How Do I Setup a DNS Server on a Mac?


Larry Thompson

Setting up a DNS server on a Mac can seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it can be a smooth and straightforward process. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the steps to configure your own DNS server on your Mac. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Install Homebrew
Before we begin, ensure that you have Homebrew installed on your Mac. Homebrew is a package manager that makes it easy to install and manage software packages on macOS.

Open Terminal and type the following command:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

This command will download and install Homebrew on your system.

Step 2: Install dnsmasq
Dnsmasq is a lightweight DNS server that we will use for our setup. To install dnsmasq using Homebrew, follow these steps:

Type the following command in Terminal:

brew install dnsmasq

This will download and install dnsmasq on your Mac.

Step 3: Configure dnsmasq
Now that dnsmasq is installed, we need to configure it to act as our DNS server. Follow these steps:

Create a configuration file:
In Terminal, type the following command to create a new configuration file for dnsmasq:

sudo nano /usr/local/etc/dnsmasq.conf

This command will open the configuration file in the nano text editor.

Add DNS server settings:
In the configuration file, add the following lines to specify the DNS server settings:


Replace “” with the domain name you want to use for your DNS server.

Step 4: Configure macOS DNS resolver
To ensure that your Mac uses the newly configured DNS server, follow these steps:

Edit the DNS resolver configuration file:
In Terminal, type the following command to open the DNS resolver configuration file in nano:

sudo nano /etc/resolver/example

Replace “example” with the same domain name you specified in Step 3.

Add nameserver information:
In the configuration file, add the following line to specify the nameserver information:

nameserver 127.1

This tells macOS to use your local DNS server for resolving domain names.

Step 5: Start dnsmasq
After configuring dnsmasq and macOS DNS resolver, we are ready to start our DNS server.

Type the following command in Terminal to start dnsmasq:

sudo brew services start dnsmasq

This command will start dnsmasq as a background service on your Mac.

Congratulations! You have successfully set up a DNS server on your Mac using dnsmasq. Now you can test it by accessing a domain name that you specified in Step 3 and see if it resolves correctly.

Remember, if you ever need to make changes to your DNS server settings, you can always edit the dnsmasq.conf file or modify the macOS DNS resolver configuration file accordingly.

  • To stop dnsmasq, use:
  • sudo brew services stop dnsmasq
  • To restart dnsmasq, use:
  • sudo brew services restart dnsmasq


Setting up a DNS server on a Mac might be intimidating at first, but with the help of dnsmasq and our step-by-step guide, you can easily configure your own DNS server. This will allow you to have more control over domain name resolution on your local network. Enjoy exploring the possibilities this setup offers!

Further Reading

If you want to learn more about dnsmasq and its advanced configuration options, be sure to check out the official documentation: https://thekelleys.html.

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