Set up local caching DNS server on OSX 10.4

Dec 31, 2007
tags: dns, osx

OSX 10.4 ships with ISC named, but is not configured correctly out of the box. Follow the instructions below to run a local caching name server.

First, we need to generate an rndc key. The default named.conf comes configured to use one, but if it does not exist will bail with an error. Simply run rndc-confgen(1) to create one.

$ sudo rndc-confgen -a

Next, download the latest named.root file, as the supplied is rather outdated (as you can see from the diff output).

$ cd /var/named
$ sudo curl -O
$ diff -u named.root

Now edit /etc/named.conf, we need to make three changes. Firstly, the rndc port is wrong in the default configuration, so make it:

        inet port 953 allow {any;}

Next, add a listen-on directive in the options section to instruct named to only listen on certain interfaces, ensuring that we keep as secure as possible. I have added the internal 192.168/16 LAN to my configuration so that Parallels VMs and other machines can use the server, but if you do not need this then just keep the localhost entry:

        directory "/var/named";
        listen-on {

Finally, change the root DNS server file from to named.root as downloaded above. You could simply overwrite the file instead with named.root, however I like to keep defaults around as much as possible - you never know if an update will blat your changes or not:

zone "." IN {
        type hint;
        file "named.root";

All done. All that’s left to do is (re)start the service:

$ sudo service org.isc.named stop
$ sudo service org.isc.named start

then run a quick test to ensure it is working correctly:

$ dig @localhost

If you get a reply, configure your DNS server to be and you’re all set.

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