host versus nslookup

Sten Carlsen stenc at
Wed Oct 12 22:28:50 UTC 2011

Accepted, conclusion still stands: select your tool with care for the
job, don't always use just one. Think what you want to know and how each
tool works.

Let us put this to rest, I think we agree largely.

On 13/10/11 0:09, Kevin Darcy wrote:
> On 10/12/2011 5:46 PM, Sten Carlsen wrote:
>> On 12/10/11 22:33, Fajar A. Nugraha wrote:
>>> On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 3:23 AM, Sten Carlsen <stenc at> wrote:
>>>>> Use dig.
>>>>> Always use dig.
>>>> I don't quite agree, for debugging bind, use dig - for debugging lookup
>>>> issues on some machine, host will behave more like any normal program, using
>>>> resolv.conf and what else and can point to some issues dig will not
>>>> discover. E.g. normal SW using something else than DNS, because of some
>>>> setup. Dig will never catch this.
>>> If you're concern about what address programs gets when they resolve
>>> host names, then getent is a better choice as it also respects
>>> nsswitch.conf and hosts file.
>> I just tried to make the point that dig is NOT always the perfect
>> tool, it depends what you want to know. Using dig tells you about
>> DNS, host and getent and even nslookup tells you more about the
>> behaviour of your system.
> As far as I know, only HP-UX has hacked nslookup to look at
> /etc/hosts. And I don't think it even looks at the "switch" file or
> other naming sources (e.g. Yellow Plague). HP-UX's nslookup
> "enhancement" is a one-off, I believe.
> On most platforms, the only way that nslookup is "closer" to the OS
> name-resolution mechanism than dig is that nslookup will do
> suffix-searching, whereas dig will not. But even then, I think
> nslookup uses its own version of the resolver library to do that, so
> if one is trying to troubleshoot a problem with the OS'es
> suffix-searching behavior using nslookup, one might be comparing
> apples to grapefruit (or, since we're talking about nslookup here,
> perhaps I should say uglyfruit).
>                                                     - Kevin
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Best regards

Sten Carlsen

No improvements come from shouting:


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