No delay to client when the primary DNS server goes down?

Kevin Darcy kcd at
Mon Feb 20 23:29:40 UTC 2006

nick.seccombe at wrote:

>Is it possible to get a DNS client to automatically start using its
>secondary nameserver when its primary nameserver goes down - the way a
>caching-only DNS server dynamically starts using a different forwarder
>to avoid repeated timeouts/delays to queries.
>All I can think of at present is by reducing the timeout to 1 second in
>a client's resolve.conf to reduce the impact, or clustering the DNS
>But a client side configuration would be nice.
Trying to make stub resolvers this smart is like trying to teach a pig 
to sing. Stub resolvers will always have severely limited knowledge of 
how to resolve DNS, severely limited options for 
failover/retry/fail-forward, etc. There's only so much you can do within 
the stub-resolver framework.

If one really cares about redundancy, availability, etc. then put 
full-service iterative resolvers on one's clients (e.g. the Wintel port 
of BIND) and be done with it. If *necessary*, a given iterative-resolver 
instance could be configured in a "forwarding" mode, which would dumb 
down its behavior to more-or-less mimic that of a stub resolver, but 
with integrated caching capability, and a better forwarder-selection 
algorithm, much as you described. (In all fairness, I should mention 
that I have never actually set up and run the Wintel port of BIND, but 
that's more a reflection of my unfamiliarity/hostility with respect to 
Wintel platforms, than the putative benefits of running "real" DNS 
software whenever and wherever possible).

                                                               - Kevin

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