Setup a Basic Recursive Caching DNS Server and Configure Zones for Domain

Testing the DNS Server

At this point we are ready to query our DNS server for local and outside names and addresses. The following commands will return the IP address associated with the host web1:

# host
# host web1
# host www.web1
Query DNS on Domain Host

Query DNS on Domain Host

How can we find out who is handling emails for It’s easy to find out – just query the MX records for the domain:

# host -t mx
Query MX Record Of Domain

Query MX Record Of Domain

Likewise, let’s perform a reverse query. This will help us find out the name behind an IP address:

# host
# host
DNS Reverse Query on IP Address

DNS Reverse Query on IP Address

You can try the same operations for outside hosts:

# host -t mx
# host
Check Domain DNS Information

Check Domain DNS Information

To verify that queries are indeed going through our DNS server, let’s enable logging:

# rndc querylog

And check the /var/log/messages file (in CentOS and openSUSE):

# host -t mx
# host
Verify DNS Queries in Log

Verify DNS Queries in Log

To disable DNS logging, type again:

# rndc querylog

In Ubuntu, enabling logging will require adding the following independent block (same level as the options block) to /etc/bind/named.conf:

logging {
	channel query_log {
    	file "/var/log/bind9/query.log";
    	severity dynamic;
    	print-category yes;
    	print-severity yes;
    	print-time yes;
	category queries { query_log; };  

Note that the log file must exist and be writable by named.


In this article we have explained how to set up a basic recursive, caching DNS server and how to configure zones for a domain.

The mystery of name to IP resolution (and vice versa) is not such anymore! To ensure the proper operation of your DNS server, don’t forget to allow the service in your firewall (port TCP 53) as explained in Part 8 of the LFCE series (“Setup an Iptables Firewall to Enable Remote Access to Services“) and other articles in this same site such as Firewall Essentials and Network Traffic Control Using FirewallD and Iptables.

We hope you have found this article helpful – don’t hesitate to let us know if you have questions or comments. We always enjoy hearing from our readers!

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Gabriel Cánepa

Gabriel Cánepa is a GNU/Linux sysadmin and web developer from Villa Mercedes, San Luis, Argentina. He works for a worldwide leading consumer product company and takes great pleasure in using FOSS tools to increase productivity in all areas of his daily work.

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3 Responses

  1. Radek says:

    Hello Mr Canepa,

    First of all I would like to thank you for a very good articles in order to help me to prepare for LFCS. I studied all of them very carefully, but unfortunately I was stuck at the DNS.

    It is about 3th part of this chapter. I don’t know if files /var/named/ and /var/named/ should be appeared automatically or should I append them on my own?

    There are differences between CentOS and Ubuntu because of location of these files – in Ubuntu these files supposed to be in /var/cache/bind…
    I will be thankful for your support.

    • Radek Drajerczak says:

      Hello again,

      I would like to inform that all questions mentioned above I solved. I just created require zone-files in /etc/bind/.

      Unfortunately I met another issue and I tried to handled with that all the day – without result. When I try to check the answer with host command I received always the same error: “Host ….. not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)“.

      The zone files and option files are done correctly without any errors.

      Could someone help me with that and point me where I should looking for a mistake..? Many thanks in advance.


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