Setting up unbound DNS server

From Alpine Linux

Unbound is a validating, recursive, and caching DNS resolver that supports DNSSEC.


Install the unbound package:

apk add unbound


unbound can be set up to run as a service and started with:

rc-update add unbound default
service unbound start


The following configuration is an example of a caching name server (in a production server, it's recommended to adjust the access-control parameter to limit access to your network). The forward-zone(s) section will forward all DNS queries to the specified servers. Don't forget to change the 'interface' parameter to that of your local interface IP address (or to listen on all local IPv4 interfaces). The following is a minimal example with many options commented out.


        verbosity: 1
## Specify the interface address to listen on:
## To listen on all interfaces use:
#       interface:
        do-ip4: yes
        do-ip6: yes
        do-udp: yes
        do-tcp: yes
        do-daemonize: yes
        access-control: allow
## Other access control examples
#access-control: action
## 'action' should be replaced by any one of:
#deny (drop message)
#refuse (sends  a  DNS  rcode REFUSED error message back)
#allow (recursive ok)
#allow_snoop (recursive and nonrecursive ok).
## Minimum lifetime of cache entries in seconds.  Default is 0.
#cache-min-ttl: 60
## Maximum lifetime of cached entries. Default is 86400 seconds (1  day).
#cache-max-ttl: 172800
## enable to prevent answering id.server and hostname.bind queries. 
        hide-identity: yes
## enable to prevent answering version.server and version.bind queries. 
        hide-version: yes
## default is to use syslog, which will log to /var/log/messages.
use-syslog: yes
## to log elsewhere, set 'use-syslog' to 'no' and set the log file location below:
#logfile: /var/log/unbound
        control-enable: no
## Stub zones are like forward-zones (see below) but must contain only the authority server (no recursive servers)
#        name: ""
#		 stub-addr:
#		 stub-addr:
## Note: for forward-zones, the destination servers must be able to handle recursion to other DNS servers
## Forward all * queries to the server at
#        name: ""
#        forward-addr:
## Forward all other queries to the Verizon DNS servers
        name: "."
## Level3 Verizon


Instead of forwarding queries to a public DNS server, you may prefer to query the root DNS servers. To do this, comment out the forwarding entries ("forward-zone" sections) in the config. Then, grab the latest root hints file using wget:

wget -S -O /etc/unbound/root.hints

And finally point unbound to the root hints file by adding the following line to the server section of the unbound config file:

root-hints: "/etc/unbound/root.hints"

Restart unbound to ensure the changes take effect. You may wish to setup a cron job to update the root hints file occasionally.

0x20 bit

Use of the 0x20 bit is considered experimental. It makes use of an otherwise unused bit in a DNS packet to ask an authoritative server to respond with an answer mimicking the case used in the query.

For example, when using this feature a query for could appear in the request as or Www.GoogLe.coM or WWW.GoOGlE.cOm or any other conbination of upper and lower case. The authoritative server should respond with the same case. This helps prevent DNS spoofing attacks.

In some cases a very small number of old or misconfigured servers may return an error (less than 1% of servers will respond incorrectly). To turn on this feature, simply add the following line to the 'server' section of /etc/unbound/unbound.conf and restart the server:

use-caps-for-id: yes

Set auto-start, start and test the daemon

Check the configuration for errors:


if no errors are reported, set to auto-start then start unbound:

rc-update add unbound rc-service unbound start

Test. For example:

dig @



or use drill:

drill @

Additional information

unbound.conf man page here or here

unbound optimization guide

excellent unbound tutorial at

General information via the Wikipedia pages on DNS, record types, zones, name servers and DNSsec