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keymgr - Man Page

Knot DNS key management utility


keymgr [config_option] [options] zone_name command

keymgr [config_option] [-j] -l

keymgr -t parameter...


The keymgr utility serves for manual key management in Knot DNS server.

Functions for DNSSEC keys and KASP (Key And Signature Policy) management are provided.

The DNSSEC and KASP configuration is stored in a so called KASP database. The database is backed by LMDB.



Name of the zone the command is executed for.

Config options

-c,  --config file

Use a textual configuration file (default is /etc/knot/knot.conf).

-C,  --confdb directory

Use a binary configuration database directory (default is /var/lib/knot/confdb). The default configuration database, if exists, has a preference to the default configuration file.

-D,  --dir path

Use specified KASP database path and default configuration.


-t, --tsig tsig_name [tsig_algorithm [tsig_bits]]

Generates a TSIG key for the given name. Optionally the key algorithm can be specified by its name (default: hmac-sha256) and a bit length of the key (default: optimal length given by algorithm). The generated TSIG key is only displayed on stdout: the command does not create a file, nor include the key in a keystore.

-e, --extended

Extended output (listing of keys with full description).

-j, --json

Print the zones or keys in JSON format.

-l, --list

Print the list of zones that have at least one key stored in the configured KASP database.

-x, --mono

Don't generate colorized output.

-X, --color

Force colorized output in the normal mode.

-h, --help

Print the program help.

-V, --version

Print the program version.


Keymgr runs with the same user privileges as configured for knotd. For example, if keymgr is run as root, but the configured user is knot, it won't be able to read files (PEM files, KASP database, ...) readable only by root.


list [timestamp_format]

Prints the list of key IDs and parameters of keys belonging to the zone.

generate [arguments...]

Generates new DNSSEC key and stores it in KASP database. Prints the key ID. This action takes some number of arguments (see below). Values for unspecified arguments are taken from corresponding policy (if -c or -C options used) or from Knot policy defaults.

import-bind BIND_key_file

Imports a BIND-style key into KASP database (converting it to PEM format). Takes one argument: path to BIND key file (private or public, but both MUST exist).

import-pub BIND_pubkey_file

Imports a public key into KASP database. This key won't be rolled over nor used for signing. Takes one argument: path to BIND public key file.

import-pem PEM_file [arguments...]

Imports a DNSSEC key from PEM file. The key parameters (same as for the generate action) need to be specified (mainly algorithm, timers...) because they are not contained in the PEM format.

import-pkcs11 key_id [arguments...]

Imports a DNSSEC key from PKCS #11 storage. The key parameters (same as for the generate action) need to be specified (mainly algorithm, timers...) because they are not available. In fact, no key data is imported, only KASP database metadata is created.

nsec3-salt [new_salt]

Prints the current NSEC3 salt used for signing. If new_salt is specified, the salt is overwritten. The salt is printed and expected in hexadecimal, or dash if empty.

local-serial [new_serial]

Print SOA serial stored in KASP database when using on-secondary DNSSEC signing. If new_serial is specified, the serial is overwritten. After updating the serial, expire the zone (zone-purge +expire +zonefile +journal) if the server is running, or remove corresponding zone file and journal contents if the server is stopped.

master-serial [new_serial]

Print SOA serial of the remote master stored in KASP database when using on-secondary DNSSEC signing. If new_serial is specified, the serial is overwritten (not recommended).

set key_spec [arguments...]

Changes a timing argument (or ksk/zsk) of an existing key to a new value. Key_spec is either the key tag or a prefix of the key ID, with an optional [id=|keytag=] prefix; arguments are like for generate, but just the related ones.

ds [key_spec]

Generate DS record (all digest algorithms together) for specified key. Key_spec is like for set, if unspecified, all KSKs are used.

dnskey [key_spec]

Generate DNSKEY record for specified key. Key_spec is like for ds, if unspecified, all KSKs are used.

delete key_spec

Remove the specified key from zone. If the key was not shared, it is also deleted from keystore.

share key_ID zone_from

Import a key (specified by full key ID) from another zone as shared. After this, the key is owned by both zones equally.

Generate arguments

Arguments are separated by space, each of them is in format 'name=value'.


Either an algorithm number (e.g. 14) or algorithm name without dashes (e.g. ECDSAP384SHA384).


Key length in bits.


If set to yes, the key will be used for signing DNSKEY rrset. The generated key will also have the Secure Entry Point flag set to 1.


If set to yes, the key will be used for signing zone (except DNSKEY rrset). This flag can be set concurrently with the ksk flag.


Overrides the standard setting of the Secure Entry Point flag.

The following arguments are timestamps of key lifetime (see DNSSEC key states):


Key started to be used for signing, not published (only for algorithm rollover).


Key published.


Key is waiting for submission (only for KSK).


Key used for signing.


Key still used for signing, but another key is active (only for KSK or algorithm rollover).


Key still published, but no longer used for signing.


Key no longer published, but still used for signing (only for algorithm rollover).


Key revoked according to RFC 5011 trust anchor roll-over.


Key deleted.



Zero timestamp means infinite future.


Positive number of seconds since 1970 UTC.


Date and time in this format without any punctuation.


A sign character (+, -), a number, and an optional time unit (y, mo, d, h, mi, s). The default unit is one second. E.g. +1mi, -2mo.

Output timestamp formats


The timestamps are printed as UNIX timestamp.


The timestamps are printed relatively to now using time units (e.g. -2y5mo, +1h13s).


The timestamps are printed in the ISO8601 format (e.g. 2016-12-31T23:59:00).

Exit Values

Exit status of 0 means successful operation. Any other exit status indicates an error.


  1. Generate new TSIG key:

    $ keymgr -t my_name hmac-sha384
  2. Generate new DNSSEC key:

    $ keymgr example.com. generate algorithm=ECDSAP256SHA256 size=256 \
      ksk=true created=1488034625 publish=20170223205611 retire=+10mo remove=+1y
  3. Import a DNSSEC key from BIND:

    $ keymgr example.com. import-bind ~/bind/Kharbinge4d5.+007+63089.key
  4. Configure key timing:

    $ keymgr example.com. set 4208 active=+2mi retire=+4mi remove=+5mi
  5. Share a KSK from another zone:

    $ keymgr example.com. share e687cf927029e9db7184d2ece6d663f5d1e5b0e9 another-zone.com.

See Also

RFC 6781 - DNSSEC Operational Practices. RFC 7583 - DNSSEC Key Rollover Timing Considerations.

knot.conf(5), knotc(8), knotd(8).


CZ.NIC Labs <https://www.knot-dns.cz>

Referenced By

kdig(1), knotd(8), knsupdate(1), kzonesign(1).

2024-06-25 3.3.7 Knot DNS