Recursives in the wild: engineering authoritative DNS servers

Moritz Müller, Giovane G.M. Moura, Ricardo de O. Schmidt, John Heidemann

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

28 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


In Internet Domain Name System (DNS), services operate authoritative name servers that individuals query through recursive resolvers. Operators strive to provide reliability by operating multiple name servers (NS), each on a separate IP address, and by using IP anycast to allow NSes to provide service from many physical locations. To meet their goals of minimizing latency and balancing load across NSes and anycast, operators need to know how recursive resolvers select an NS, and how that interacts with their NS deployments. Prior work has shown some recursives search for low latency, while others pick an NS at random or round robin, but did not examine how prevalent each choice was. This paper provides the first analysis of how recursives select between name servers in the wild, and from that we provide guidance to operators how to engineer their name servers to reach their goals. We conclude that all NSes need to be equally strong and therefore we recommend to deploy IP anycast at every single authoritative.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIMC '17
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2017 Internet Measurement Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5118-8
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event2017 ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2017 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Nov 20173 Nov 2017


Conference2017 ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2017
Abbreviated titleIMC
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • DNS
  • Recursive DNS servers
  • Authoritative DNS servers
  • Anycast


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