach and using pihole's blocking status.

The deeper reason for re-analyzing the queries is that this tool should help you to make predictions for the future: assuming your online behavior is rather stable over time and you analyze a long enough dataset from the past this tool will tell you which adlist might be worth keeping (because it contains a lot of covered domains) and which you could safely remove (no covered domains and/or covered domains but no unique covered domains).

Support, Contribute & Todo

I'm not a developer. This script is mostly done by copy-pasting snippets I found online. I know there is no proper error and exception handling. If you are willing to improve the script feel free to submit pull requests. Things on my todo list:

  • Further improve speed of the database handling. The slow steps are
    • Select all domains from pihole-ftl.db that that are also found in gravity.db
    • Get the total number of blocked domains from pihole-ftl.db
    • Get the total number of hits from pihole-ftl.db
    • ~~Update adlist with the total number of domains from gravity.db for each adlist~~ (see e0af664)
  • format sql output with awk

We use cookies. If you continue to browse the site, you agree to the use of cookies. For more information on our use of cookies please see our Privacy Policy.