How Do I Dig With a Specific DNS Server?


Scott Campbell

How Do I Dig With a Specific DNS Server?

When it comes to troubleshooting network issues or simply exploring the DNS (Domain Name System) infrastructure, the ‘dig’ command is an invaluable tool. Dig stands for Domain Information Groper and allows you to query DNS servers for various types of information such as IP addresses, domain records, and more.

Why Specify a DNS Server?

By default, when you use the dig command without specifying a DNS server, it uses the system’s default DNS resolver. However, there might be situations where you want to query a specific DNS server directly. This can be helpful if you suspect that the default resolver is not functioning correctly or if you want to test a specific DNS server’s response time or configuration.

Using the ‘dig’ Command with a Specific DNS Server

To dig with a specific DNS server, you need to use the @ symbol followed by the IP address of the desired DNS server. Here’s an example:

$ dig @8.8.8

This command queries the Google Public DNS server (8.8) for information about the domain

Troubleshooting with Specific Servers

If you’re experiencing issues accessing certain websites or services, specifying different DNS servers can help identify potential problems in your network configuration or with specific servers.

You can try querying multiple authoritative name servers for a domain to compare their responses:

$ dig
$ dig
$ dig


By comparing the responses from different authoritative name servers, you can determine if there are any inconsistencies or delays in propagating the DNS records.

Exploring DNS Records with a Specific Server

The ‘dig’ command is also useful for exploring various DNS records associated with a domain. For example, to retrieve all the A (IPv4 address) records for a domain using a specific DNS server:

$ dig @8.8 A

This command will return a list of IPv4 addresses associated with the domain example.

Other Useful Query Types

In addition to A records, you can use ‘dig’ to retrieve other types of DNS records:

  • CNAME Records: Alias records that point one domain name to another.
  • MX Records: Mail Exchange records that specify mail server information for a domain.
  • TXT Records: Text records often used to store additional information like SPF (Sender Policy Framework) settings.
  • NS Records: Name Server records that indicate which DNS servers are authoritative for a specific domain.

To query these record types with a specific DNS server, use the appropriate record type identifier after the ‘@’ symbol:

$ dig @8.8 CNAME
$ dig @8.8 MX example.8 TXT example.8 NS

Replace ‘’ with the domain you want to query, and ‘8.8’ with the IP address of your desired DNS server.


Digging with a specific DNS server allows you to investigate DNS-related issues, compare responses from different authoritative name servers, and explore various types of DNS records associated with a domain. By using the ‘dig’ command and specifying a DNS server using the ‘@’ symbol, you gain more control over your DNS queries and can better understand how your network is functioning.

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