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 configuration 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
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 considered. If no domain entry is
present, the domain is determined from the local hostname returned by gethost-
name(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 assumed.
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 sep-
arated 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 ele-
ments are appended to it. The value for this option is silently capped to
sets the amount of time the resolver will wait for a response from a remote
name server before retrying the query via a different 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 name-
servers 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 every time.
sets RES_NOCHECKNAME in _res.options, which disables the modern BIND check-
ing 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 exten-
sions 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 hard-
ware 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 send-
ing the second request.
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
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
gethostbyname(3), resolver(3), hostname(7), named(8)
Name Server Operations Guide for BIND
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4th Berkeley Distribution 2013-07-31 RESOLV.CONF(5)