We often get questions like: How many clients can Pi-hole handle? Or will Pi-hole slow my network down? To answer the latter, no. Pi-hole actually makes your network faster. To the former, that will vary based on the hardware specs you give to Pi-hole. We have a few real-life examples that can give you some ideas.
Pi-hole was designed from the start to be lightweight on resources so it can handle quite a bit. There is often a misconception that all your network traffic flows through Pi-hole, but that is not the case:
Pi-hole is not a proxy.
Pi-hole only handles your DNS traffic, which is typically 512 Bytes or less (UDP).
Large Or Enterprise Environments
During the development of FTL, we tested a 4GB RAM VM and it was able to handle well over a million queries in 24 hours. We even cranked it up beyond that.
One of the best documented case is one company using Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi 1 with 50 clients. At the time of the post, they had been running Pi-hole for six months without issue.
Some others are less detailed in terms of documentation, but one person has it running with 100 clients. While another person uses a 2GB RAM, 2 CPU VM with 200 clients and it “doesn’t ever make a blip on the server’s resources radar“.
Finally, 400 unique clients can connect to a VM with a single processor, 512MB RAM, but typically around 250 clients are connected at a single time.
See also this Twitter thread for more examples.
The highest undocumented case we have heard of was 100-250 clients running on a Raspberry Pi 2.
Small Office / Home Networks
For home users, a Raspberry Pi B works just fine for 10-15+ clients. We even asked you how many devices you had: here were your responses. But if you read the above section, you should feel a confident it can handle your home network, even if it has lot’s of IoT devices in addition to your user devices.
We have heard from many users that they love using Pi-hole on the really old Raspberry Pi’s since it runs great on minimal resources (but don’t forget, you don’t need a Raspberry Pi to run Pi-hole; it can be installed your own Linux hardware).