How Do I Run a DNS Server Locally?


Heather Bennett

Running a DNS server locally can be a useful tool for web developers, network administrators, or anyone who wants to gain more control over their network. By hosting your own DNS server, you can have complete authority over the domain name resolution process and ensure better performance and security. In this tutorial, we will explore how to run a DNS server locally on your machine.

What is a DNS Server?

A DNS (Domain Name System) server is responsible for translating domain names (like into IP addresses (like that computers can understand. When you type a URL into your browser, it sends a request to a DNS server to find the IP address associated with that domain name.

Why Run a DNS Server Locally?

Running a DNS server locally offers several advantages:

  • Better Performance: Local DNS servers can cache frequently accessed records, reducing response times and improving overall browsing speed.
  • Enhanced Security: By running your own DNS server, you have more control over which websites are allowed or blocked on your network.
  • Customized Domain Resolution: You can create custom domain names for local development or testing purposes without affecting the global DNS infrastructure.

Setting Up a Local DNS Server

To set up a local DNS server, we will use BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain), one of the most widely used and reliable open-source software packages for this purpose.

Step 1: Install BIND

The first step is to install BIND on your machine. You can download the latest version of BIND from its official website or use package managers like apt or yum, depending on your operating system.

Step 2: Configure BIND

After installing BIND, you need to configure it to run as a local DNS server. The configuration file for BIND is usually located at /etc/named.conf. Open this file in a text editor and make the necessary changes.

Here is an example configuration:

options {
    directory "/var/named";
    recursion yes;
    allow-query { localhost; };

zone "" {
    type master;
    file "/var/named/";

The above configuration allows queries from localhost and defines a zone for the domain You can create additional zones as needed.

Step 3: Create Zone Files

In the above configuration, we referenced a zone file called /var/named/ This file contains the actual DNS records for the domain example.

Create this file and add the necessary records using a text editor. Here is an example of a zone file:

$TTL 86400
@       IN      SOA     ns1. admin. (
                        2022010101 ; Serial
                        3600       ; Refresh
                        1800       ; Retry
                        604800     ; Expire
                        86400 )    ; Minimum TTL

        IN      NS      ns1.
        IN      NS      ns2.

ns1     IN      A       192.0.1
ns2     IN      A       192.2

www     IN      A       192.10

The above zone file defines the SOA (Start of Authority) record, NS (Name Server) records, and A (Address) records for the domain example.

Step 4: Start the DNS Server

Once you have configured BIND and created the necessary zone files, you can start the DNS server. The command to start BIND varies depending on your operating system. For example, on Linux, you can use:

sudo systemctl start named

You can also enable BIND to start automatically on system boot using:

sudo systemctl enable named

Testing Your Local DNS Server

To test your local DNS server, you need to configure your machine to use it as the primary DNS server. You can usually set this in your network settings or router configuration.

Once configured, open a terminal or command prompt and use the nslookup or dig command to query a domain name. For example:


If everything is set up correctly, you should see the IP address associated with the domain name you queried.

In Conclusion

Running a DNS server locally gives you more control over your network’s domain name resolution process. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you can set up and configure BIND as a local DNS server on your machine. Remember to update your zone files with the necessary records for proper functioning.

Note: Running a DNS server requires technical knowledge and understanding of networking concepts. It is recommended to thoroughly research and understand how DNS works before attempting to run a local DNS server.

Happy local DNS server setup!