Secondary Zone 'Raw' File format

Chris Thompson cet1 at
Fri May 4 17:30:55 UTC 2012

On May 4 2012, Evan Hunt wrote:

>> A new option was added in 9.9 to cache slave zones in 'raw' format rather
>> than text format.
>That's actually always been an option ("masterfile-format raw;")

Well, if "always" is taken to mean "since BIND 9.4" :-)

>                                                                 and is
>recommended for servers with a lot of slave zones because it reduces
>startup time considerably--it takes about half as long to load a zone
>if you don't need to parse text.
>What changed in 9.9 is that it's now the default behavior, and you have
>to specify "masterfile-format text;" if you want to save a slave zone in
>text format.
>> Is there any specific documentation on what the format of this 'raw' format
>> actually is?
>It's just DNS wire format, not much different from what you'd see if
>you ran a sniffer during a zone transfer.  You can convert it to text
>format to see what's in the file with:
>    named-checkzone -D -f raw <zonename> <filename>

The other things that changed in BIND 9.9 is that there is a new version
of the "raw" format (as in "-F raw=1" versus "-F raw=0" in named-checkzone,
q.v. its man page). What was the motivation for that change?

Chris Thompson
Email: cet1 at

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