A First Look at QNAME Minimization in the Domain Name System

Wouter B. de Vries*, Quirin Scheitle, Moritz Müller, Willem Toorop, Ralph Dolmans, Roland van Rijswijk-Deij

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    13 Downloads (Pure)


    The Domain Name System (DNS) is a critical part of network and Internet infrastructure; DNS lookups precede almost any user request. DNS lookups may contain private information about the sites and services a user contacts, which has spawned efforts to protect privacy of users, such as transport encryption through DNS-over-TLS or DNS-over-HTTPS. In this work, we provide a first look on the resolver-side technique of query name minimization (qmin), which was standardized in March 2016 as RFC 7816. qmin aims to only send minimal information to authoritative name servers, reducing the number of servers that full DNS query names are exposed to. Using passive and active measurements, we show a slow but steady adoption of qmin on the Internet, with a surprising variety in implementations of the standard. Using controlled experiments in a test-bed, we validate lookup behavior of various resolvers, and quantify that qmin both increases the number of DNS lookups by up to 26%, and also leads to up to 5% more failed lookups. We conclude our work with a discussion of qmin’s risks and benefits, and give advice for future use.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPassive and Active Measurement
    Subtitle of host publication20th International Conference, PAM 2019, Proceedings
    EditorsDavid Choffnes, Marinho Barcellos
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-15986-3
    ISBN (Print)978-3-030-15985-6
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2019
    Event20th International Conference on Passive and Active Measurement, PAM 2019 - Puerto Varas, Chile
    Duration: 27 Mar 201929 Mar 2019
    Conference number: 20

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
    Volume11419 LNCS
    ISSN (Print)0302-9743
    ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


    Conference20th International Conference on Passive and Active Measurement, PAM 2019
    Abbreviated titlePAM 2019
    CityPuerto Varas


    • DNS
    • Measurements
    • Privacy
    • QNAME minimization


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