DIG(1) BSD General Commands Manual DIG(1)


dig − send domain name query packets to name servers


dig [@server] domain [⟨query-type⟩] [⟨query-class⟩] [+query-option⟩] [dig-option⟩] [%comment]


Dig (domain information groper) is a flexible command line tool which can be used to gather information from the Domain Name System servers. Dig has two modes: simple interactive mode for a single query, and batch mode which executes a query for each in a list of several query lines. All query options are accessible from the command line.

The usual simple use of dig will take the form:

dig @server domain query-type query-class


      server’            may be either a domain name or a dot-notationInternet address. If this optional field is omitted, dig willattempt to use the default name server for your machine.
Note: If a domain name is specified, this will be resolvedusing the domain name system resolver (i.e., BIND). If yoursystem does not support DNS, you may have to specify adot-notation address.  Alternatively, if there is a server atyour disposal somewhere,  all that is required is that/etc/resolv.conf be present and indicate where the defaultname servers reside,  so that server itself can be resolved.See resolver(5) for information on /etc/resolv.conf.WARNING: Changing /etc/resolv.conf will affect both thestandard resolver library and (potentially) several programswhich use it.  As an option, the user may set the environmentvariable LOCALRES to name a file which is to be used insteadof /etc/resolv.conf (                                        LOCALRES is specific to the digresolver and is not referenced by the standard resolver).  Ifthe LOCALRES variable is not set or the specified file is notreadable, then /etc/resolv.conf will be used.

domain’ is the domain name for which you are requesting information. See the −x option (documented in the OTHER OPTIONS subsection of this section) for convenient way to specify inverse address query.

is the type of information (DNS query type) that you are requesting. If omitted, the default is ‘‘a’’ (T_A = address). The following types are recognized:

a T_A network address
T_ANY all/any information about specified domain
T_MX mail exchanger for the domain
T_NS name servers
T_SOA zone of authority record
T_HINFO host information
T_AXFR zone transfer (must ask an authoritative server)
T_TXT arbitrary number of strings

(See RFC 1035 for the complete list.)

is the network class requested in the query. If omitted, the default is ‘‘in’’ (C_IN = Internet). The following classes are recognized:

in C_IN’ Internet class domain
C_ANY’ all/any class information

(See RFC 1035 for the complete list.)

Note: ‘‘Any’’ can be used to specify a class and/or a type of query. Dig will parse the first occurrence of ‘‘any’’ to mean query-type = T_ANY. To specify query-class = C_ANY, you must either specify ‘‘any’’ twice, or set query-class using the −c option (see below).


‘‘%’’ is used to included an argument that is simply not parsed. This may be useful if running dig in batch mode. Instead of resolving every @server-domain-name in a list of queries, you can avoid the overhead of doing so, and still have the domain name on the command line as a reference. Example:

dig @ %venera.isi.edu mx isi.edu

dig option

‘‘’’ is used to specify an option which affects the operation of dig. The following options are currently available (although not guaranteed to be useful):

−x dot-notation-address
Convenient form to specify inverse address mapping. Instead of ‘‘dig’’, one can simply ‘‘dig -x’’.

−f file’ File for dig batch mode. The file contains a list of query specifications ( dig command lines) which are to be executed successively. Lines beginning with ’;’, ’#’, or ’\n’ are ignored. Other options may still appear on command line, and will be in effect for each batch query.

−T time’ Time in seconds between start of successive queries when running in batch mode. Can be used to keep two or more batch dig commands running roughly in sync. Default is zero.

−p port’ Port number. Query a name server listening to a non-standard port number. Default is 53.

After query returns, execute a ping(8) command for response time comparison. This rather unelegantly makes a call to the shell. The last three lines of statistics is printed for the command:

ping −s −server_name −56 −3

If the optional ‘‘ping_string’’ is present, it replaces ‘‘ping −s’’ in the shell command.

                   −t query-type

Specify type of query. May specify either an integer value to be included in the type field or use the abbreviated mnemonic as discussed above (i.e., mx = T_MX).

−c query-class
Specify class of query. May specify either an integer value to be included in the class field or use the abbreviated mnemonic as discussed above (i.e., in = C_IN).

−k keydir:keyname
Sign the query with the TSIG key named keyname that is in the directory keydir.

−envsav’ This flag specifies that the dig environment (defaults, print options, etc.), after all of the arguments are parsed, should be saved to a file to become the default environment. This is useful if you do not like the standard set of defaults and do not desire to include a large number of options each time dig is used. The environment consists of resolver state variable flags, timeout, and retries as well as the flags detailing dig output (see below). If the shell environment variable LOCALDEF is set to the name of a file, this is where the default dig environment is saved. If not, the file ‘‘DiG.env’’ is created in the current working directory.

Note: LOCALDEF is specific to the dig resolver, and will not affect operation of the standard resolver library.

Each time dig is executed, it looks for ‘‘./DiG.env’’ or the file specified by the shell environment variable LOCALDEF. If such file exists and is readable, then the environment is restored from this file before any arguments are parsed.

−envset’ This flag only affects batch query runs. When ‘‘−envset’’ is specified on a line in a dig batch file, the dig environment after the arguments are parsed becomes the default environment for the duration of the batch file, or until the next line which specifies ‘‘−envset’’.

[no] stick
This flag only affects batch query runs. It specifies that the dig environment (as read initially or set by ‘‘−envset’’ switch) is to be restored before each query (line) in a dig batch file. The default ‘‘−nostick’’ means that the dig environment does not stick, hence options specified on a single line in a dig batch file will remain in effect for subsequent lines (i.e. they are not restored to the ‘‘sticky’’ default).

‘‘+’’ is used to specify an option to be changed in the query packet or to change dig output specifics. Many of these are the same parameters accepted by nslookup(8). If an option requires a parameter, the form is as follows:

+ keyword [=value]

Most keywords can be abbreviated. Parsing of the ‘‘+’’ options is very simplistic — a value must not be separated from its keyword by white space. The following keywords are currently available:

Keyword Abbrev. Meaning [default]

                     [no] debug     (deb)

turn on/off debugging mode [deb]
[no] d2 ’ turn on/off extra debugging mode [nod2]
[no] recurse (rec)
use/don’t use recursive lookup [rec]
# (ret)
set number of retries to # [4]
# (ti)’ set timeout length to # seconds [4]
[no] ko’ keep open option (implies vc) [noko]
[no] vc’ use/don’t use virtual circuit [novc]
[no] defname (def)
use/don’t use default domain name [def]
[no] search (sea)
use/don’t use domain search list [sea]
NAME (do)’ set default domain name to NAME
[no] ignore (i)’ ignore/don’t ignore trunc. errors [noi]
[no] primary (pr)
use/don’t use primary server [nopr]
[no] aaonly (aa)
authoritative query only flag [noaa]
[no] cmd’ echo parsed arguments [cmd]
[no] stats (st)
print query statistics [st]
[no] Header (H)’ print basic header [H]
[no] header (he)
print header flags [he]
[no] ttlid (tt)
print TTLs [tt]
[no] cl’ print class info [nocl]
[no] qr’ print outgoing query [noqr]
[no] reply (rep)
print reply [rep]
[no] ques (qu)
print question section [qu]
[no] answer (an)
print answer section [an]
[no] author (au)
print authoritative section [au]
[no] addit (ad)
print additional section [ad]
’ set to default print flags
’ set to minimal default print flags
#’ set print flags to # (# can be hex/octal/decimal)
#’ bitwise and print flags with #
#’ bitwise or print flags with #

The retry and time options affect the retransmission strategy used by the resolver library when sending datagram queries. The algorithm is as follows:

for i = 0 to retry - 1
for j = 1 to num_servers


wait((time * (2**i)) / num_servers)


(Note: dig always uses a value of 1 for ‘‘num_servers’’.)


Dig once required a slightly modified version of the BIND resolver(3) library. As of BIND 4.9, BIND’s resolver has been augmented to work properly with dig. Essentially, dig is a straight-forward (albeit not pretty) effort of parsing arguments and setting appropriate parameters. Dig uses resolver(3) routines res_init(), res_mkquery(), res_send() as well as accessing the _res structure.


      LOCALRES’            file to use in place of Pa /etc/resolv.conf

LOCALDEF’ default environment file

See also the explanation of the −envsav, −envset, and
[no] stick options, above.



initial domain name and name server addresses
./DiG.env’ default save file for default options


named(8), resolver(3), resolver(5), nslookup(8).


RFC 1035.


Steve Hotz hotz@isi.edu


Dig uses functions from nslookup(8) authored by Andrew Cherenson.


Dig has a serious case of "creeping featurism" -- the result of considering several potential uses during it’s development. It would probably benefit from a rigorous diet. Similarly, the print flags and granularity of the items they specify make evident their rather ad hoc genesis.

Dig does not consistently exit nicely (with appropriate status) when a problem occurs somewhere in the resolver (

                                                 NOTE: most of the common exitcases are handled).  This is particularly annoying when running in batchmode.  If it exits abnormally (and is not caught), the entire batchaborts; when such an event is trapped, dig simply continues with the nextquery.
4th Berkeley Distribution       August 30, 1990      4th Berkeley Distribution