Useful ‘host’ Command Examples for Querying DNS Lookups

Host command is a minimal and easy-to-use CLI utility for performing DNS lookups which translate domain names to IP addresses and vice versa. It can also be used to list and verify various types of DNS records such as NS and MX, test and validate ISP DNS server and Internet connectivity, spam and blacklisting records, detecting and troubleshooting DNS server issues among others.

 

Find the Domain IP Address

 

This is the simplest host command you can run, just provide a domain name such as google.com to get the associated IP addresses.

$ host google.com

google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has IPv6 address 2a00:1450:4009:80b::200e
google.com mail is handled by 20 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 30 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 10 aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 40 alt3.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 50 alt4.aspmx.l.google.com.

 

Find Domain Name Servers

 

To find out the domain name servers use the -t option.

$ host -t ns google.com

google.com name server ns1.google.com.
google.com name server ns2.google.com.
google.com name server ns3.google.com.
google.com name server ns4.google.com.

 

Find Domain CNAME Record

 

To find out the domain CNAME, run.

 $ host -t cname mail.google.com

mail.google.com is an alias for googlemail.l.google.com.

 

Find Domain MX Record

 

To find out the MX records for a domain.

$ host -n -t mx google.com

ogle.com mail is handled by 50 alt4.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 10 aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 40 alt3.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 30 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 20 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.

 

Find Domain TXT Record

 

To find out the TXT records for a domain.

$ host -t txt google.com

google.com descriptive text "v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all"

 

Find Domain SOA Record

 

You can make host attempt to display the SOA records for a specified zone, from all the listed authoritative name servers for that zone with the -C flag.

$ host -C google.com

Nameserver 216.239.38.10:
	google.com has SOA record ns1.google.com. dns-admin.google.com. 156142728 900 900 1800 60
Nameserver 216.239.32.10:
	google.com has SOA record ns3.google.com. dns-admin.google.com. 156142728 900 900 1800 60
Nameserver 216.239.34.10:
	google.com has SOA record ns4.google.com. dns-admin.google.com. 156142728 900 900 1800 60
Nameserver 216.239.36.10:
	google.com has SOA record ns2.google.com. dns-admin.google.com. 156142728 900 900 1800 60

 

Query Particular Name Server

 

To query the particual domain name server.

$ host google.com ns4.google.com

Using domain server:
Name: ns4.google.com
Address: 216.239.38.10#53
Aliases: 

google.com has address 172.217.19.46
google.com has address 172.217.19.46
google.com has address 172.217.19.46
google.com has IPv6 address 2a00:1450:4005:808::200e
google.com mail is handled by 30 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 20 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 50 alt4.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 10 aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 40 alt3.aspmx.l.google.com.

 

Find All Information of Domain Records and Zones

 

To make a query of type ANY, use the -a (all) option which is equivalent to setting the -v option.

$ host -a google.com

Trying "google.com"
;; ->>HEADER<

 

Get Domain TTL Information

 

To find out domain TTL information.

$ host -v -t a google.com

Trying "google.com"
;; ->>HEADER<

 

Use Either IPv4 or IPv6

 

The -4 or -6 option forces host to use only IPv4 or only IPV6 query transport respectively.

$ host -4 google.com
OR
$ host -6 google.com

 

Perform Non-Recursive Queries

 

The -r option performs non-recursive queries, note that setting this option clears the RD (recursion desired), the bit in the query which host makes.

$ host -rR 5 google.com

google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has IPv6 address 2a00:1450:4009:80b::200e
google.com mail is handled by 30 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 40 alt3.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 50 alt4.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 20 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 10 aspmx.l.google.com.

 

Set UDP Retries for a Lookup

 

By default the number of UDP tries is 1, to change it, use the -R flag.

$ host -R 5 google.com

google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has IPv6 address 2a00:1450:4009:80b::200e
google.com mail is handled by 30 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 40 alt3.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 50 alt4.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 20 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 10 aspmx.l.google.com.

 

Set Query Time Wait for Reply

 

Using the -W switch, you can instruct the host to wait for a reply for the specified time in seconds and if the -w flag is used, it makes host to wait forever for a reply:

$ host -T -W 10 google.com

google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has address 216.58.201.46
google.com has IPv6 address 2a00:1450:4009:80b::200e
google.com mail is handled by 10 aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 40 alt3.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 30 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 20 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 50 alt4.aspmx.l.google.com.

 

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