20.4. The Configuration File /etc/named.conf

All the settings for the BIND name server itself are stored in the file /etc/named.conf. However, the zone data for the domains to handle, consisting of the hostnames, IP addresses, and so on, are stored in separate files in the /var/lib/named directory. The details of this are described later.

/etc/named.conf is roughly divided into two areas. One is the options section for general settings and the other consists of zone entries for the individual domains. A logging section and acl (access control list) entries are optional. Comment lines begin with a # sign or //. A minimal /etc/named.conf is shown in Example 20.2, “A Basic /etc/named.conf”.

Example 20.2. A Basic /etc/named.conf

options { 
        directory "/var/lib/named"; 
        forwarders {; };
        notify no;

zone "localhost" in {
       type master;
       file "localhost.zone";

zone "0.0.127.in-addr.arpa" in {
        type master;
        file "127.0.0.zone";

zone "." in {
        type hint;
        file "root.hint";

20.4.1. Important Configuration Options

directory "filename";

Specifies the directory in which BIND can find the files containing the zone data. Usually, this is /var/lib/named.

forwarders { ip-address; };

Specifies the name servers (mostly of the provider) to which DNS requests should be forwarded if they cannot be resolved directly. Replace ip-address with an IP address like

forward first;

Causes DNS requests to be forwarded before an attempt is made to resolve them via the root name servers. Instead of forward first, forward only can be written to have all requests forwarded and none sent to the root name servers. This makes sense for firewall configurations.

listen-on port 53 {; ip-address; };

Tells BIND on which network interfaces and port to accept client queries. port 53 does not need to be specified explicitly, because 53 is the default port. Enter to permit requests from the local host. If you omit this entry entirely, all interfaces are used by default.

listen-on-v6 port 53 {any; };

Tells BIND on which port it should listen for IPv6 client requests. The only alternative to any is none. As far as IPv6 is concerned, the server only accepts a wild card address.

query-source address * port 53;

This entry is necessary if a firewall is blocking outgoing DNS requests. This tells BIND to post requests externally from port 53 and not from any of the high ports above 1024.

query-source-v6 address * port 53;

Tells BIND which port to use for IPv6 queries.

allow-query {; net; };

Defines the networks from which clients can post DNS requests. Replace net with address information like 192.168.1/24. The /24 at the end is an abbreviated expression for the netmask, in this case,

allow-transfer ! *;;

Controls which hosts can request zone transfers. In the example, such requests are completely denied with ! *. Without this entry, zone transfers can be requested from anywhere without restrictions.

statistics-interval 0;

In the absence of this entry, BIND generates several lines of statistical information per hour in /var/log/messages. Set it to 0 to suppress these statistics completely or set an interval in minutes.

cleaning-interval 720;

This option defines at which time intervals BIND clears its cache. This triggers an entry in /var/log/messages each time it occurs. The time specification is in minutes. The default is 60 minutes.

interface-interval 0;

BIND regularly searches the network interfaces for new or nonexisting interfaces. If this value is set to 0, this is not done and BIND only listens at the interfaces detected at start-up. Otherwise, the interval can be defined in minutes. The default is sixty minutes.

notify no;

no prevents other name servers from being informed when changes are made to the zone data or when the name server is restarted.

20.4.2. Logging

What, how, and where logging takes place can be extensively configured in BIND. Normally, the default settings should be sufficient. Example 20.3, “Entry to Disable Logging” shows the simplest form of such an entry and completely suppresses any logging.

Example 20.3. Entry to Disable Logging

logging {
        category default { null; };

20.4.3. Zone Entries

Example 20.4. Zone Entry for my-domain.de

zone "my-domain.de" in {
      type master;
      file "my-domain.zone";
      notify no;

After zone, specify the name of the domain to administer (my-domain.de) followed by in and a block of relevant options enclosed in curly braces, as shown in Example 20.4, “Zone Entry for my-domain.de”. To define a slave zone, switch the type to slave and specify a name server that administers this zone as master (which, in turn, may be a slave of another master), as shown in Example 20.5, “Zone Entry for other-domain.de”.

Example 20.5. Zone Entry for other-domain.de

zone "other-domain.de" in {
      type slave;
      file "slave/other-domain.zone";
      masters {; }; 

The zone options:

type master;

By specifying master, tell BIND that the zone is handled by the local name server. This assumes that a zone file has been created in the correct format.

type slave;

This zone is transferred from another name server. It must be used together with masters.

type hint;

The zone . of the hint type is used to set the root name servers. This zone definition can be left as is.

file my-domain.zone or file “slave/other-domain.zone”;

This entry specifies the file where zone data for the domain is located. This file is not required for a slave, because this data is fetched from another name server. To differentiate master and slave files, use the directory slave for the slave files.

masters { server-ip-address; };

This entry is only needed for slave zones. It specifies from which name server the zone file should be transferred.

allow-update {! *; };

This option controls external write access, which would allow clients to make a DNS entry—something not normally desirable for security reasons. Without this entry, zone updates are not allowed at all. The above entry achieves the same because ! * effectively bans any such activity.