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Package dns implements a full featured interface to the Domain Name System.
Both server- and client-side programming is supported. The package allows
complete control over what is sent out to the DNS. The API follows the
less-is-more principle, by presenting a small, clean interface.
It supports (asynchronous) querying/replying, incoming/outgoing zone transfers,
TSIG, EDNS0, dynamic updates, notifies and DNSSEC validation/signing.
Note that domain names MUST be fully qualified before sending them, unqualified
names in a message will result in a packing failure.
Resource records are native types. They are not stored in wire format. Basic
usage pattern for creating a new resource record:
r := new(dns.MX)
r.Hdr = dns.RR_Header{Name: "", Rrtype: dns.TypeMX, Class: dns.ClassINET, Ttl: 3600}
r.Preference = 10
r.Mx = ""
Or directly from a string:
mx, err := dns.NewRR(" 3600 IN MX 10")
Or when the default origin (.) and TTL (3600) and class (IN) suit you:
mx, err := dns.NewRR(" MX 10")
Or even:
mx, err := dns.NewRR("$ORIGIN nl.\nmiek 1H IN MX 10 mx.miek")
In the DNS messages are exchanged, these messages contain resource records
(sets). Use pattern for creating a message:
m := new(dns.Msg)
m.SetQuestion("", dns.TypeMX)
Or when not certain if the domain name is fully qualified:
m.SetQuestion(dns.Fqdn(""), dns.TypeMX)
The message m is now a message with the question section set to ask the MX
records for the zone.
The following is slightly more verbose, but more flexible:
m1 := new(dns.Msg)
m1.Id = dns.Id()
m1.RecursionDesired = true
m1.Question = make([]dns.Question, 1)
m1.Question[0] = dns.Question{"", dns.TypeMX, dns.ClassINET}
After creating a message it can be sent. Basic use pattern for synchronous
querying the DNS at a server configured on and port 53:
c := new(dns.Client)
in, rtt, err := c.Exchange(m1, "")
Suppressing multiple outstanding queries (with the same question, type and
class) is as easy as setting:
c.SingleInflight = true
More advanced options are available using a net.Dialer and the corresponding API.
For example it is possible to set a timeout, or to specify a source IP address
and port to use for the connection:
c := new(dns.Client)
laddr := net.UDPAddr{
IP: net.ParseIP("[::1]"),
Port: 12345,
Zone: "",
c.Dialer := &net.Dialer{
Timeout: 200 * time.Millisecond,
LocalAddr: &laddr,
in, rtt, err := c.Exchange(m1, "")
If these "advanced" features are not needed, a simple UDP query can be sent,
in, err := dns.Exchange(m1, "")
When this functions returns you will get DNS message. A DNS message consists
out of four sections.
The question section: in.Question, the answer section: in.Answer,
the authority section: in.Ns and the additional section: in.Extra.
Each of these sections (except the Question section) contain a []RR. Basic
use pattern for accessing the rdata of a TXT RR as the first RR in
the Answer section:
if t, ok := in.Answer[0].(*dns.TXT); ok {
// do something with t.Txt
Domain Name and TXT Character String Representations
Both domain names and TXT character strings are converted to presentation form
both when unpacked and when converted to strings.
For TXT character strings, tabs, carriage returns and line feeds will be
converted to \t, \r and \n respectively. Back slashes and quotations marks will
be escaped. Bytes below 32 and above 127 will be converted to \DDD form.
For domain names, in addition to the above rules brackets, periods, spaces,
semicolons and the at symbol are escaped.
DNSSEC (DNS Security Extension) adds a layer of security to the DNS. It uses
public key cryptography to sign resource records. The public keys are stored in
DNSKEY records and the signatures in RRSIG records.
Requesting DNSSEC information for a zone is done by adding the DO (DNSSEC OK)
bit to a request.
m := new(dns.Msg)
m.SetEdns0(4096, true)
Signature generation, signature verification and key generation are all supported.
Dynamic updates reuses the DNS message format, but renames three of the
sections. Question is Zone, Answer is Prerequisite, Authority is Update, only
the Additional is not renamed. See RFC 2136 for the gory details.
You can set a rather complex set of rules for the existence of absence of
certain resource records or names in a zone to specify if resource records
should be added or removed. The table from RFC 2136 supplemented with the Go
DNS function shows which functions exist to specify the prerequisites.
3.2.4 - Table Of Metavalues Used In Prerequisite Section
CLASS TYPE RDATA Meaning Function
ANY ANY empty Name is in use dns.NameUsed
ANY rrset empty RRset exists (value indep) dns.RRsetUsed
NONE ANY empty Name is not in use dns.NameNotUsed
NONE rrset empty RRset does not exist dns.RRsetNotUsed
zone rrset rr RRset exists (value dep) dns.Used
The prerequisite section can also be left empty. If you have decided on the
prerequisites you can tell what RRs should be added or deleted. The next table
shows the options you have and what functions to call. - Table Of Metavalues Used In Update Section
CLASS TYPE RDATA Meaning Function
ANY ANY empty Delete all RRsets from name dns.RemoveName
ANY rrset empty Delete an RRset dns.RemoveRRset
NONE rrset rr Delete an RR from RRset dns.Remove
zone rrset rr Add to an RRset dns.Insert
An TSIG or transaction signature adds a HMAC TSIG record to each message sent.
The supported algorithms include: HmacMD5, HmacSHA1, HmacSHA256 and HmacSHA512.
Basic use pattern when querying with a TSIG name "axfr." (note that these key names
must be fully qualified - as they are domain names) and the base64 secret
If an incoming message contains a TSIG record it MUST be the last record in
the additional section (RFC2845 3.2). This means that you should make the
call to SetTsig last, right before executing the query. If you make any
changes to the RRset after calling SetTsig() the signature will be incorrect.
c := new(dns.Client)
c.TsigSecret = map[string]string{"axfr.": "so6ZGir4GPAqINNh9U5c3A=="}
m := new(dns.Msg)
m.SetQuestion("", dns.TypeMX)
m.SetTsig("axfr.", dns.HmacMD5, 300, time.Now().Unix())
// When sending the TSIG RR is calculated and filled in before sending
When requesting an zone transfer (almost all TSIG usage is when requesting zone
transfers), with TSIG, this is the basic use pattern. In this example we
request an AXFR for with TSIG key named "axfr." and secret
"so6ZGir4GPAqINNh9U5c3A==" and using the server
t := new(dns.Transfer)
m := new(dns.Msg)
t.TsigSecret = map[string]string{"axfr.": "so6ZGir4GPAqINNh9U5c3A=="}
m.SetTsig("axfr.", dns.HmacMD5, 300, time.Now().Unix())
c, err := t.In(m, "")
for r := range c { ... }
You can now read the records from the transfer as they come in. Each envelope
is checked with TSIG. If something is not correct an error is returned.
Basic use pattern validating and replying to a message that has TSIG set.
server := &dns.Server{Addr: ":53", Net: "udp"}
server.TsigSecret = map[string]string{"axfr.": "so6ZGir4GPAqINNh9U5c3A=="}
go server.ListenAndServe()
dns.HandleFunc(".", handleRequest)
func handleRequest(w dns.ResponseWriter, r *dns.Msg) {
m := new(dns.Msg)
if r.IsTsig() != nil {
if w.TsigStatus() == nil {
// *Msg r has an TSIG record and it was validated
m.SetTsig("axfr.", dns.HmacMD5, 300, time.Now().Unix())
} else {
// *Msg r has an TSIG records and it was not valided
RFC 6895 sets aside a range of type codes for private use. This range is 65,280
- 65,534 (0xFF00 - 0xFFFE). When experimenting with new Resource Records these
can be used, before requesting an official type code from IANA.
See for more
EDNS0 is an extension mechanism for the DNS defined in RFC 2671 and updated by
RFC 6891. It defines an new RR type, the OPT RR, which is then completely
Basic use pattern for creating an (empty) OPT RR:
o := new(dns.OPT)
o.Hdr.Name = "." // MUST be the root zone, per definition.
o.Hdr.Rrtype = dns.TypeOPT
The rdata of an OPT RR consists out of a slice of EDNS0 (RFC 6891) interfaces.
Currently only a few have been standardized: EDNS0_NSID (RFC 5001) and
EDNS0_SUBNET (RFC 7871). Note that these options may be combined in an OPT RR.
Basic use pattern for a server to check if (and which) options are set:
// o is a dns.OPT
for _, s := range o.Option {
switch e := s.(type) {
case *dns.EDNS0_NSID:
// do stuff with e.Nsid
case *dns.EDNS0_SUBNET:
// access e.Family, e.Address, etc.
From RFC 2931:
SIG(0) provides protection for DNS transactions and requests ....
... protection for glue records, DNS requests, protection for message headers
on requests and responses, and protection of the overall integrity of a response.
It works like TSIG, except that SIG(0) uses public key cryptography, instead of
the shared secret approach in TSIG. Supported algorithms: DSA, ECDSAP256SHA256,
Signing subsequent messages in multi-message sessions is not implemented.
package dns
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