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Basic setup: configuring database connectivity

This shows you how to configure the Generic SQLite3 backend.

Make sure the SQLite3 backend is installed:

sudo apt-get install pdns-backend-sqlite3


sudo yum install pdns-backend-sqlite

This backend is called ‘gsqlite3’, and needs to be configured in pdns.conf. Add the following lines, adjusted for your local setup:


Remove any earlier launch statements and other configuration statements for backends.

Now create the database (on RPM systems, the schema path is /usr/share/doc/pdns-backend-sqlite/schema.sqlite3.sql):

sudo mkdir /var/lib/powerdns
sudo sqlite3 /var/lib/powerdns/pdns.sqlite3 < /usr/share/doc/pdns-backend-sqlite3/schema.sqlite3.sql
sudo chown -R pdns:pdns /var/lib/powerdns

And start PowerDNS

sudo systemctl start pdns


sudo systemctl restart pdns

Make sure no error is reported, and use systemctl status pdns to make sure PowerDNS was started correctly.

A sample query sent to the server should now return quickly without data:

$ dig a @

; <<>> DiG 9.10.3-P4-Debian <<>> a @
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: REFUSED, id: 40870


When debugging DNS problems, don’t use host. Please use dig or drill.

Note the REFUSED status - this is the code most name servers use to indicate they do not know about a domain.

Now, let’s add a zone and some records:

$ sudo -u pdns pdnsutil create-zone
Creating empty zone ''
Also adding one NS record
$ sudo -u pdns pdnsutil add-record '' MX '25'
New rrset: 3005 IN MX 25
$ sudo -u pdns pdnsutil add-record www A
New rrset: 3005 IN A

This should be done as the pdns user (or root), as sqlite3 requires write access to the directory of the database file.


pdnsutil is a tool that can manipulate zones, set DNSSEC parameters for zones and does many other things. It is highly recommended to use pdnsutil or the HTTP API to modify zones instead of using raw SQL, as pdnsutil and the API perform checks on the data and post-store changes to prevent issues when serving DNS data.

If we now requery our database, should be present:

$ dig +short @

$ dig +short MX @

If this is not the output you get, remove +short to see the full output so you can find out what went wrong. The first problem could be that PowerDNS has a Packet Cache and a Query Cache performance reasons. If you see old, or no, data right after changing records, wait for cache-ttl, or negquery-cache-ttl, or query-cache-ttl.

Now, run pdnsutil edit-zone and try to add a few more records, and query them with dig to make sure they work.

You now have a working database driven nameserver!

To convert other zones already present, see the migration guide.

Common problems

Most problems involve PowerDNS not being able to connect to the database. This section covers more than just SQLite.

Can’t connect to local MySQL server through socket ‘/tmp/mysql.sock’ (2)

Your MySQL installation is probably defaulting to another location for its socket. Can be resolved by figuring out this location (often /var/run/mysqld.sock), and specifying it in the configuration file with the gmysql-socket parameter.

Another solution is to not connect to the socket, but to, which can be achieved by specifying gmysql-host=

Host ‘x.y.z.w’ is not allowed to connect to this MySQL server

These errors are generic MySQL errors. Solve them by trying to connect to your MySQL database with the MySQL console utility mysql with the parameters specified to PowerDNS. Consult the MySQL documentation.

Typical Errors after Installing

At this point some things may have gone wrong. Typical errors include:

binding to UDP socket: Address already in use

This means that another nameserver is listening on port 53 already. You can resolve this problem by determining if it is safe to shutdown the nameserver already present, and doing so. If uncertain, it is also possible to run PowerDNS on another port. To do so, add local-port=5300 to pdns.conf, and try again. This however implies that you can only test your nameserver as clients expect the nameserver to live on port 53.

binding to UDP socket: Permission denied

You must be superuser in order to be able to bind to port 53. If this is not a possibility, it is also possible to run PowerDNS on another port. To do so, add local-port=5300 to pdns.conf, and try again. This however implies that you can only test your nameserver as clients expect the nameserver to live on port 53.

Unable to launch, no backends configured for querying

You currently don’t have a backend configured in the configuration file. Add a launch statement for the backend you want to use.

If you are following this guide and using an sqlite database as a backend, please add the launch=gsqlite3 instruction to pdns.conf.

Multiple IP addresses on your server, PowerDNS sending out answers on the wrong one, Massive amounts of ‘recvfrom gave error, ignoring: Connection refused’

If you have multiple IP addresses on the internet on one machine, UNIX often sends out answers over another interface than which the packet came in on. In such cases, use local-address to bind to specific IP addresses, which can be comma separated. The second error comes from remotes disregarding answers to questions it didn’t ask to that IP address and sending back ICMP errors.