DNSMASQ(8) System Manager's Manual DNSMASQ(8)
dnsmasq - A lightweight DHCP and caching DNS server.
dnsmasq is a lightweight DNS, TFTP, PXE, router advertisement and DHCP server. It is intended to provide coupled DNS and DHCP service to a
Dnsmasq accepts DNS queries and either answers them from a small, local, cache or forwards them to a real, recursive, DNS server. It loads
the contents of /etc/hosts so that local hostnames which do not appear in the global DNS can be resolved and also answers DNS queries for
DHCP configured hosts. It can also act as the authoritative DNS server for one or more domains, allowing local names to appear in the
The dnsmasq DHCP server supports static address assignments and multiple networks. It automatically sends a sensible default set of DHCP
options, and can be configured to send any desired set of DHCP options, including vendor-encapsulated options. It includes a secure, read-
only, TFTP server to allow net/PXE boot of DHCP hosts and also supports BOOTP. The PXE support is full featured, and includes a proxy mode
which supplies PXE information to clients whilst DHCP address allocation is done by another server.
The dnsmasq DHCPv6 server provides the same set of features as the DHCPv4 server, and in addition, it includes router advertisements and a
neat feature which allows nameing for clients which use DHCPv4 and stateless autoconfiguration only for IPv6 configuration. There is sup-
port for doing address allocation (both DHCPv6 and RA) from subnets which are dynamically delegated via DHCPv6 prefix delegation.
Dnsmasq is coded with small embedded systems in mind. It aims for the smallest possible memory footprint compatible with the supported
functions, and allows uneeded functions to be omitted from the compiled binary.
Note that in general missing parameters are allowed and switch off functions, for instance "--pid-file" disables writing a PID file. On
BSD, unless the GNU getopt library is linked, the long form of the options does not work on the command line; it is still recognised in the
--test Read and syntax check configuration file(s). Exit with code 0 if all is OK, or a non-zero code otherwise. Do not start up dnsmasq.
Don't read the hostnames in /etc/hosts.
Additional hosts file. Read the specified file as well as /etc/hosts. If -h is given, read only the specified file. This option may
be repeated for more than one additional hosts file. If a directory is given, then read all the files contained in that directory.
Add the domain to simple names (without a period) in /etc/hosts in the same way as for DHCP-derived names. Note that this does not
apply to domain names in cnames, PTR records, TXT records etc.
When replying with information from /etc/hosts or the DHCP leases file dnsmasq by default sets the time-to-live field to zero, mean-
ing that the requester should not itself cache the information. This is the correct thing to do in almost all situations. This
option allows a time-to-live (in seconds) to be given for these replies. This will reduce the load on the server at the expense of
clients using stale data under some circumstances.
Negative replies from upstream servers normally contain time-to-live information in SOA records which dnsmasq uses for caching. If
the replies from upstream servers omit this information, dnsmasq does not cache the reply. This option gives a default value for
time-to-live (in seconds) which dnsmasq uses to cache negative replies even in the absence of an SOA record.
Set a maximum TTL value that will be handed out to clients. The specified maximum TTL will be given to clients instead of the true
TTL value if it is lower. The true TTL value is however kept in the cache to avoid flooding the upstream DNS servers.
Set a maximum TTL value for entries in the cache.
Set the TTL value returned in answers from the authoritative server.
Do not go into the background at startup but otherwise run as normal. This is intended for use when dnsmasq is run under daemontools
Debug mode: don't fork to the background, don't write a pid file, don't change user id, generate a complete cache dump on receipt on
SIGUSR1, log to stderr as well as syslog, don't fork new processes to handle TCP queries. Note that this option is for use in debug-
ging only, to stop dnsmasq daemonising in production, use -k.
Log the results of DNS queries handled by dnsmasq. Enable a full cache dump on receipt of SIGUSR1.
Set the facility to which dnsmasq will send syslog entries, this defaults to DAEMON, and to LOCAL0 when debug mode is in operation.
If the facility given contains at least one '/' character, it is taken to be a filename, and dnsmasq logs to the given file, instead
of syslog. If the facility is '-' then dnsmasq logs to stderr. (Errors whilst reading configuration will still go to syslog, but
all output from a successful startup, and all output whilst running, will go exclusively to the file.) When logging to a file, dns-
masq will close and reopen the file when it receives SIGUSR2. This allows the log file to be rotated without stopping dnsmasq.
Enable asynchronous logging and optionally set the limit on the number of lines which will be queued by dnsmasq when writing to the
syslog is slow. Dnsmasq can log asynchronously: this allows it to continue functioning without being blocked by syslog, and allows
syslog to use dnsmasq for DNS queries without risking deadlock. If the queue of log-lines becomes full, dnsmasq will log the over-
flow, and the number of messages lost. The default queue length is 5, a sane value would be 5-25, and a maximum limit of 100 is
Specify an alternate path for dnsmasq to record its process-id in. Normally /var/run/dnsmasq.pid.
Specify the userid to which dnsmasq will change after startup. Dnsmasq must normally be started as root, but it will drop root priv-
ileges after startup by changing id to another user. Normally this user is "nobody" but that can be over-ridden with this switch.
Specify the group which dnsmasq will run as. The defaults to "dip", if available, to facilitate access to /etc/ppp/resolv.conf which
is not normally world readable.
Print the version number.
Listen on <port> instead of the standard DNS port (53). Setting this to zero completely disables DNS function, leaving only DHCP
Specify the largest EDNS.0 UDP packet which is supported by the DNS forwarder. Defaults to 4096, which is the RFC5625-recommended
Send outbound DNS queries from, and listen for their replies on, the specific UDP port <query_port> instead of using random ports.
NOTE that using this option will make dnsmasq less secure against DNS spoofing attacks but it may be faster and use less resources.
Setting this option to zero makes dnsmasq use a single port allocated to it by the OS: this was the default behaviour in versions
prior to 2.43.
Do not use ports less than that given as source for outbound DNS queries. Dnsmasq picks random ports as source for outbound queries:
when this option is given, the ports used will always to larger than that specified. Useful for systems behind firewalls.
-i, --interface=<interface name>
Listen only on the specified interface(s). Dnsmasq automatically adds the loopback (local) interface to the list of interfaces to
use when the --interface option is used. If no --interface or --listen-address options are given dnsmasq listens on all available
interfaces except any given in --except-interface options. IP alias interfaces (eg "eth1:0") cannot be used with --interface or
--except-interface options, use --listen-address instead. A simple wildcard, consisting of a trailing '*', can be used in --inter-
face and --except-interface options.
-I, --except-interface=<interface name>
Do not listen on the specified interface. Note that the order of --listen-address --interface and --except-interface options does
not matter and that --except-interface options always override the others.
Enable DNS authoritative mode for queries arriving at an interface or address. Note that the interface or address need not be men-
tioned in --interface or --listen-address configuration, indeed --auth-server will overide these and provide a different DNS service
on the specified interface. The <domain> is the "glue record". It should resolve in the global DNS to a A and/or AAAA record which
points to the address dnsmasq is listening on.
-2, --no-dhcp-interface=<interface name>
Do not provide DHCP or TFTP on the specified interface, but do provide DNS service.
Listen on the given IP address(es). Both --interface and --listen-address options may be given, in which case the set of both inter-
faces and addresses is used. Note that if no --interface option is given, but --listen-address is, dnsmasq will not automatically
listen on the loopback interface. To achieve this, its IP address, 127.0.0.1, must be explicitly given as a --listen-address option.
On systems which support it, dnsmasq binds the wildcard address, even when it is listening on only some interfaces. It then discards
requests that it shouldn't reply to. This has the advantage of working even when interfaces come and go and change address. This
option forces dnsmasq to really bind only the interfaces it is listening on. About the only time when this is useful is when running
another nameserver (or another instance of dnsmasq) on the same machine. Setting this option also enables multiple instances of dns-
masq which provide DHCP service to run in the same machine.
Enable a network mode which is a hybrid between --bind-interfaces and the default. Dnsmasq binds the address of individual inter-
faces, allowing multiple dnsmasq instances, but if new interfaces or addresses appear, it automatically listens on those (subject to
any access-control configuration). This makes dynamically created interfaces work in the same way as the default. Implementing this
option requires non-standard networking APIs and it is only available under Linux. On other platforms it falls-back to --bind-inter-
Return answers to DNS queries from /etc/hosts which depend on the interface over which the query was received. If a name in
/etc/hosts has more than one address associated with it, and at least one of those addresses is on the same subnet as the interface
to which the query was sent, then return only the address(es) on that subnet. This allows for a server to have multiple addresses
in /etc/hosts corresponding to each of its interfaces, and hosts will get the correct address based on which network they are
attached to. Currently this facility is limited to IPv4.
Bogus private reverse lookups. All reverse lookups for private IP ranges (ie 192.168.x.x, etc) which are not found in /etc/hosts or
the DHCP leases file are answered with "no such domain" rather than being forwarded upstream.
Modify IPv4 addresses returned from upstream nameservers; old-ip is replaced by new-ip. If the optional mask is given then any
address which matches the masked old-ip will be re-written. So, for instance --alias=184.108.40.206,220.127.116.11,255.255.255.0 will map 18.104.22.168
to 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52. This is what Cisco PIX routers call "DNS doctoring". If the old IP is given as range, then
only addresses in the range, rather than a whole subnet, are re-written. So --alias=192.168.0.10-192.168.0.40,10.0.0.0,255.255.255.0
maps 192.168.0.10->192.168.0.40 to 10.0.0.10->10.0.0.40
Transform replies which contain the IP address given into "No such domain" replies. This is intended to counteract a devious move
made by Verisign in September 2003 when they started returning the address of an advertising web page in response to queries for
unregistered names, instead of the correct NXDOMAIN response. This option tells dnsmasq to fake the correct response when it sees
this behaviour. As at Sept 2003 the IP address being returned by Verisign is 184.108.40.206
Later versions of windows make periodic DNS requests which don't get sensible answers from the public DNS and can cause problems by
triggering dial-on-demand links. This flag turns on an option to filter such requests. The requests blocked are for records of types
SOA and SRV, and type ANY where the requested name has underscores, to catch LDAP requests.
Read the IP addresses of the upstream nameservers from <file>, instead of /etc/resolv.conf. For the format of this file see
resolv.conf(5). The only lines relevant to dnsmasq are nameserver ones. Dnsmasq can be told to poll more than one resolv.conf file,
the first file name specified overrides the default, subsequent ones add to the list. This is only allowed when polling; the file
with the currently latest modification time is the one used.
Don't read /etc/resolv.conf. Get upstream servers only from the command line or the dnsmasq configuration file.
Allow dnsmasq configuration to be updated via DBus method calls. The configuration which can be changed is upstream DNS servers (and
corresponding domains) and cache clear. Requires that dnsmasq has been built with DBus support. If the service name is given, dns-
masq provides service at that name, rather than the default which is uk.org.thekelleys.dnsmasq
By default, dnsmasq will send queries to any of the upstream servers it knows about and tries to favour servers that are known to be
up. Setting this flag forces dnsmasq to try each query with each server strictly in the order they appear in /etc/resolv.conf
By default, when dnsmasq has more than one upstream server available, it will send queries to just one server. Setting this flag
forces dnsmasq to send all queries to all available servers. The reply from the server which answers first will be returned to the
Reject (and log) addresses from upstream nameservers which are in the private IP ranges. This blocks an attack where a browser
behind a firewall is used to probe machines on the local network.
Exempt 127.0.0.0/8 from rebinding checks. This address range is returned by realtime black hole servers, so blocking it may disable
Do not detect and block dns-rebind on queries to these domains. The argument may be either a single domain, or multiple domains sur-
rounded by '/', like the --server syntax, eg. --rebind-domain-ok=/domain1/domain2/domain3/
Don't poll /etc/resolv.conf for changes.
Whenever /etc/resolv.conf is re-read, clear the DNS cache. This is useful when new nameservers may have different data than that
held in cache.
Tells dnsmasq to never forward A or AAAA queries for plain names, without dots or domain parts, to upstream nameservers. If the name
is not known from /etc/hosts or DHCP then a "not found" answer is returned.
-S, --local, --server=[/[<domain>]/[domain/]][<ipaddr>[#<port>][@<source-ip>|<interface>[#<port>]]
Specify IP address of upstream servers directly. Setting this flag does not suppress reading of /etc/resolv.conf, use -R to do that.
If one or more optional domains are given, that server is used only for those domains and they are queried only using the specified
server. This is intended for private nameservers: if you have a nameserver on your network which deals with names of the form
xxx.internal.thekelleys.org.uk at 192.168.1.1 then giving the flag -S /internal.thekelleys.org.uk/192.168.1.1 will send all queries
for internal machines to that nameserver, everything else will go to the servers in /etc/resolv.conf. An empty domain specification,
// has the special meaning of "unqualified names only" ie names without any dots in them. A non-standard port may be specified as
part of the IP address using a # character. More than one -S flag is allowed, with repeated domain or ipaddr parts as required.
More specific domains take precendence over less specific domains, so: --server=/google.com/220.127.116.11 --server=/www.google.com/18.104.22.168
will send queries for *.google.com to 22.214.171.124, except *www.google.com, which will go to 126.96.36.199
The special server address '#' means, "use the standard servers", so --server=/google.com/188.8.131.52 --server=/www.google.com/# will
send queries for *.google.com to 184.108.40.206, except *www.google.com which will be forwarded as usual.
Also permitted is a -S flag which gives a domain but no IP address; this tells dnsmasq that a domain is local and it may answer
queries from /etc/hosts or DHCP but should never forward queries on that domain to any upstream servers. local is a synonym for
server to make configuration files clearer in this case.
IPv6 addresses may include a %interface scope-id, eg fe80::202:a412:4512:7bbf%eth0.
The optional string after the @ character tells dnsmasq how to set the source of the queries to this nameserver. It should be an ip-
address, which should belong to the machine on which dnsmasq is running otherwise this server line will be logged and then ignored,
or an interface name. If an interface name is given, then queries to the server will be forced via that interface; if an ip-address
is given then the source address of the queries will be set to that address. The query-port flag is ignored for any servers which
have a source address specified but the port may be specified directly as part of the source address. Forcing queries to an inter-
face is not implemented on all platforms supported by dnsmasq.
Specify an IP address to return for any host in the given domains. Queries in the domains are never forwarded and always replied to
with the specified IP address which may be IPv4 or IPv6. To give both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses for a domain, use repeated -A flags.
Note that /etc/hosts and DHCP leases override this for individual names. A common use of this is to redirect the entire dou-
bleclick.net domain to some friendly local web server to avoid banner ads. The domain specification works in the same was as for
--server, with the additional facility that /#/ matches any domain. Thus --address=/#/220.127.116.11 will always return 18.104.22.168 for any
query not answered from /etc/hosts or DHCP and not sent to an upstream nameserver by a more specific --server directive.
Places the resolved IP addresses of queries for the specified domains in the specified netfilter ip sets. Domains and subdomains are
matched in the same way as --address. These ip sets must already exist. See ipset(8) for more details.
-m, --mx-host=<mx name>[[,<hostname>],<preference>]
Return an MX record named <mx name> pointing to the given hostname (if given), or the host specified in the --mx-target switch or,
if that switch is not given, the host on which dnsmasq is running. The default is useful for directing mail from systems on a LAN to
a central server. The preference value is optional, and defaults to 1 if not given. More than one MX record may be given for a host.
Specify the default target for the MX record returned by dnsmasq. See --mx-host. If --mx-target is given, but not --mx-host, then
dnsmasq returns a MX record containing the MX target for MX queries on the hostname of the machine on which dnsmasq is running.
Return an MX record pointing to itself for each local machine. Local machines are those in /etc/hosts or with DHCP leases.
Return an MX record pointing to the host given by mx-target (or the machine on which dnsmasq is running) for each local machine.
Local machines are those in /etc/hosts or with DHCP leases.
Return a SRV DNS record. See RFC2782 for details. If not supplied, the domain defaults to that given by --domain. The default for
the target domain is empty, and the default for port is one and the defaults for weight and priority are zero. Be careful if trans-
posing data from BIND zone files: the port, weight and priority numbers are in a different order. More than one SRV record for a
given service/domain is allowed, all that match are returned.
Add A, AAAA and PTR records to the DNS. This adds one or more names to the DNS with associated IPv4 (A) and IPv6 (AAAA) records. A
name may appear in more than one host-record and therefore be assigned more than one address. Only the first address creates a PTR
record linking the address to the name. This is the same rule as is used reading hosts-files. host-record options are considered to
be read before host-files, so a name appearing there inhibits PTR-record creation if it appears in hosts-file also. Unlike hosts-
files, names are not expanded, even when expand-hosts is in effect. Short and long names may appear in the same host-record, eg.
Return a TXT DNS record. The value of TXT record is a set of strings, so any number may be included, delimited by commas; use
quotes to put commas into a string. Note that the maximum length of a single string is 255 characters, longer strings are split into
255 character chunks.
Return a PTR DNS record.
Return an NAPTR DNS record, as specified in RFC3403.
Return a CNAME record which indicates that <cname> is really <target>. There are significant limitations on the target; it must be a
DNS name which is known to dnsmasq from /etc/hosts (or additional hosts files), from DHCP or from another --cname. If the target
does not satisfy this criteria, the whole cname is ignored. The cname must be unique, but it is permissable to have more than one
cname pointing to the same target.
Return an arbitrary DNS Resource Record. The number is the type of the record (which is always in the C_IN class). The value of the
record is given by the hex data, which may be of the form 01:23:45 or 01 23 45 or 012345 or any mixture of these.
Return a DNS record associating the name with the primary address on the given interface. This flag specifies an A record for the
given name in the same way as an /etc/hosts line, except that the address is not constant, but taken from the given interface. If
the interface is down, not configured or non-existent, an empty record is returned. The matching PTR record is also created, mapping
the interface address to the name. More than one name may be associated with an interface address by repeating the flag; in that
case the first instance is used for the reverse address-to-name mapping.
Add the MAC address of the requestor to DNS queries which are forwarded upstream. This may be used to DNS filtering by the upstream
server. The MAC address can only be added if the requestor is on the same subnet as the dnsmasq server. Note that the mechanism used
to achieve this (an EDNS0 option) is not yet standardised, so this should be considered experimental. Also note that exposing MAC
addresses in this way may have security and privacy implications.
Set the size of dnsmasq's cache. The default is 150 names. Setting the cache size to zero disables caching.
Disable negative caching. Negative caching allows dnsmasq to remember "no such domain" answers from upstream nameservers and answer
identical queries without forwarding them again.
Set the maximum number of concurrent DNS queries. The default value is 150, which should be fine for most setups. The only known
situation where this needs to be increased is when using web-server log file resolvers, which can generate large numbers of concur-
A resolver on a client machine can do DNSSEC validation in two ways: it can perform the cryptograhic operations on the reply it
receives, or it can rely on the upstream recursive nameserver to do the validation and set a bit in the reply if it succeeds. Dns-
masq is not a DNSSEC validator, so it cannot perform the validation role of the recursive nameserver, but it can pass through the
validation results from its own upstream nameservers. This option enables this behaviour. You should only do this if you trust all
the configured upstream nameservers and the network between you and them. If you use the first DNSSEC mode, validating resolvers in
clients, this option is not required. Dnsmasq always returns all the data needed for a client to do validation itself.
--auth-zone=<domain>[,<subnet>[/<prefix length>][,<subnet>[/<prefix length>].....]]
Define a DNS zone for which dnsmasq acts as authoritative server. Locally defined DNS records which are in the domain will be
served, except that A and AAAA records must be in one of the specified subnets, or in a subnet corresponding to a constructed DHCP
range. The subnet(s) are also used to define in-addr.arpa and ipv6.arpa domains which are served for reverse-DNS queries. If not
specified, the prefix length defaults to 24 for IPv4 and 64 for IPv6. For IPv4 subnets, the prefix length should be have the value
8, 16 or 24 unless you are familiar with RFC 2317 and have arranged the in-addr.arpa delegation accordingly.
Specify fields in the SOA record associated with authoritative zones. Note that this is optional, all the values are set to sane
Specify any secondary servers for a zone for which dnsmasq is authoritative. These servers must be configured to get zone data from
dnsmasq by zone transfer, and answer queries for the same authoritative zones as dnsmasq.
Specify the addresses of secondary servers which are allowed to initiate zone transfer (AXFR) requests for zones for which dnsmasq
is authoritative. If this option is not given, then AXFR requests will be accepted from any secondary.
Read the Linux connection track mark associated with incoming DNS queries and set the same mark value on upstream traffic used to
answer those queries. This allows traffic generated by dnsmasq to be associated with the queries which cause it, useful for band-
width accounting and firewalling. Dnsmasq must have conntrack support compiled in and the kernel must have conntrack support
included and configured. This option cannot be combined with --query-port.
-F, --dhcp-range=[tag:<tag>[,tag:<tag>],][set:<tag>,]<start-addr>[,<end-addr>][,<mode>][,<netmask>[,<broadcast>]][,<lease time>]
Enable the DHCP server. Addresses will be given out from the range <start-addr> to <end-addr> and from statically defined addresses
given in dhcp-host options. If the lease time is given, then leases will be given for that length of time. The lease time is in sec-
onds, or minutes (eg 45m) or hours (eg 1h) or "infinite". If not given, the default lease time is one hour. The minimum lease time
is two minutes. For IPv6 ranges, the lease time maybe "deprecated"; this sets the preferred lifetime sent in a DHCP lease or router
advertisement to zero, which causes clients to use other addresses, if available, for new connections as a prelude to renumbering.
This option may be repeated, with different addresses, to enable DHCP service to more than one network. For directly connected net-
works (ie, networks on which the machine running dnsmasq has an interface) the netmask is optional: dnsmasq will determine it from
the interface configuration. For networks which receive DHCP service via a relay agent, dnsmasq cannot determine the netmask itself,
so it should be specified, otherwise dnsmasq will have to guess, based on the class (A, B or C) of the network address. The broad-
cast address is always optional. It is always allowed to have more than one dhcp-range in a single subnet.
For IPv6, the parameters are slightly different: instead of netmask and broadcast address, there is an optional prefix length. If
not given, this defaults to 64. Unlike the IPv4 case, the prefix length is not automatically derived from the interface configura-
tion. The mimimum size of the prefix length is 64.
IPv6 (only) supports another type of range. In this, the start address and optional end address contain only the network part (ie
::1) and they are followed by constructor:<interface>. This forms a template which describes how to create ranges, based on the
addresses assigned to the interface. For instance
will look for addresses of the form <network>::1 or <network>:400 on eth0 and then create a range from <network>::1 to <net-
work>::400. If the interface is assigned more than one network, then the corresponding ranges will be automatically created, and
then deprecated and finally removed again as the address is deprecated and then deleted. The interface name may have a final "*"
wildcard. Note that just any address on eth0 will not do: the non-prefix part must be equal either the start or end address given in
the dhcp-range. This is to prevent prefixes becoming perpetual if the interface gains a SLAAC address for the prefix when it is
advertised by dnsmasq.
The optional set:<tag> sets an alphanumeric label which marks this network so that dhcp options may be specified on a per-network
basis. When it is prefixed with 'tag:' instead, then its meaning changes from setting a tag to matching it. Only one tag may be
set, but more than one tag may be matched.
The optional <mode> keyword may be static which tells dnsmasq to enable DHCP for the network specified, but not to dynamically allo-
cate IP addresses: only hosts which have static addresses given via dhcp-host or from /etc/ethers will be served. A static-only sub-
net with address all zeros may be used as a "catch-all" address to enable replies to all Information-request packets on a subnet
which is provided with stateless DHCPv6, ie --dhcp=range=::,static
For IPv4, the <mode> may be proxy in which case dnsmasq will provide proxy-DHCP on the specified subnet. (See pxe-prompt and pxe-
service for details.)
For IPv6, the mode may be some combination of ra-only, slaac, ra-names, ra-stateless.
ra-only tells dnsmasq to offer Router Advertisement only on this subnet, and not DHCP.
slaac tells dnsmasq to offer Router Advertisement on this subnet and to set the A bit in the router advertisement, so that the
client will use SLAAC addresses. When used with a DHCP range or static DHCP address this results in the client having both a DHCP-
assigned and a SLAAC address.
ra-stateless sends router advertisements with the O and A bits set, and provides a stateless DHCP service. The client will use a
SLAAC address, and use DHCP for other configuration information.
ra-names enables a mode which gives DNS names to dual-stack hosts which do SLAAC for IPv6. Dnsmasq uses the host's IPv4 lease to
derive the name, network segment and MAC address and assumes that the host will also have an IPv6 address calculated using the SLAAC
algorithm, on the same network segment. The address is pinged, and if a reply is received, an AAAA record is added to the DNS for
this IPv6 address. Note that this is only happens for directly-connected networks, (not one doing DHCP via a relay) and it will not
work if a host is using privacy extensions. ra-names can be combined with ra-stateless and slaac.
Specify per host parameters for the DHCP server. This allows a machine with a particular hardware address to be always allocated the
same hostname, IP address and lease time. A hostname specified like this overrides any supplied by the DHCP client on the machine.
It is also allowable to omit the hardware address and include the hostname, in which case the IP address and lease times will apply
to any machine claiming that name. For example --dhcp-host=00:20:e0:3b:13:af,wap,infinite tells dnsmasq to give the machine with
hardware address 00:20:e0:3b:13:af the name wap, and an infinite DHCP lease. --dhcp-host=lap,192.168.0.199 tells dnsmasq to always
allocate the machine lap the IP address 192.168.0.199.
Addresses allocated like this are not constrained to be in the range given by the --dhcp-range option, but they must be in the same
subnet as some valid dhcp-range. For subnets which don't need a pool of dynamically allocated addresses, use the "static" keyword
in the dhcp-range declaration.
It is allowed to use client identifiers rather than hardware addresses to identify hosts by prefixing with 'id:'. Thus: --dhcp-
host=id:01:02:03:04,..... refers to the host with client identifier 01:02:03:04. It is also allowed to specify the client ID as
text, like this: --dhcp-host=id:clientidastext,.....
A single dhcp-host may contain an IPv4 address or an IPv6 address, or both. IPv6 addresses must be bracketed by square brackets
thus: --dhcp-host=laptop,[1234::56] IPv6 addresses may contain only the host-identifier part: --dhcp-host=laptop,[::56] in which
case they act as wildcards in constructed dhcp ranges, with the appropriate network part inserted. Note that in IPv6 DHCP, the
hardware address is not normally available, so a client must be identified by client-id (called client DUID in IPv6-land) or host-
The special option id:* means "ignore any client-id and use MAC addresses only." This is useful when a client presents a client-id
sometimes but not others.
If a name appears in /etc/hosts, the associated address can be allocated to a DHCP lease, but only if a --dhcp-host option specify-
ing the name also exists. Only one hostname can be given in a dhcp-host option, but aliases are possible by using CNAMEs. (See
The special keyword "ignore" tells dnsmasq to never offer a DHCP lease to a machine. The machine can be specified by hardware
address, client ID or hostname, for instance --dhcp-host=00:20:e0:3b:13:af,ignore This is useful when there is another DHCP server
on the network which should be used by some machines.
The set:<tag> construct sets the tag whenever this dhcp-host directive is in use. This can be used to selectively send DHCP options
just for this host. More than one tag can be set in a dhcp-host directive (but not in other places where "set:<tag>" is allowed).
When a host matches any dhcp-host directive (or one implied by /etc/ethers) then the special tag "known" is set. This allows dnsmasq
to be configured to ignore requests from unknown machines using --dhcp-ignore=tag:!known Ethernet addresses (but not client-ids) may
have wildcard bytes, so for example --dhcp-host=00:20:e0:3b:13:*,ignore will cause dnsmasq to ignore a range of hardware addresses.
Note that the "*" will need to be escaped or quoted on a command line, but not in the configuration file.
Hardware addresses normally match any network (ARP) type, but it is possible to restrict them to a single ARP type by preceding them
with the ARP-type (in HEX) and "-". so --dhcp-host=06-00:20:e0:3b:13:af,22.214.171.124 will only match a Token-Ring hardware address, since
the ARP-address type for token ring is 6.
As a special case, in DHCPv4, it is possible to include more than one hardware address. eg: --dhcp-
host=11:22:33:44:55:66,12:34:56:78:90:12,192.168.0.2 This allows an IP address to be associated with multiple hardware addresses,
and gives dnsmasq permission to abandon a DHCP lease to one of the hardware addresses when another one asks for a lease. Beware that
this is a dangerous thing to do, it will only work reliably if only one of the hardware addresses is active at any time and there is
no way for dnsmasq to enforce this. It is, for instance, useful to allocate a stable IP address to a laptop which has both wired and
Read DHCP host information from the specified file. If a directory is given, then read all the files contained in that directory.
The file contains information about one host per line. The format of a line is the same as text to the right of '=' in --dhcp-host.
The advantage of storing DHCP host information in this file is that it can be changed without re-starting dnsmasq: the file will be
re-read when dnsmasq receives SIGHUP.
Read DHCP option information from the specified file. If a directory is given, then read all the files contained in that directory.
The advantage of using this option is the same as for --dhcp-hostsfile: the dhcp-optsfile will be re-read when dnsmasq receives
SIGHUP. Note that it is possible to encode the information in a --dhcp-boot flag as DHCP options, using the options names bootfile-
name, server-ip-address and tftp-server. This allows these to be included in a dhcp-optsfile.
Read /etc/ethers for information about hosts for the DHCP server. The format of /etc/ethers is a hardware address, followed by
either a hostname or dotted-quad IP address. When read by dnsmasq these lines have exactly the same effect as --dhcp-host options
containing the same information. /etc/ethers is re-read when dnsmasq receives SIGHUP. IPv6 addresses are NOT read from /etc/ethers.
Specify different or extra options to DHCP clients. By default, dnsmasq sends some standard options to DHCP clients, the netmask and
broadcast address are set to the same as the host running dnsmasq, and the DNS server and default route are set to the address of
the machine running dnsmasq. (Equivalent rules apply for IPv6.) If the domain name option has been set, that is sent. This configu-
ration allows these defaults to be overridden, or other options specified. The option, to be sent may be given as a decimal number
or as "option:<option-name>" The option numbers are specified in RFC2132 and subsequent RFCs. The set of option-names known by dns-
masq can be discovered by running "dnsmasq --help dhcp". For example, to set the default route option to 192.168.4.4, do --dhcp-
option=3,192.168.4.4 or --dhcp-option = option:router, 192.168.4.4 and to set the time-server address to 192.168.0.4, do --dhcp-
option = 42,192.168.0.4 or --dhcp-option = option:ntp-server, 192.168.0.4 The special address 0.0.0.0 (or [::] for DHCPv6) is taken
to mean "the address of the machine running dnsmasq". Data types allowed are comma separated dotted-quad IP addresses, a decimal
number, colon-separated hex digits and a text string. If the optional tags are given then this option is only sent when all the tags
Special processing is done on a text argument for option 119, to conform with RFC 3397. Text or dotted-quad IP addresses as argu-
ments to option 120 are handled as per RFC 3361. Dotted-quad IP addresses which are followed by a slash and then a netmask size are
encoded as described in RFC 3442.
IPv6 options are specified using the option6: keyword, followed by the option number or option name. The IPv6 option name space is
disjoint from the IPv4 option name space. IPv6 addresses in options must be bracketed with square brackets, eg. --dhcp-
Be careful: no checking is done that the correct type of data for the option number is sent, it is quite possible to persuade dns-
masq to generate illegal DHCP packets with injudicious use of this flag. When the value is a decimal number, dnsmasq must determine
how large the data item is. It does this by examining the option number and/or the value, but can be overridden by appending a sin-
gle letter flag as follows: b = one byte, s = two bytes, i = four bytes. This is mainly useful with encapsulated vendor class
options (see below) where dnsmasq cannot determine data size from the option number. Option data which consists solely of periods
and digits will be interpreted by dnsmasq as an IP address, and inserted into an option as such. To force a literal string, use
quotes. For instance when using option 66 to send a literal IP address as TFTP server name, it is necessary to do --dhcp-
Encapsulated Vendor-class options may also be specified (IPv4 only) using --dhcp-option: for instance --dhcp-option=vendor:PXE-
Client,1,0.0.0.0 sends the encapsulated vendor class-specific option "mftp-address=0.0.0.0" to any client whose vendor-class matches
"PXEClient". The vendor-class matching is substring based (see --dhcp-vendorclass for details). If a vendor-class option (number 60)
is sent by dnsmasq, then that is used for selecting encapsulated options in preference to any sent by the client. It is possible to
omit the vendorclass completely; --dhcp-option=vendor:,1,0.0.0.0 in which case the encapsulated option is always sent.
Options may be encapsulated (IPv4 only) within other options: for instance --dhcp-option=encap:175, 190, iscsi-client0 will send
option 175, within which is the option 190. If multiple options are given which are encapsulated with the same option number then
they will be correctly combined into one encapsulated option. encap: and vendor: are may not both be set in the same dhcp-option.
The final variant on encapsulated options is "Vendor-Identifying Vendor Options" as specified by RFC3925. These are denoted like
this: --dhcp-option=vi-encap:2, 10, text The number in the vi-encap: section is the IANA enterprise number used to identify this
option. This form of encapsulation is supported in IPv6.
The address 0.0.0.0 is not treated specially in encapsulated options.
This works in exactly the same way as --dhcp-option except that the option will always be sent, even if the client does not ask for
it in the parameter request list. This is sometimes needed, for example when sending options to PXELinux.
(IPv4 only) Disable re-use of the DHCP servername and filename fields as extra option space. If it can, dnsmasq moves the boot
server and filename information (from dhcp-boot) out of their dedicated fields into DHCP options. This make extra space available in
the DHCP packet for options but can, rarely, confuse old or broken clients. This flag forces "simple and safe" behaviour to avoid
problems in such a case.
-U, --dhcp-vendorclass=set:<tag>,[enterprise:<IANA-enterprise number>,]<vendor-class>
Map from a vendor-class string to a tag. Most DHCP clients provide a "vendor class" which represents, in some sense, the type of
host. This option maps vendor classes to tags, so that DHCP options may be selectively delivered to different classes of hosts. For
example dhcp-vendorclass=set:printers,Hewlett-Packard JetDirect will allow options to be set only for HP printers like so: --dhcp-
option=tag:printers,3,192.168.4.4 The vendor-class string is substring matched against the vendor-class supplied by the client, to
allow fuzzy matching. The set: prefix is optional but allowed for consistency.
Note that in IPv6 only, vendorclasses are namespaced with an IANA-allocated enterprise number. This is given with enterprise: key-
word and specifies that only vendorclasses matching the specified number should be searched.
Map from a user-class string to a tag (with substring matching, like vendor classes). Most DHCP clients provide a "user class" which
is configurable. This option maps user classes to tags, so that DHCP options may be selectively delivered to different classes of
hosts. It is possible, for instance to use this to set a different printer server for hosts in the class "accounts" than for hosts
in the class "engineering".
-4, --dhcp-mac=set:<tag>,<MAC address>
(IPv4 only) Map from a MAC address to a tag. The MAC address may include wildcards. For example --dhcp-mac=set:3com,01:34:23:*:*:*
will set the tag "3com" for any host whose MAC address matches the pattern.
Map from RFC3046 relay agent options to tags. This data may be provided by DHCP relay agents. The circuit-id or remote-id is nor-
mally given as colon-separated hex, but is also allowed to be a simple string. If an exact match is achieved between the circuit or
agent ID and one provided by a relay agent, the tag is set.
dhcp-remoteid (but not dhcp-circuitid) is supported in IPv6.
(IPv4 and IPv6) Map from RFC3993 subscriber-id relay agent options to tags.
(IPv4 only) A normal DHCP relay agent is only used to forward the initial parts of a DHCP interaction to the DHCP server. Once a
client is configured, it communicates directly with the server. This is undesirable if the relay agent is adding extra information
to the DHCP packets, such as that used by dhcp-circuitid and dhcp-remoteid. A full relay implementation can use the RFC 5107
serverid-override option to force the DHCP server to use the relay as a full proxy, with all packets passing through it. This flag
provides an alternative method of doing the same thing, for relays which don't support RFC 5107. Given alone, it manipulates the
server-id for all interactions via relays. If a list of IP addresses is given, only interactions via relays at those addresses are
--dhcp-match=set:<tag>,<option number>|option:<option name>|vi-encap:<enterprise>[,<value>]
Without a value, set the tag if the client sends a DHCP option of the given number or name. When a value is given, set the tag only
if the option is sent and matches the value. The value may be of the form "01:ff:*:02" in which case the value must match (apart
from wildcards) but the option sent may have unmatched data past the end of the value. The value may also be of the same form as in
dhcp-option in which case the option sent is treated as an array, and one element must match, so
will set the tag "efi-ia32" if the the number 6 appears in the list of architectures sent by the client in option 93. (See RFC 4578
for details.) If the value is a string, substring matching is used.
The special form with vi-encap:<enterprise number> matches against vendor-identifying vendor classes for the specified enterprise.
Please see RFC 3925 for more details of these rare and interesting beasts.
Perform boolean operations on tags. Any tag appearing as set:<tag> is set if all the tags which appear as tag:<tag> are set, (or
unset when tag:!<tag> is used) If no tag:<tag> appears set:<tag> tags are set unconditionally. Any number of set: and tag: forms
may appear, in any order. Tag-if lines ares executed in order, so if the tag in tag:<tag> is a tag set by another tag-if, the line
which sets the tag must precede the one which tests it.
When all the given tags appear in the tag set ignore the host and do not allocate it a DHCP lease.
When all the given tags appear in the tag set, ignore any hostname provided by the host. Note that, unlike dhcp-ignore, it is per-
missible to supply no tags, in which case DHCP-client supplied hostnames are always ignored, and DHCP hosts are added to the DNS
using only dhcp-host configuration in dnsmasq and the contents of /etc/hosts and /etc/ethers.
(IPv4 only) Generate a name for DHCP clients which do not otherwise have one, using the MAC address expressed in hex, separated by
dashes. Note that if a host provides a name, it will be used by preference to this, unless --dhcp-ignore-names is set.
(IPv4 only) When all the given tags appear in the tag set, always use broadcast to communicate with the host when it is unconfig-
ured. It is permissible to supply no tags, in which case this is unconditional. Most DHCP clients which need broadcast replies set a
flag in their requests so that this happens automatically, some old BOOTP clients do not.
-M, --dhcp-boot=[tag:<tag>,]<filename>,[<servername>[,<server address>|<tftp_servername>]]
(IPv4 only) Set BOOTP options to be returned by the DHCP server. Server name and address are optional: if not provided, the name is
left empty, and the address set to the address of the machine running dnsmasq. If dnsmasq is providing a TFTP service (see --enable-
tftp ) then only the filename is required here to enable network booting. If the optional tag(s) are given, they must match for
this configuration to be sent. Instead of an IP address, the TFTP server address can be given as a domain name which is looked up
in /etc/hosts. This name can be associated in /etc/hosts with multiple IP addresses, which are used round-robin. This facility can
be used to load balance the tftp load among a set of servers.
Dnsmasq is designed to choose IP addresses for DHCP clients using a hash of the client's MAC address. This normally allows a
client's address to remain stable long-term, even if the client sometimes allows its DHCP lease to expire. In this default mode IP
addresses are distributed pseudo-randomly over the entire available address range. There are sometimes circumstances (typically
server deployment) where it is more convenient to have IP addresses allocated sequentially, starting from the lowest available
address, and setting this flag enables this mode. Note that in the sequential mode, clients which allow a lease to expire are much
more likely to move IP address; for this reason it should not be generally used.
--pxe-service=[tag:<tag>,]<CSA>,<menu text>[,<basename>|<bootservicetype>][,<server address>|<server_name>]
Most uses of PXE boot-ROMS simply allow the PXE system to obtain an IP address and then download the file specified by dhcp-boot and
execute it. However the PXE system is capable of more complex functions when supported by a suitable DHCP server.
This specifies a boot option which may appear in a PXE boot menu. <CSA> is client system type, only services of the correct type
will appear in a menu. The known types are x86PC, PC98, IA64_EFI, Alpha, Arc_x86, Intel_Lean_Client, IA32_EFI, BC_EFI, Xscale_EFI
and X86-64_EFI; an integer may be used for other types. The parameter after the menu text may be a file name, in which case dnsmasq
acts as a boot server and directs the PXE client to download the file by TFTP, either from itself ( enable-tftp must be set for this
to work) or another TFTP server if the final server address/name is given. Note that the "layer" suffix (normally ".0") is supplied
by PXE, and should not be added to the basename. If an integer boot service type, rather than a basename is given, then the PXE
client will search for a suitable boot service for that type on the network. This search may be done by broadcast, or direct to a
server if its IP address/name is provided. If no boot service type or filename is provided (or a boot service type of 0 is speci-
fied) then the menu entry will abort the net boot procedure and continue booting from local media. The server address can be given
as a domain name which is looked up in /etc/hosts. This name can be associated in /etc/hosts with multiple IP addresses, which are
Setting this provides a prompt to be displayed after PXE boot. If the timeout is given then after the timeout has elapsed with no
keyboard input, the first available menu option will be automatically executed. If the timeout is zero then the first available menu
item will be executed immediately. If pxe-prompt is omitted the system will wait for user input if there are multiple items in the
menu, but boot immediately if there is only one. See pxe-service for details of menu items.
Dnsmasq supports PXE "proxy-DHCP", in this case another DHCP server on the network is responsible for allocating IP addresses, and
dnsmasq simply provides the information given in pxe-prompt and pxe-service to allow netbooting. This mode is enabled using the
proxy keyword in dhcp-range.
Limits dnsmasq to the specified maximum number of DHCP leases. The default is 1000. This limit is to prevent DoS attacks from hosts
which create thousands of leases and use lots of memory in the dnsmasq process.
Should be set when dnsmasq is definitely the only DHCP server on a network. For DHCPv4, it changes the behaviour from strict RFC
compliance so that DHCP requests on unknown leases from unknown hosts are not ignored. This allows new hosts to get a lease without
a tedious timeout under all circumstances. It also allows dnsmasq to rebuild its lease database without each client needing to reac-
quire a lease, if the database is lost. For DHCPv6 it sets the priority in replies to 255 (the maximum) instead of 0 (the minimum).
--dhcp-alternate-port[=<server port>[,<client port>]]
(IPv4 only) Change the ports used for DHCP from the default. If this option is given alone, without arguments, it changes the ports
used for DHCP from 67 and 68 to 1067 and 1068. If a single argument is given, that port number is used for the server and the port
number plus one used for the client. Finally, two port numbers allows arbitrary specification of both server and client ports for
(IPv4 only) Enable dynamic allocation of IP addresses to BOOTP clients. Use this with care, since each address allocated to a BOOTP
client is leased forever, and therefore becomes permanently unavailable for re-use by other hosts. if this is given without tags,
then it unconditionally enables dynamic allocation. With tags, only when the tags are all set. It may be repeated with different tag
(IPv4 only) By default, the DHCP server will attempt to ensure that an address in not in use before allocating it to a host. It does
this by sending an ICMP echo request (aka "ping") to the address in question. If it gets a reply, then the address must already be
in use, and another is tried. This flag disables this check. Use with caution.
Extra logging for DHCP: log all the options sent to DHCP clients and the tags used to determine them.
Use the specified file to store DHCP lease information.
(IPv6 only) Specify the server persistent UID which the DHCPv6 server will use. This option is not normally required as dnsmasq cre-
ates a DUID automatically when it is first needed. When given, this option provides dnsmasq the data required to create a DUID-EN
type DUID. Note that once set, the DUID is stored in the lease database, so to change between DUID-EN and automatically created
DUIDs or vice-versa, the lease database must be re-intialised. The enterprise-id is assigned by IANA, and the uid is a string of hex
octets unique to a particular device.
Whenever a new DHCP lease is created, or an old one destroyed, or a TFTP file transfer completes, the executable specified by this
option is run. <path> must be an absolute pathname, no PATH search occurs. The arguments to the process are "add", "old" or "del",
the MAC address of the host (or DUID for IPv6) , the IP address, and the hostname, if known. "add" means a lease has been created,
"del" means it has been destroyed, "old" is a notification of an existing lease when dnsmasq starts or a change to MAC address or
hostname of an existing lease (also, lease length or expiry and client-id, if leasefile-ro is set). If the MAC address is from a
network type other than ethernet, it will have the network type prepended, eg "06-01:23:45:67:89:ab" for token ring. The process is
run as root (assuming that dnsmasq was originally run as root) even if dnsmasq is configured to change UID to an unprivileged user.
The environment is inherited from the invoker of dnsmasq, with some or all of the following variables added
For both IPv4 and IPv6:
DNSMASQ_DOMAIN if the fully-qualified domain name of the host is known, this is set to the domain part. (Note that the hostname
passed to the script as an argument is never fully-qualified.)
If the client provides a hostname, DNSMASQ_SUPPLIED_HOSTNAME
If the client provides user-classes, DNSMASQ_USER_CLASS0..DNSMASQ_USER_CLASSn
If dnsmasq was compiled with HAVE_BROKEN_RTC, then the length of the lease (in seconds) is stored in DNSMASQ_LEASE_LENGTH, otherwise
the time of lease expiry is stored in DNSMASQ_LEASE_EXPIRES. The number of seconds until lease expiry is always stored in DNS-
If a lease used to have a hostname, which is removed, an "old" event is generated with the new state of the lease, ie no name, and
the former name is provided in the environment variable DNSMASQ_OLD_HOSTNAME.
DNSMASQ_INTERFACE stores the name of the interface on which the request arrived; this is not set for "old" actions when dnsmasq
DNSMASQ_RELAY_ADDRESS is set if the client used a DHCP relay to contact dnsmasq and the IP address of the relay is known.
DNSMASQ_TAGS contains all the tags set during the DHCP transaction, separated by spaces.
DNSMASQ_LOG_DHCP is set if --log-dhcp is in effect.
For IPv4 only:
DNSMASQ_CLIENT_ID if the host provided a client-id.
DNSMASQ_CIRCUIT_ID, DNSMASQ_SUBSCRIBER_ID, DNSMASQ_REMOTE_ID if a DHCP relay-agent added any of these options.
If the client provides vendor-class, DNSMASQ_VENDOR_CLASS.
For IPv6 only:
If the client provides vendor-class, DNSMASQ_VENDOR_CLASS_ID, containing the IANA enterprise id for the class, and DNSMASQ_VEN-
DOR_CLASS0..DNSMASQ_VENDOR_CLASSn for the data.
DNSMASQ_SERVER_DUID containing the DUID of the server: this is the same for every call to the script.
DNSMASQ_IAID containing the IAID for the lease. If the lease is a temporary allocation, this is prefixed to 'T'.
Note that the supplied hostname, vendorclass and userclass data is only supplied for "add" actions or "old" actions when a host
resumes an existing lease, since these data are not held in dnsmasq's lease database.
All file descriptors are closed except stdin, stdout and stderr which are open to /dev/null (except in debug mode).
The script is not invoked concurrently: at most one instance of the script is ever running (dnsmasq waits for an instance of script
to exit before running the next). Changes to the lease database are which require the script to be invoked are queued awaiting exit
of a running instance. If this queueing allows multiple state changes occur to a single lease before the script can be run then
earlier states are discarded and the current state of that lease is reflected when the script finally runs.
At dnsmasq startup, the script will be invoked for all existing leases as they are read from the lease file. Expired leases will be
called with "del" and others with "old". When dnsmasq receives a HUP signal, the script will be invoked for existing leases with an
"old " event.
There are two further actions which may appear as the first argument to the script, "init" and "tftp". More may be added in the
future, so scripts should be written to ignore unknown actions. "init" is described below in --leasefile-ro The "tftp" action is
invoked when a TFTP file transfer completes: the arguments are the file size in bytes, the address to which the file was sent, and
the complete pathname of the file.
Specify a script written in Lua, to be run when leases are created, destroyed or changed. To use this option, dnsmasq must be com-
piled with the correct support. The Lua interpreter is intialised once, when dnsmasq starts, so that global variables persist
between lease events. The Lua code must define a lease function, and may provide init and shutdown functions, which are called,
without arguments when dnsmasq starts up and terminates. It may also provide a tftp function.
The lease function receives the information detailed in --dhcp-script. It gets two arguments, firstly the action, which is a string
containing, "add", "old" or "del", and secondly a table of tag value pairs. The tags mostly correspond to the environment variables
detailed above, for instance the tag "domain" holds the same data as the environment variable DNSMASQ_DOMAIN. There are a few extra
tags which hold the data supplied as arguments to --dhcp-script. These are mac_address, ip_address and hostname for IPv4, and
client_duid, ip_address and hostname for IPv6.
The tftp function is called in the same way as the lease function, and the table holds the tags destination_address, file_name and
Specify the user as which to run the lease-change script or Lua script. This defaults to root, but can be changed to another user
using this flag.
Completely suppress use of the lease database file. The file will not be created, read, or written. Change the way the lease-change
script (if one is provided) is called, so that the lease database may be maintained in external storage by the script. In addition
to the invocations given in --dhcp-script the lease-change script is called once, at dnsmasq startup, with the single argument
"init". When called like this the script should write the saved state of the lease database, in dnsmasq leasefile format, to stdout
and exit with zero exit code. Setting this option also forces the leasechange script to be called on changes to the client-id and
lease length and expiry time.
Treat DHCP request packets arriving at any of the <alias> interfaces as if they had arrived at <interface>. This option is necessary
when using "old style" bridging on BSD platforms, since packets arrive at tap interfaces which don't have an IP address.
-s, --domain=<domain>[,<address range>[,local]]
Specifies DNS domains for the DHCP server. Domains may be be given unconditionally (without the IP range) or for limited IP ranges.
This has two effects; firstly it causes the DHCP server to return the domain to any hosts which request it, and secondly it sets the
domain which it is legal for DHCP-configured hosts to claim. The intention is to constrain hostnames so that an untrusted host on
the LAN cannot advertise its name via dhcp as e.g. "microsoft.com" and capture traffic not meant for it. If no domain suffix is
specified, then any DHCP hostname with a domain part (ie with a period) will be disallowed and logged. If suffix is specified, then
hostnames with a domain part are allowed, provided the domain part matches the suffix. In addition, when a suffix is set then host-
names without a domain part have the suffix added as an optional domain part. Eg on my network I can set --domain=thekelleys.org.uk
and have a machine whose DHCP hostname is "laptop". The IP address for that machine is available from dnsmasq both as "laptop" and
"laptop.thekelleys.org.uk". If the domain is given as "#" then the domain is read from the first "search" directive in
/etc/resolv.conf (or equivalent).
The address range can be of the form <ip address>,<ip address> or <ip address>/<netmask> or just a single <ip address>. See --dhcp-
fqdn which can change the behaviour of dnsmasq with domains.
If the address range is given as ip-address/network-size, then a additional flag "local" may be supplied which has the effect of
adding --local declarations for forward and reverse DNS queries. Eg. --domain=thekelleys.org.uk,192.168.0.0/24,local is identical
to --domain=thekelleys.org.uk,192.168.0.0/24 --local=/thekelleys.org.uk/ --local=/0.168.192.in-addr.arpa/ The network size must be
8, 16 or 24 for this to be legal.
In the default mode, dnsmasq inserts the unqualified names of DHCP clients into the DNS. For this reason, the names must be unique,
even if two clients which have the same name are in different domains. If a second DHCP client appears which has the same name as an
existing client, the name is transferred to the new client. If --dhcp-fqdn is set, this behaviour changes: the unqualified name is
no longer put in the DNS, only the qualified name. Two DHCP clients with the same name may both keep the name, provided that the
domain part is different (ie the fully qualified names differ.) To ensure that all names have a domain part, there must be at least
--domain without an address specified when --dhcp-fqdn is set.
Normally, when giving a DHCP lease, dnsmasq sets flags in the FQDN option to tell the client not to attempt a DDNS update with its
name and IP address. This is because the name-IP pair is automatically added into dnsmasq's DNS view. This flag suppresses that be-
haviour, this is useful, for instance, to allow Windows clients to update Active Directory servers. See RFC 4702 for details.
Enable dnsmasq's IPv6 Router Advertisement feature. DHCPv6 doesn't handle complete network configuration in the same way as DHCPv4.
Router discovery and (possibly) prefix discovery for autonomous address creation are handled by a different protocol. When DHCP is
in use, only a subset of this is needed, and dnsmasq can handle it, using existing DHCP configuration to provide most data. When RA
is enabled, dnsmasq will advertise a prefix for each dhcp-range, with default router and recursive DNS server as the relevant link-
local address on the machine running dnsmasq. By default, he "managed address" bits are set, and the "use SLAAC" bit is reset. This
can be changed for individual subnets with the mode keywords described in --dhcp-range. RFC6106 DNS parameters are included in the
advertisements. By default, the relevant link-local address of the machine running dnsmasq is sent as recursive DNS server. If pro-
vided, the DHCPv6 options dns-server and domain-search are used for RDNSS and DNSSL.
Enable the TFTP server function. This is deliberately limited to that needed to net-boot a client. Only reading is allowed; the
tsize and blksize extensions are supported (tsize is only supported in octet mode).
Look for files to transfer using TFTP relative to the given directory. When this is set, TFTP paths which include ".." are rejected,
to stop clients getting outside the specified root. Absolute paths (starting with /) are allowed, but they must be within the tftp-
root. If the optional interface argument is given, the directory is only used for TFTP requests via that interface.
Add the IP address of the TFTP client as a path component on the end of the TFTP-root (in standard dotted-quad format). Only valid
if a tftp-root is set and the directory exists. For instance, if tftp-root is "/tftp" and client 126.96.36.199 requests file "myfile" then
the effective path will be "/tftp/188.8.131.52/myfile" if /tftp/184.108.40.206 exists or /tftp/myfile otherwise.
Enable TFTP secure mode: without this, any file which is readable by the dnsmasq process under normal unix access-control rules is
available via TFTP. When the --tftp-secure flag is given, only files owned by the user running the dnsmasq process are accessible.
If dnsmasq is being run as root, different rules apply: --tftp-secure has no effect, but only files which have the world-readable
bit set are accessible. It is not recommended to run dnsmasq as root with TFTP enabled, and certainly not without specifying --tftp-
root. Doing so can expose any world-readable file on the server to any host on the net.
Convert filenames in TFTP requests to all lowercase. This is useful for requests from Windows machines, which have case-insensitive
filesystems and tend to play fast-and-loose with case in filenames. Note that dnsmasq's tftp server always converts "" to "/" in
Set the maximum number of concurrent TFTP connections allowed. This defaults to 50. When serving a large number of TFTP connections,
per-process file descriptor limits may be encountered. Dnsmasq needs one file descriptor for each concurrent TFTP connection and one
file descriptor per unique file (plus a few others). So serving the same file simultaneously to n clients will use require about n +
10 file descriptors, serving different files simultaneously to n clients will require about (2*n) + 10 descriptors. If --tftp-port-
range is given, that can affect the number of concurrent connections.
Stop the TFTP server from negotiating the "blocksize" option with a client. Some buggy clients request this option but then behave
badly when it is granted.
A TFTP server listens on a well-known port (69) for connection initiation, but it also uses a dynamically-allocated port for each
connection. Normally these are allocated by the OS, but this option specifies a range of ports for use by TFTP transfers. This can
be useful when TFTP has to traverse a firewall. The start of the range cannot be lower than 1025 unless dnsmasq is running as root.
The number of concurrent TFTP connections is limited by the size of the port range.
Specify a different configuration file. The conf-file option is also allowed in configuration files, to include multiple configura-
tion files. A filename of "-" causes dnsmasq to read configuration from stdin.
Read all the files in the given directory as configuration files. If extension(s) are given, any files which end in those extensions
are skipped. Any files whose names end in ~ or start with . or start and end with # are always skipped. This flag may be given on
the command line or in a configuration file.
At startup, dnsmasq reads /etc/dnsmasq.conf, if it exists. (On FreeBSD, the file is /usr/local/etc/dnsmasq.conf ) (but see the -C and -7
options.) The format of this file consists of one option per line, exactly as the long options detailed in the OPTIONS section but without
the leading "--". Lines starting with # are comments and ignored. For options which may only be specified once, the configuration file
overrides the command line. Quoting is allowed in a config file: between " quotes the special meanings of ,:. and # are removed and the
following escapes are allowed: \ " e
. The later corresponding to tab, escape, backspace, return and newline.
When it receives a SIGHUP, dnsmasq clears its cache and then re-loads /etc/hosts and /etc/ethers and any file given by --dhcp-hostsfile,
--dhcp-optsfile or --addn-hosts. The dhcp lease change script is called for all existing DHCP leases. If --no-poll is set SIGHUP also re-
reads /etc/resolv.conf. SIGHUP does NOT re-read the configuration file.
When it receives a SIGUSR1, dnsmasq writes statistics to the system log. It writes the cache size, the number of names which have had to
removed from the cache before they expired in order to make room for new names and the total number of names that have been inserted into
the cache. For each upstream server it gives the number of queries sent, and the number which resulted in an error. In --no-daemon mode or
when full logging is enabled (-q), a complete dump of the contents of the cache is made.
When it receives SIGUSR2 and it is logging direct to a file (see --log-facility ) dnsmasq will close and reopen the log file. Note that
during this operation, dnsmasq will not be running as root. When it first creates the logfile dnsmasq changes the ownership of the file to
the non-root user it will run as. Logrotate should be configured to create a new log file with the ownership which matches the existing one
before sending SIGUSR2. If TCP DNS queries are in progress, the old logfile will remain open in child processes which are handling TCP
queries and may continue to be written. There is a limit of 150 seconds, after which all existing TCP processes will have expired: for this
reason, it is not wise to configure logfile compression for logfiles which have just been rotated. Using logrotate, the required options
are create and delaycompress.
Dnsmasq is a DNS query forwarder: it it not capable of recursively answering arbitrary queries starting from the root servers but forwards
such queries to a fully recursive upstream DNS server which is typically provided by an ISP. By default, dnsmasq reads /etc/resolv.conf to
discover the IP addresses of the upstream nameservers it should use, since the information is typically stored there. Unless --no-poll is
used, dnsmasq checks the modification time of /etc/resolv.conf (or equivalent if --resolv-file is used) and re-reads it if it changes. This
allows the DNS servers to be set dynamically by PPP or DHCP since both protocols provide the information. Absence of /etc/resolv.conf is
not an error since it may not have been created before a PPP connection exists. Dnsmasq simply keeps checking in case /etc/resolv.conf is
created at any time. Dnsmasq can be told to parse more than one resolv.conf file. This is useful on a laptop, where both PPP and DHCP may
be used: dnsmasq can be set to poll both /etc/ppp/resolv.conf and /etc/dhcpc/resolv.conf and will use the contents of whichever changed
last, giving automatic switching between DNS servers.
Upstream servers may also be specified on the command line or in the configuration file. These server specifications optionally take a
domain name which tells dnsmasq to use that server only to find names in that particular domain.
In order to configure dnsmasq to act as cache for the host on which it is running, put "nameserver 127.0.0.1" in /etc/resolv.conf to force
local processes to send queries to dnsmasq. Then either specify the upstream servers directly to dnsmasq using --server options or put
their addresses real in another file, say /etc/resolv.dnsmasq and run dnsmasq with the -r /etc/resolv.dnsmasq option. This second technique
allows for dynamic update of the server addresses by PPP or DHCP.
Addresses in /etc/hosts will "shadow" different addresses for the same names in the upstream DNS, so "mycompany.com 220.127.116.11" in /etc/hosts
will ensure that queries for "mycompany.com" always return 18.104.22.168 even if queries in the upstream DNS would otherwise return a different
address. There is one exception to this: if the upstream DNS contains a CNAME which points to a shadowed name, then looking up the CNAME
through dnsmasq will result in the unshadowed address associated with the target of the CNAME. To work around this, add the CNAME to
/etc/hosts so that the CNAME is shadowed too.
The tag system works as follows: For each DHCP request, dnsmasq collects a set of valid tags from active configuration lines which include
set:<tag>, including one from the dhcp-range used to allocate the address, one from any matching dhcp-host (and "known" if a dhcp-host
matches) The tag "bootp" is set for BOOTP requests, and a tag whose name is the name of the interface on which the request arrived is also
Any configuration lines which include one or more tag:<tag> constructs will only be valid if all that tags are matched in the set derived
above. Typically this is dhcp-option. dhcp-option which has tags will be used in preference to an untagged dhcp-option, provided that
_all_ the tags match somewhere in the set collected as described above. The prefix '!' on a tag means 'not' so --dhcp=option=tag:!pur-
ple,3,22.214.171.124 sends the option when the tag purple is not in the set of valid tags. (If using this in a command line rather than a configu-
ration file, be sure to escape !, which is a shell metacharacter)
When selecting dhcp-options, a tag from dhcp-range is second class relative to other tags, to make it easy to override options for individ-
ual hosts, so dhcp-range=set:interface1,...... dhcp-host=set:myhost,..... dhcp-option=tag:interface1,option:nis-domain,"domain1" dhcp-
option=tag:myhost,option:nis-domain,"domain2" will set the NIS-domain to domain1 for hosts in the range, but override that to domain2 for a
Note that for dhcp-range both tag:<tag> and set:<tag> are allowed, to both select the range in use based on (eg) dhcp-host, and to affect
the options sent, based on the range selected.
This system evolved from an earlier, more limited one and for backward compatibility "net:" may be used instead of "tag:" and "set:" may be
omitted. (Except in dhcp-host, where "net:" may be used instead of "set:".) For the same reason, '#' may be used instead of '!' to indicate
The DHCP server in dnsmasq will function as a BOOTP server also, provided that the MAC address and IP address for clients are given, either
using dhcp-host configurations or in /etc/ethers , and a dhcp-range configuration option is present to activate the DHCP server on a par-
ticular network. (Setting --bootp-dynamic removes the need for static address mappings.) The filename parameter in a BOOTP request is used
as a tag, as is the tag "bootp", allowing some control over the options returned to different classes of hosts.
Configuring dnsmasq to act as an authoritative DNS server is complicated by the fact that it involves configuration of external DNS servers
to provide delegation. We will walk through three scenarios of increasing complexity. Prerequisites for all of these scenarios are a glob-
ally accessible IP address, an A or AAAA record pointing to that address, and an external DNS server capable of doing delegation of the
zone in question. For the first part of this explanation, we will call the A (or AAAA) record for the globally accessible address
server.example.com, and the zone for which dnsmasq is authoritative our.zone.com.
The simplest configuration consists of two lines of dnsmasq configuration; something like
and two records in the external DNS
server.example.com A 126.96.36.199
our.zone.com NS server.example.com
eth0 is the external network interface on which dnsmasq is listening, and has (globally accessible) address 188.8.131.52.
Note that the external IP address may well be dynamic (ie assigned from an ISP by DHCP or PPP) If so, the A record must be linked to this
dynamic assignment by one of the usual dynamic-DNS systems.
A more complex, but practically useful configuration has the address record for the globally accessible IP address residing in the authori-
tative zone which dnsmasq is serving, typically at the root. Now we have
our.zone.com A 184.108.40.206
our.zone.com NS our.zone.com
The A record for our.zone.com has now become a glue record, it solves the chicken-and-egg problem of finding the IP address of the name-
server for our.zone.com when the A record is within that zone. Note that this is the only role of this record: as dnsmasq is now authorita-
tive from our.zone.com it too must provide this record. If the external address is static, this can be done with an /etc/hosts entry or
If the external address is dynamic, the address associated with our.zone.com must be derived from the address of the relevant interface.
This is done using interface-name Something like:
Our final configuration builds on that above, but also adds a secondary DNS server. This is another DNS server which learns the DNS data
for the zone by doing zones transfer, and acts as a backup should the primary server become inaccessible. The configuration of the sec-
ondary is beyond the scope of this man-page, but the extra configuration of dnsmasq is simple:
our.zone.com NS secondary.myisp.com
Adding auth-sec-servers enables zone transfer in dnsmasq, to allow the secondary to collect the DNS data. If you wish to restrict this data
to particular hosts then
auth-peer=<IP address of secondary>
will do so.
Dnsmasq acts as an authoritative server for in-addr.arpa and ipv6.arpa domains associated with the subnets given in auth-zone declara-
tions, so reverse (address to name) lookups can be simply configured with a suitable NS record, for instance in this example, where we
allow 220.127.116.11/24 addresses.
3.2.1.in-addr.arpa NS our.zone.com
Note that at present, reverse (in-addr.arpa and ip6.arpa) zones are not available in zone transfers, so there is no point arranging sec-
ondary servers for reverse lookups.
When dnsmasq is configured to act as an authoritative server, the following data is used to populate the authoritative zone.
--mx-host, --srv-host, --dns-rr, --txt-record, --naptr-record , as long as the record names are in the authoritative domain.
--cname as long as the record name is in the authoritative domain. If the target of the CNAME is unqualified, then it is qualified with
the authoritative zone name.
IPv4 and IPv6 addresses from /etc/hosts (and --addn-hosts ) and --host-record provided the address falls into one of the subnets specified
in the --auth-zone.
Addresses specified by --interface-name. In this case, the address is not contrained to a subnet from --auth-zone.
Addresses of DHCP leases, provided the address falls into one of the subnets specified in the --auth-zone OR a constructed DHCP range. In
the default mode, where a DHCP lease has an unqualified name, and possibly a qualified name constructed using --domain then the name in the
authoritative zone is constructed from the unqualified name and the zone's domain. This may or may not equal that specified by --domain.
If --dhcp-fqdn is set, then the fully qualified names associated with DHCP leases are used, and must match the zone's domain.
0 - Dnsmasq successfully forked into the background, or terminated normally if backgrounding is not enabled.
1 - A problem with configuration was detected.
2 - A problem with network access occurred (address in use, attempt to use privileged ports without permission).
3 - A problem occurred with a filesystem operation (missing file/directory, permissions).
4 - Memory allocation failure.
5 - Other miscellaneous problem.
11 or greater - a non zero return code was received from the lease-script process "init" call. The exit code from dnsmasq is the script's
exit code with 10 added.
The default values for resource limits in dnsmasq are generally conservative, and appropriate for embedded router type devices with slow
processors and limited memory. On more capable hardware, it is possible to increase the limits, and handle many more clients. The following
applies to dnsmasq-2.37: earlier versions did not scale as well.
Dnsmasq is capable of handling DNS and DHCP for at least a thousand clients. The DHCP lease times should not be very short (less than one
hour). The value of --dns-forward-max can be increased: start with it equal to the number of clients and increase if DNS seems slow. Note
that DNS performance depends too on the performance of the upstream nameservers. The size of the DNS cache may be increased: the hard limit
is 10000 names and the default (150) is very low. Sending SIGUSR1 to dnsmasq makes it log information which is useful for tuning the cache
size. See the NOTES section for details.
The built-in TFTP server is capable of many simultaneous file transfers: the absolute limit is related to the number of file-handles
allowed to a process and the ability of the select() system call to cope with large numbers of file handles. If the limit is set too high
using --tftp-max it will be scaled down and the actual limit logged at start-up. Note that more transfers are possible when the same file
is being sent than when each transfer sends a different file.
It is possible to use dnsmasq to block Web advertising by using a list of known banner-ad servers, all resolving to 127.0.0.1 or 0.0.0.0,
in /etc/hosts or an additional hosts file. The list can be very long, dnsmasq has been tested successfully with one million names. That
size file needs a 1GHz processor and about 60Mb of RAM.
Dnsmasq can be compiled to support internationalisation. To do this, the make targets "all-i18n" and "install-i18n" should be used instead
of the standard targets "all" and "install". When internationalisation is compiled in, dnsmasq will produce log messages in the local lan-
guage and support internationalised domain names (IDN). Domain names in /etc/hosts, /etc/ethers and /etc/dnsmasq.conf which contain non-
ASCII characters will be translated to the DNS-internal punycode representation. Note that dnsmasq determines both the language for mes-
sages and the assumed charset for configuration files from the LANG environment variable. This should be set to the system default value by
the script which is responsible for starting dnsmasq. When editing the configuration files, be careful to do so using only the system-
default locale and not user-specific one, since dnsmasq has no direct way of determining the charset in use, and must assume that it is the
/etc/resolv.conf /var/run/dnsmasq/resolv.conf /etc/ppp/resolv.conf /etc/dhcpc/resolv.conf
This manual page was written by Simon Kelley <email@example.com>.