Edinburgh Castle
DNS and BIND Cookbook
AuthorCricket Liu
DateOctober 2002
Price24.95 (paper)
ReviewerAlex Hazelwood
Cover image for DNS and BIND Cookbook

First of let me just mention that the author seems to have had a bit of a Scrabble fixation and mentions this through out the book from time to time, this really has nothing to do with the quality of the contents but I thought I would mention it in case like me you have a morbid fear of the game...

As with all other O'Reilly cookbooks each chapter starts of with the simpler problem & solutions leading to the more complex scenarios as you progress. I did find the level of problem being put forward to be very basic, almost too basic, I thought the idea of a cookbook was for the reader to have a working understanding of the source material, theory is not covered at all but from the level they start his book from they assume you know next to nothing. This may be seen as a good thing by some but in my opinion half the book is wasted with questions and answers that can easily be found on the web by doing a simple search.

The choice in chapters also took me back as well, a WHOLE chapter on MX records [Chapter 4] seems to me to be a bit extreme, to be fair the chapter is pretty short, but still there is not a great deal of subject matter to warrant this kind of attention. I think the space could have been used better with a chapter on typical examples of named.conf files or zone files.

Now that I have that out of my system, I can get to the plus side. Once you have got passed the initial pages to each chapter the subject matter starts to get pretty informative, the problems start approaching near "real world" and the solution become workable without having to find another scenario to cobble against. I was very happy to see a chapter dedicated to DNS Security a topic that many seasoned hostmaster seem to know nothing about and which should be covered in every 101 in DNS Theory.

Interoperability with windows and upgrading from BIND 8 to 9 was also a welcome [and often neglected] sight, this is not something you have to do very often so examples here were most interesting and helpful for the long term.

Here's a quick list of items that seemed close to "real world" usefulness.

Configuring a Name server to forward queries to another name server
Allowing Dynamic updates
Setting up DNS to pass MX traffic via a spam filter
Finding out who is using you name server for queries
Migrating from one domain name to another
Changing your zones name servers
Defining a TSIG Key
Securing Zone Transfers
Protecting a name server from Spoofing
Configuring a DHCP server to update a BIND Name Server
Finding Syntax errors in a named.conf file
Looking up records with dig


I would recommend this book for someone with little DNS experience who needs a good jumping off point, It would also suit someone with Windows DNS experience making the jump to Linux and BIND.

Purely for the examples in setting up security I would still recommend the book for someone with average and above experience in BIND. I think that the subject matter maybe a little on the light side, It may only come off the shelf occasionally for the odd problem and it will mainly sit collect dust, but for those odd problems it may save you a lot of time.

Table of contents

Ch  1 : Getting Started
Ch  2 : Zone Data
Ch  3 : Bind Name Server Configuration
Ch  4 : Electronic Mail
Ch  5 : Bind Name Server Operations
Ch  6 : Delegation and Registration
Ch  7 : Security
Ch  8 : Interoperability and Upgrading
Ch  9 : Resolves and Programming
Ch 10 : Logging and Troubleshooting
Ch 11 : IPv6
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