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nslookup - query Internet name servers interactively


nslookup [ -option ] [ name | - ] [ server ]


Nslookup is a program to query Internet domain name servers. Nslookup has two modes: interactive and non-interactive. Interactive mode allows the user to query name servers for information about various hosts and domains or to print a list of hosts in a domain. Non-interactive mode is used to print just the name and requested information for a host or domain.


Interactive mode is entered in the following cases:

  1. when no arguments are given (the default name server will be used)
  2. when the first argument is a hyphen (-) and the second argument is the host name or Internet address of a name server.

Non-interactive mode is used when the name or Internet address of the host to be looked up is given as the first argument. The optional second argument specifies the host name or address of a name server.

Options can also be specified on the command line if they precede the arguments and are prefixed with a hyphen. For example, to change the default query type to host information, and the initial timeout to 10 seconds, type:

      nslookup -query=hinfo  -timeout=10


  • host [server]
    Look up information for host using the current default server or using server, if specified. If host is an Internet address and the query type is A or PTR, the name of the host is returned. If host is a name and does not have a trailing period, the search list is used to qualify the name.
    To look up a host not in the current domain, append a period to the name.
  • server domain
  • lserver domain
    Change the default server to domain; lserver uses the initial server to look up information about domain, while server uses the current default server. If an authoritative answer can't be found, the names of servers that might have the answer are returned.
  • root -- not implemented
  • finger -- not implemented
  • ls -- not implemented
  • view -- not implemented
  • help -- not implemented
  • ? -- not implemented
  • exit -- Exits the program.
  • set keyword[=value]
    This command is used to change state information that affects the lookups. Valid keywords are:
    • all: Prints the current values of the frequently used options to set. Information about the current default server and host is also printed.
    • class=value
      Change the query class to one of:
      • IN -- the Internet class
      • CH -- the Chaos class
      • HS -- the Hesiod class
      • ANY -- wildcard
      The class specifies the protocol group of the information.
      (Default = IN; abbreviation = cl)
  • [no]debug
    Turn debugging mode on. A lot more information is printed about the packet sent to the server and the resulting answer.
    (Default = nodebug; abbreviation = [no]deb)
  • [no]d2
    Turn debugging mode on. A lot more information is printed about the packet sent to the server and the resulting answer.
    (Default = nod2)
  • domain=name
    Sets the search list to name.
  • [no]search
    If the lookup request contains at least one period but doesn't end with a trailing period, append the domain names in the domain search list to the request until an answer is received.
    (Default = search)
  • port=value
    Change the default TCP/UDP name server port to value.
    (Default = 53; abbreviation = po)
  • querytype=value
  • type=value
    Change the top of the information query.
    (Default = A; abbreviations = q, ty)
  • [no]recurse
    Tell the name server to query other servers if it does not have the information.
    (Default = recurse; abbreviation = [no]rec)
  • retry=number
    Set the number of retries to number.
  • timeout=number
    Change the initial timeout interval for waiting for a reply to number seconds.
  • [no]vc
    Always use a virtual circuit when sending requests to the server.
    (Default = novc)



dig(1), host(1), named(8).


Andrew Cherenson

Edit History

  • 2005-07-12 Transcribed from Ubuntu (Hoary) manpage