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RNDC.CONF(5)                                  BIND9                                  RNDC.CONF(5)

       rndc.conf - rndc configuration file


       rndc.conf is the configuration file for rndc, the BIND 9 name server control utility. This
       file has a similar structure and syntax to named.conf. Statements are enclosed in braces
       and terminated with a semi-colon. Clauses in the statements are also semi-colon
       terminated. The usual comment styles are supported:

       C style: /* */

       C++ style: // to end of line

       Unix style: # to end of line

       rndc.conf is much simpler than named.conf. The file uses three statements: an options
       statement, a server statement and a key statement.

       The options statement contains five clauses. The default-server clause is followed by the
       name or address of a name server. This host will be used when no name server is given as
       an argument to rndc. The default-key clause is followed by the name of a key which is
       identified by a key statement. If no keyid is provided on the rndc command line, and no
       key clause is found in a matching server statement, this default key will be used to
       authenticate the server's commands and responses. The default-port clause is followed by
       the port to connect to on the remote name server. If no port option is provided on the
       rndc command line, and no port clause is found in a matching server statement, this
       default port will be used to connect. The default-source-address and
       default-source-address-v6 clauses which can be used to set the IPv4 and IPv6 source
       addresses respectively.

       After the server keyword, the server statement includes a string which is the hostname or
       address for a name server. The statement has three possible clauses: key, port and
       addresses. The key name must match the name of a key statement in the file. The port
       number specifies the port to connect to. If an addresses clause is supplied these
       addresses will be used instead of the server name. Each address can take an optional port.
       If an source-address or source-address-v6 of supplied then these will be used to specify
       the IPv4 and IPv6 source addresses respectively.

       The key statement begins with an identifying string, the name of the key. The statement
       has two clauses.  algorithm identifies the encryption algorithm for rndc to use; currently
       only HMAC-MD5 is supported. This is followed by a secret clause which contains the base-64
       encoding of the algorithm's encryption key. The base-64 string is enclosed in double

       There are two common ways to generate the base-64 string for the secret. The BIND 9
       program rndc-confgen can be used to generate a random key, or the mmencode program, also
       known as mimencode, can be used to generate a base-64 string from known input.  mmencode
       does not ship with BIND 9 but is available on many systems. See the EXAMPLE section for
       sample command lines for each.

                 options {
                   default-server  localhost;
                   default-key     samplekey;

                 server localhost {
                   key             samplekey;

                 server testserver {
                   key         testkey;
                   addresses   { localhost port 5353; };

                 key samplekey {
                   algorithm       hmac-md5;
                   secret          "6FMfj43Osz4lyb24OIe2iGEz9lf1llJO+lz";

                 key testkey {
                   algorithm   hmac-md5;
                   secret      "R3HI8P6BKw9ZwXwN3VZKuQ==";

       In the above example, rndc will by default use the server at localhost ( and the
       key called samplekey. Commands to the localhost server will use the samplekey key, which
       must also be defined in the server's configuration file with the same name and secret. The
       key statement indicates that samplekey uses the HMAC-MD5 algorithm and its secret clause
       contains the base-64 encoding of the HMAC-MD5 secret enclosed in double quotes.

       If rndc -s testserver is used then rndc will connect to server on localhost port 5353
       using the key testkey.

       To generate a random secret with rndc-confgen:


       A complete rndc.conf file, including the randomly generated key, will be written to the
       standard output. Commented-out key and controls statements for named.conf are also

       To generate a base-64 secret with mmencode:

       echo "known plaintext for a secret" | mmencode

       The name server must be configured to accept rndc connections and to recognize the key
       specified in the rndc.conf file, using the controls statement in named.conf. See the
       sections on the controls statement in the BIND 9 Administrator Reference Manual for

       rndc(8), rndc-confgen(8), mmencode(1), BIND 9 Administrator Reference Manual.

       Internet Systems Consortium

       Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2007 Internet Systems Consortium, Inc. ("ISC")
       Copyright © 2000, 2001 Internet Software Consortium.

BIND9                                     June 30, 2000                              RNDC.CONF(5)

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