RESOLV.CONF(5) Linux Programmer's Manual RESOLV.CONF(5)
resolv.conf - resolver configuration file
The resolver is a set of routines in the C library that provide access to the Internet Domain Name System (DNS). The resolver configura-
tion file contains information that is read by the resolver routines the first time they are invoked by a process. The file is designed to
be human readable and contains a list of keywords with values that provide various types of resolver information.
If this file does not exist, only the name server on the local machine will be queried; the domain name is determined from the hostname and
the domain search path is constructed from the domain name.
The different configuration options are:
nameserver Name server IP address
Internet address of a name server that the resolver should query, either an IPv4 address (in dot notation), or an IPv6 address in
colon (and possibly dot) notation as per RFC 2373. Up to MAXNS (currently 3, see <resolv.h>) name servers may be listed, one per
keyword. If there are multiple servers, the resolver library queries them in the order listed. If no nameserver entries are
present, the default is to use the name server on the local machine. (The algorithm used is to try a name server, and if the query
times out, try the next, until out of name servers, then repeat trying all the name servers until a maximum number of retries are
domain Local domain name.
Most queries for names within this domain can use short names relative to the local domain. If set to '.', the root domain is con-
sidered. If no domain entry is present, the domain is determined from the local hostname returned by gethostname(2); the domain
part is taken to be everything after the first '.'. Finally, if the hostname does not contain a domain part, the root domain is
search Search list for host-name lookup.
The search list is normally determined from the local domain name; by default, it contains only the local domain name. This may be
changed by listing the desired domain search path following the search keyword with spaces or tabs separating the names. Resolver
queries having fewer than ndots dots (default is 1) in them will be attempted using each component of the search path in turn until
a match is found. For environments with multiple subdomains please read options ndots:n below to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks
and unnecessary traffic for the root-dns-servers. Note that this process may be slow and will generate a lot of network traffic if
the servers for the listed domains are not local, and that queries will time out if no server is available for one of the domains.
The search list is currently limited to six domains with a total of 256 characters.
This option allows addresses returned by gethostbyname(3) to be sorted. A sortlist is specified by IP-address-netmask pairs. The
netmask is optional and defaults to the natural netmask of the net. The IP address and optional network pairs are separated by
slashes. Up to 10 pairs may be specified. Here is an example:
sortlist 126.96.36.199/255.255.240.0 188.8.131.52
Options allows certain internal resolver variables to be modified. The syntax is
options option ...
where option is one of the following:
debug sets RES_DEBUG in _res.options (effective only if glibc was built with debug support; see resolver(3)).
sets a threshold for the number of dots which must appear in a name given to res_query(3) (see resolver(3)) before an initial
absolute query will be made. The default for n is 1, meaning that if there are any dots in a name, the name will be tried
first as an absolute name before any search list elements are appended to it. The value for this option is silently capped
sets the amount of time the resolver will wait for a response from a remote name server before retrying the query via a dif-
ferent name server. Measured in seconds, the default is RES_TIMEOUT (currently 5, see <resolv.h>). The value for this
option is silently capped to 30.
sets the number of times the resolver will send a query to its name servers before giving up and returning an error to the
calling application. The default is RES_DFLRETRY (currently 2, see <resolv.h>). The value for this option is silently
capped to 5.
rotate sets RES_ROTATE in _res.options, which causes round-robin selection of nameservers from among those listed. This has the
effect of spreading the query load among all listed servers, rather than having all clients try the first listed server first
sets RES_NOCHECKNAME in _res.options, which disables the modern BIND checking of incoming hostnames and mail names for
invalid characters such as underscore (_), non-ASCII, or control characters.
inet6 sets RES_USE_INET6 in _res.options. This has the effect of trying a AAAA query before an A query inside the gethostbyname(3)
function, and of mapping IPv4 responses in IPv6 "tunneled form" if no AAAA records are found but an A record set exists.
ip6-bytestring (since glibc 2.3.4)
sets RES_USE_BSTRING in _res.options. This causes reverse IPv6 lookups to be made using the bit-label format described in
RFC 2673; if this option is not set, then nibble format is used.
ip6-dotint/no-ip6-dotint (since glibc 2.3.4)
Clear/set RES_NOIP6DOTINT in _res.options. When this option is clear (ip6-dotint), reverse IPv6 lookups are made in the
(deprecated) ip6.int zone; when this option is set (no-ip6-dotint), reverse IPv6 lookups are made in the ip6.arpa zone by
default. This option is set by default.
edns0 (since glibc 2.6)
sets RES_USE_EDNSO in _res.options. This enables support for the DNS extensions described in RFC 2671.
single-request (since glibc 2.10)
sets RES_SNGLKUP in _res.options. By default, glibc performs IPv4 and IPv6 lookups in parallel since version 2.9. Some
appliance DNS servers cannot handle these queries properly and make the requests time out. This option disables the behavior
and makes glibc perform the IPv6 and IPv4 requests sequentially (at the cost of some slowdown of the resolving process).
single-request-reopen (since glibc 2.9)
The resolver uses the same socket for the A and AAAA requests. Some hardware mistakenly sends back only one reply. When
that happens the client system will sit and wait for the second reply. Turning this option on changes this behavior so that
if two requests from the same port are not handled correctly it will close the socket and open a new one before sending the
The domain and search keywords are mutually exclusive. If more than one instance of these keywords is present, the last instance wins.
The search keyword of a system's resolv.conf file can be overridden on a per-process basis by setting the environment variable LOCALDOMAIN
to a space-separated list of search domains.
The options keyword of a system's resolv.conf file can be amended on a per-process basis by setting the environment variable RES_OPTIONS to
a space-separated list of resolver options as explained above under options.
The keyword and value must appear on a single line, and the keyword (e.g., nameserver) must start the line. The value follows the keyword,
separated by white space.
Lines that contain a semicolon (;) or hash character (#) in the first column are treated as comments.
gethostbyname(3), resolver(3), hostname(7), named(8)
Name Server Operations Guide for BIND
This page is part of release 3.53 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.
4th Berkeley Distribution 2013-07-31 RESOLV.CONF(5)