Linux / UNIX set the DNS from the command line

last updated in Categories , , , , , , , ,

Q. I just got Linux installed on my system. I’m able to connect to internet via IP address only. I’m not able to find out information about setting up new DNS sever ip under Linux. How do I configure primary and secondary DNS via terminal / shell prompt?


A. Under Linux / UNIX / BSD operating system, you need to edit the /etc/resolv.conf file and add the line:

nameserver {IP-OF-THE-DNS-1}
nameserver {IP-OF-THEISP-DNS-SERVER-2}

Login as the root, enter:
# vi /etc/resolv.conf
$ sudo vi /etc/resolv.conf
Modify or enter nameserver as follows:

Save and close the file. To test DNS configuration type any one of the following command:
$ host
$ dig
$ ping
$ nslookup

Output: has address has address has address mail is handled by 10 mail is handled by 10 mail is handled by 10 mail is handled by 10

If you see valid output such as actual IP address or able to ping to remote server via hostname, it means that the dns is working for you. Also make sure you have valid default gateway setup, if you see the time out error.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.


17 comment

  1. you’re easily sliding to the point where your tutorials will be as complex as ‘how to start your computer? press the power button!’


  2. Ping is a tool to send ICMP echo requests to machines, not to check if resolving works. nslookup, dig and host can be used to check resolving, as you perfectly describe in this article.

    1. well that’s true, but it has to resolve the dns name before it can continue the ping. So ping works too.

      1. Not exactly so @musolff92. If you are blocking ICMP’s then the ping will not hit you back, but you still be resolving names, or if you don’t specify a default gateway, pings will fail yet end might be working. The ping is good to test connectivity issues before this step.

  3. How can I specify something like for site say ‘’ go to this ip say ‘’?

    1. From resolv.conf:

      # No nameservers found; try putting DNS servers into your
      # ifcfg files in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts like so:

  4. THANK YOU!!!!!!!
    fixed my network after visiting 8 sites. This one did it for me :)
    Ubuntu 12 server, with KDE installed on top.

  5. why do you edit resolve.conf directly?
    Boot, and see if your changes are still there.

    This file gets overwritten.
    You need to use /etc/resolvconf/resolv.conf.d/head for this or set dns in /etc/network/interfaces
    You can even use dhcpclient conf file for this

Leave a Comment