Few questions from the beginner

Hi everyone,
I found this interesting distribution one day ago. I installed and testing in the moment. But I want to ask few questions I need to solve.

  1. for what kind of use is FreedomBox designed? I don´t want to expose it outside to the Internet (not planning to use it for some openVPN or similar things, I don´t need remote access). I want to use it as another local network client, providing few services for other clients. Is it possible to use FreedomBox this way?

  2. this is related to question 1 - when I was setting up after installation, it gave me 3 options how my network works, I chose option that my pc is connected to the internet via router I can manage (and above it there is providers antenna I can´t manage). It works but I was wondering why there was some note about DMZ and about routing - can someone tell me why should I setup anything on my router???

  3. I set up static ip address, but after restarting there was old address again. Why? And how to set really static address, which persists after restart?

  4. I want to use Radicale, it was working out of the box right after installation and basic configuration. But I didn´t tested, if it runs automatically after restart. Can someone confirm or negate that Radicale starts automatically after restart of FreedomBox? And if not, how to achieve this?

  5. I was using Pihole before, so I want to use it again. Is possible to install Pihole on FreedomBox and use it as adblocker for all clients on the network? I can install it via terminal, but I was wondering I didn´t see Pihole in appstore.

  6. and one more thing - I was thinking about paid VPN service like Proton or NordVPN, could be FreedomBox configured in the way, that all clients will connect to VPN through Freedombox? Is this even possible? (I know I have to choose if I will use Pihole or VPN, both won´t work perhaps)

Thanks for every reply :slight_smile:

Hi @Malakay

Welcome to using Freedombox.
I’ll try my best to go over your questions. I won’t be able to answer all of them but maybe give you a few pointers on the way.

Freedombox (FBX) is a Debian Pureblend. That means it’s Debian at it’s core (not a distro).
With FBX you can do anything you could that’s possible with Debian, as long as you know your way around.
FBX serves to help you self-host. It’s specifically designed to be hosting so converting it to work only for your intranet will need some adjustments. Have a look at this post.

FBX can act as your router if you use it in DMZ mode (bypassing your modem’s functions and transforming it into a mere “bridge”). All the options presented to you on the initial setup will be necessary for i.e. your port forwarding, firewall settings, as you install apps.

can you give more detial on this? i.e. you setup static ip address on your router? or you have a static ip address on you wan? which device did you restart? a little information on your exisitng network/device configuration would help.

Once you install it, Radicale will restart by itself after every reboot of your FBX.

PiHole is not an application in the Debian repos. So, untill it’s maintained in Debian and configured for FBX, you need to download, install and run it manually. It is technically possible to run PiHole on FBX just as it is technically possible to run it on Debian.

There are varios VPN clients that you can install from the Debian repo (OpenVPN being one of them). If you know your way around to configure these clients manually, then sure, you can run it off FBX. Nevertheless, FBX comes with OpenVPN fot the purpose of connectiong to your home server from WAN (the otherway around of what you’re looking for).

Hope these help.
Good luck and hope you have a good experience with FBX.

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Thanks Ged296123 for reply :slight_smile:

“It’s specifically designed to be hosting so converting it to work only for your intranet will need some adjustments”
Thanks, I was thinking right this, that is made to be visible from outside. So I will study a little how to prevent this. How can I check if I did it right and its not visible from outside anymore?

FBX can act as your router if you use it in DMZ mode - do I understand correctly that every routing, address reservations, rules, etc could be configured on FBX and router switched to bridge mode then works just as silly switch? I was thinking that for this I need at least two RJ-45 ports - one from incoming cable from providers antenna and second one going to my LAN.

can you give more detial on this? - so the detail - I clicked on edit (i think) in interface settings for wired connection and inserted desired ip address manually. After saving I was able to reach FBX on new address, but it was working only until I restarted it. After that there was automatically assigned IP again.

Once you install it, Radicale will restart by itself after every reboot of your FBX. - great, this is just what I needed :slight_smile:

It is technically possible to run PiHole on FBX just as it is technically possible to run it on Debian. - great, so I can use it as DNS server for my LAN and blocking ads will work again :slight_smile: Its another purpose of that raspberry pi - I just need CalDAV via Radicale and Pihole for blocking ads network-wide.

the otherway around of what you’re looking for - yes, but that won´t help my situation :smiley: I was thinking I would use that FBX as a way how to use paid vpn from all my lan clients through one device (something like router, connecting all clients to the Internet or kinda like PiHole - every request goes to Pihole first and then outside to the Internet)

In a network such as PC ↔ router ↔ internet , the router is (almost?) always configured to pass requests from the PC to internet and, when it sees IP packets from internet that correspond to a previous requests, it passes it back to the PC.

Freedombox just waits to receive requests, so if you run it on your PC, as long as the router is not configured to forward requests from internet to your PC, freedombox services won’t be accessible from internet.

A very common scenario is that the PC is at home and the router is either configured by the ISP or has some default setup, and in such a scenario, the services that freedombox provides are not accessible from internet.

Unlike you, most freedombox users want their services to be accessible from internet, so there is advice provided on configuring the router for that. If you don’t want the services to be accessible from internet but only on the local network, there is nothing to do besides ignoring advice on router configuration.

The way to do this via the web interface is to go to System->Network, click on the interface called “Fredombox WAN”, then in the page that opens click on “Edit”, then in “IPv4 Addressing Method” you can select “Manual” and put your parameters there.

Another method not using the web interface might work but freedombox is designed to only use the web interface to do everything, so that method is the only one really tested.

As per my previous comment, anything you install via terminal is not tested. It might work or not work e.g., because FreedomBox interferes with it. If you try, you can report issues or success on this forum, someone might want to try and share information as well even though this is off tracks.

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nice and simply said :slight_smile: Thanks. I was thinking that this would be the right way, but I wasn´t sure, so I asked :slight_smile: So I´ll keep this setting and won´t forward and it should do the thing :slight_smile:

I just tried and it works :slight_smile: Thanks a lot <3 I set up “wired connection” before and it is not default interface, so that was the propably that problem :slight_smile:

I think there is not any reason why it shouldn´t work. The only thing is that when I enter ip of FBX into the browser, mainpage is defaultly displayed. So I will have to enter IP address with :5232 port and propably I can manage pihole through it :slight_smile:

And one more thing - as I see default mainpage with app list, could there be added some link to Pihole homepage I could use FBX homepage to enter Pihole homepage? I don´t know if I explained it briefly, I mean I will install Pihole manually, but I want to add a tile of it to FBX homepage like in picture. Could this be achieved somehow?

I tried to install Pihole - it is working, I can access web config via ip:5232 or ip/admin. But I cant see any dns queries on it. So I assume it is somehow affected with FBX. Do you have some idea what is causing this?

oh, maybe I have an idea - I have temporary set external zone in firewall, maybe the source of the problem is that FBX is not accepting incoming request. So my thought is - if I enable port 53 for DNS, it could work maybe???

See “Custom Shortcuts” in FreedomBox/Customization - Debian Wiki

I definitely try it :slight_smile: And I solved the problem - whole problem was that port 53 was defaultly closed. So I opened port 53 for DNS and Pihole is working now :slight_smile:

One more thing - I set my lan as “external” which has propably strongest rules I assume. Did I right thing?

It seem that guide is outdated, I dont have folder /etc/plinth :frowning: