drill man page

drill — get (debug) information out of DNS(SEC)


drill [ Options ] name [ @server ] [ type ] [ class ]


drill is a tool to designed to get all sorts of information out of the DNS. It is specificly designed to be used with DNSSEC.

The name drill is a pun on dig. With drill you should be able get even more information than with dig.

If no arguments are given class defaults to 'IN' and type to 'A'. The server(s) specified in /etc/resolv.conf are used to query against.

name Ask for this name.

@server Send to query to this server. If not specified use the nameservers from /etc/resolv.conf.

type Ask for this RR type. If type is not given on the command line it defaults to 'A'. Except when doing a reverse lookup when it defaults to 'PTR'.

class Use this class when querying.

Sample Usage

drill mx miek.nl Show the MX records of the domain miek.nl

drill -S jelte.nlnetlabs.nl

Chase any signatures in the jelte.nlnetlab.nl domain. This option is only available when ldns has been compiled with openssl-support.

drill -TD www.example.com

Do a DNSSEC (-D) trace (-T) from the rootservers down to www.example.com. This option only works when ldns has been compiled with openssl support.

drill -s dnskey jelte.nlnetlabs.nl

Show the DNSKEY record(s) for jelte.nlnetlabs.nl. For each found DNSKEY record also print the DS record.



Enable DNSSEC in the query. When querying for DNSSEC types (DNSKEY, RRSIG, DS and NSEC) this is not automatically enabled.


Trace name from the root down. When using this option the @server arguments is not used.


Chase the signature(s) of 'name' to a known key or as high up in the tree as possible.

-I  IPv4 or IPv6 address

Source address to query from.  The source address has to be present on an interface of the host running drill.

-V level

Be more verbose. Set level to 5 to see the actual query that is sent.


Quiet mode, this overrules -V.

-f file

Read the query from a file. The query must be dumped with -w.

-i file

read the answer from the file instead from the network. This aids in debugging and can be used to check if a query on disk is valid. If the file contains binary data it is assumed to be a query in network order.

-w file

Write an answer packet to file.

-q file

Write the query packet to file.


Show drill's version.


Show a short help message.

Query Options


Stay on ip4. Only send queries to ip4 enabled nameservers.


Stay on ip6. Only send queries to ip6 enabled nameservers.


Use the resolver structure's fallback mechanism if the answer is truncated (TC=1). If a truncated packet is received and this option is set, drill will first send a new query with EDNS0  buffer size 4096.

If the EDNS0 buffer size was already set to 512+ bytes, or the above retry also results in a truncated answer, the resolver structure will fall back to TCP.

-b size

Use size as the buffer size in the EDNS0 pseudo RR.

-c file

Use file instead of /etc/resolv.conf for nameserver configuration.

-d domain

When tracing (-T), start from this domain instead of the root.


Use TCP/IP when querying a server

-k keyfile

Use this file to read a (trusted) key from. When this options is given drill tries to validate the current answer with this key. No chasing is done. When drill is doing a secure trace, this key will be used as trust anchor. Can contain a DNSKEY or a DS record.

Alternatively, when DNSSEC enabled tracing (-TD) or signature chasing (-S), if -k is not specified, and a default trust anchor (/var/lib/unbound/root.key) exists and contains a valid DNSKEY or DS record, it will be used as the trust anchor.

-o mnemonic

Use this option to set or unset specific header bits. A bit is set by using the bit mnemonic in CAPITAL letters. A bit is unset when the mnemonic is given in lowercase. The following mnemonics are understood by drill:

       QR, qr: set, unset QueRy (default: on)
       AA, aa: set, unset Authoritative Answer (default: off)
       TC, tc: set, unset TrunCated (default: off)
       RD, rd: set, unset Recursion Desired (default: on)
       CD, cd: set, unset Checking Disabled  (default: off)
       RA, ra: set, unset Recursion Available  (default: off)
       AD, ad: set, unset Authenticated Data (default: off)

Thus: -o CD, will enable Checking Disabled, which instructs the  cache to not validate the answers it gives out.

-p port

Use this port instead of the default of 53.

-r file

When tracing (-T), use file as a root servers hint file.


When encountering a DNSKEY print the equivalent DS also.


Use UDP when querying a server. This is the default.

-w file

write the answer to a file. The file will contain a hexadecimal dump of the query. This can be used in conjunction with -f.


Do a reverse lookup. The type argument is not used, it is preset to PTR.

-y <name:key[:algo]>

specify named base64 tsig key, and optional an algorithm (defaults to hmac-md5.sig-alg.reg.int)


don't randomize the nameserver list before sending queries.

Exit Status

The exit status is 0 if the looked up answer is secure and trusted, or insecure. The exit status is not 0 if the looked up answer is untrusted or bogus, or an error occurred while performing the lookup.



The file from which trusted keys are loaded when no -k option is given.

See Also



Jelte Jansen and Miek Gieben. Both of NLnet Labs.

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs to <ldns-team@nlnetlabs.nl>.


See Also

dig(1), RFC403{3,4,5}.


28 May 2006