dnsmasq

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dnsmasq provides a DNS server, a DHCP server with support for DHCPv6 and PXE, and a TFTP server. It is designed to be lightweight and have a small footprint, suitable for resource constrained routers and firewalls. dnsmasq can also be configured to cache DNS queries for improved DNS lookup speeds to previously visited sites.

Installation

Install the dnsmasq package.

Start the daemon

Start/enable dnsmasq.service.

To see if dnsmasq started properly, check the system's journal:

$ journalctl -u dnsmasq.service

The network will also need to be restarted so the DHCP client can create a new /etc/resolv.conf.

Configuration

To configure dnsmasq, you need to edit /etc/dnsmasq.conf. The file contains extensive comments explaining its options. For all available options see dnsmasq(8).

Warning: dnsmasq by default enables its DNS server. If you do not require it, you need to explicitly disable it by setting DNS port to 0:
port=0
Tip: To check configuration file(s) syntax, execute:
$ dnsmasq --test

DNS server

To set up dnsmasq as a DNS caching daemon on a single computer specify a listen-address directive, adding in the localhost IP address:

listen-address=::1,127.0.0.1

To use this computer to listen on its LAN IP address for other computers on the network. It is recommended that you use a static LAN IP in this case. E.g.:

listen-address=::1,127.0.0.1,192.168.1.1

Set the number of cached domain names with cache-size=size (the default is 150):

cache-size=1000

To validate DNSSEC load the DNSSEC trust anchors provided by the dnsmasq package and set the option dnssec:

conf-file=/usr/share/dnsmasq/trust-anchors.conf
dnssec

See dnsmasq(8) for more options you might want to use.

DNS addresses file and forwarding

After configuring dnsmasq, you need to add the localhost addresses as the only nameservers in /etc/resolv.conf. This causes all queries to be sent to dnsmasq.

Since dnsmasq is not a recursive DNS server you must set up forwarding to an external DNS server. This can be done automatically by using openresolv or by manually specifying the DNS server address in dnsmasq's configuration.

openresolv

If your network manager supports resolvconf, instead of directly altering /etc/resolv.conf, you can use openresolv to generate configuration files for dnsmasq. [1]

Edit /etc/resolvconf.conf and add the loopback addresses as name servers, and configure openresolv to write out dnsmasq configuration:

/etc/resolvconf.conf
# Use the local name server
name_servers="::1 127.0.0.1"

# Write out dnsmasq extended configuration and resolv files
dnsmasq_conf=/etc/dnsmasq-openresolv.conf
dnsmasq_resolv=/etc/dnsmasq-resolv.conf

Run resolvconf -u so that the configuration files get created. If the files do not exist dnsmasq.service will fail to start.

Edit dnsmasq's configuration file to use openresolv's generated configuration:

# Read configuration generated by openresolv
conf-file=/etc/dnsmasq-openresolv.conf
resolv-file=/etc/dnsmasq-resolv.conf
Manual forwarding

First you must set localhost addresses as the only nameservers in /etc/resolv.conf:

/etc/resolv.conf
nameserver ::1
nameserver 127.0.0.1

See Domain name resolution#Overwriting of /etc/resolv.conf on how to protect /etc/resolv.conf from modification.

The upstream DNS server addresses must then be specified in dnsmasq's configuration file as server=server_address. Also add no-resolv so dnsmasq does not needlessly read /etc/resolv.conf which only contains the localhost addresses of itself.

no-resolv

# Google's nameservers, for example
server=8.8.8.8
server=8.8.4.4

Now DNS queries will be resolved with dnsmasq, only checking external servers if it cannot answer the query from its cache.

Adding a custom domain

It is possible to add a custom domain to hosts in your (local) network:

local=/lan/
domain=lan

In this example it is possible to ping a host/device (e.g. defined in your /etc/hosts file) as hostname.lan.

Uncomment expand-hosts to add the custom domain to hosts entries:

expand-hosts

Without this setting, you will have to add the domain to entries of /etc/hosts.

Test

To do a lookup speed test choose a website that has not been visited since dnsmasq has been started (drill is part of the ldns package):

$ drill archlinux.org | grep "Query time"

Running the command again will use the cached DNS IP and result in a faster lookup time if dnsmasq is setup correctly:

$ drill archlinux.org | grep "Query time"
;; Query time: 18 msec
$ drill archlinux.org | grep "Query time"
;; Query time: 2 msec

To test if DNSSEC validation is working see DNSSEC#Testing.

DHCP server

Tango-view-fullscreen.pngThis article or section needs expansion.Tango-view-fullscreen.png

Reason: Add instructions for IPv6 and router advertisement. (Discuss in Talk:Dnsmasq#)

By default dnsmasq has the DHCP functionality turned off, if you want to use it you must turn it on. Here are the important settings:

# Only listen to routers' LAN NIC.  Doing so opens up tcp/udp port 53 to
# localhost and udp port 67 to world:
interface=<LAN-NIC>

# dnsmasq will open tcp/udp port 53 and udp port 67 to world to help with
# dynamic interfaces (assigning dynamic ips). Dnsmasq will discard world
# requests to them, but the paranoid might like to close them and let the 
# kernel handle them:
bind-interfaces

# Optionally set a domain name
domain=example.com

# Set default gateway
dhcp-option=3,0.0.0.0

# Set DNS servers to announce
dhcp-option=6,0.0.0.0

# Dynamic range of IPs to make available to LAN PC and the lease time. 
# Ideally set the lease time to 5m only at first to test everything works okay before you set long-lasting records.
dhcp-range=192.168.111.50,192.168.111.100,12h

# If you’d like to have dnsmasq assign static IPs to some clients, bind the LAN computers
# NIC MAC addresses:
dhcp-host=aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff,192.168.111.50
dhcp-host=aa:bb:cc:ff:dd:ee,192.168.111.51

See dnsmasq(8) for more options.

Test

From a computer that is connected to the one with dnsmasq on it, configure it to use DHCP for automatic IP address assignment, then attempt to log into the network normally.

If you inspect the /var/lib/misc/dnsmasq.leases file on the server, you should be able to see the lease.

TFTP server

dnsmasq has built-in TFTP server.

To use it, create a directory for TFTP root (e.g. /srv/tftp) to put transferable files in.

For increased security it is advised to use dnsmasq's TFTP secure mode. In secure mode only files owned by the dnsmasq user will be served over TFTP. You will need to chown TFTP root and all files in it to dnsmasq user to use this feature.

Enable TFTP:

enable-tftp
tftp-root=/srv/tftp
tftp-secure

See dnsmasq(8) for more options.

PXE server

PXE requires DHCP and TFTP servers, both functions can be provided by dnsmasq.

Tip: dnsmasq can run in "proxy-DHCP" mode and add PXE booting options to a network with an already running DHCP server:
interface=enp0s0
bind-dynamic
dhcp-range=192.168.0.1,proxy
  1. set up #TFTP server and #DHCP server
  2. copy and configure a PXE compatible bootloader (e.g. PXELINUX) on TFTP root
  3. enable PXE in /etc/dnsmasq.conf:
Note:
  • file paths are relative to TFTP root
  • if the file has a .0 suffix, you must exclude the suffix in pxe-service options

To simply send one file:

dhcp-boot=lpxelinux.0

To send a file depending on client architecture:

pxe-service=x86PC, "PXELINUX (BIOS)", "bios/lpxelinux"
pxe-service=X86-64_EFI, "PXELINUX (EFI)", "efi64/syslinux.efi"
Note: In case pxe-service does not work (especially for UEFI-based clients), combination of dhcp-match and dhcp-boot can be used. See RFC4578 for more client-arch numbers for use with dhcp boot protocol.
dhcp-match=set:efi-x86_64,option:client-arch,7
dhcp-match=set:efi-x86_64,option:client-arch,9
dhcp-match=set:efi-x86,option:client-arch,6
dhcp-match=set:bios,option:client-arch,0
dhcp-boot=tag:efi-x86_64,"efi64/syslinux.efi"
dhcp-boot=tag:efi-x86,"efi32/syslinux.efi"
dhcp-boot=tag:bios,"bios/lpxelinux.0"

See dnsmasq(8) for more options.

The rest is up to the bootloader.

Tips and tricks

Prevent OpenDNS redirecting Google queries

To prevent OpenDNS from redirecting all Google queries to their own search server, add to /etc/dnsmasq.conf:

server=/www.google.com/<ISP DNS IP>

Override addresses

In some cases, such as when operating a captive portal, it can be useful to resolve specific domains names to a hard-coded set of addresses. This is done with the address config:

address=/example.com/1.2.3.4

Furthermore, it's possible to return a specific address for all domain names that are not answered from /etc/hosts or DHCP by using a special wildcard:

address=/#/1.2.3.4

More than one instance

If we want two or more dnsmasq servers works per interface(s).

Static

To do this staticly, server per interface, use interface and bind-interface options. This enforce start second dnsmasq.

Dynamic

In this case we can exclude per interface and bind any others:

except-interface=lo
bind-dynamic
Note: This is default in libvirt.

See also