Switching from BIND to PowerDNS in a few seconds

Seconds, really.

First, why stop using BIND? For me it just happened because I couldn’t understand why BIND wasn’t working (again). However there are many other reasons to make the switch before it’s too late. BIND has a bad security history, PowerDNS‘s code is more “modern” and its various parts are well-separated (for example, you are not obligated to even install the recursor, it’s another daemon).

PowerDNS now has a BIND zone backend, and it works with both primary (master) and secondary (slave) zones. Before that, only database or other fancy backends were available; for hosting only some small domains it would be overkill and a pain to manage.
However the documentation wasn’t really clear. Here is how to do it.

How to do it

You should have this in your pdns.conf file:

# Start the bind backend (you can load multiple backends)
launch=bind
# Path to your BIND named.conf
bind-config=/etc/bind/named.conf
# PowerDNS will check if the zones are modified automatically. No need to reload the daemon!
bind-check-interval=300

And… that’s it, you’re done.

But don’t forget to set allow-axfr-ips with the IPs of the secondary DNS servers of your primary domains in pdns.conf (that’s allow-transfer in named.conf).

More details

The only thing needed in named.conf are zone entries, anything else is ignored. For example:

zone "example.com" IN {
    type slave;
    file "/etc/bind/sec/example.com.zone";
    masters { 1.3.3.7; };
};
 
zone "example.net" IN {
    type master;
    file "/etc/bind/pri/example.net.zone";
};

If you want to create your first zone file, you can use the BIND zone file creator.

I also encourage you to try out the pdns_control tool that is bundled with PowerDNS.

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