Third Alpha Release of PowerDNS Recursor 4.5.0

Mar 9, 2021


We are proud to announce the third alpha release of what should become PowerDNS Recursor 4.5.0. This release contains various bug fixes, improvements and new features. The seond alpha was an internal release only and never went public.

The upcoming 4.5.0 release includes an important addition: the implementation of RFC 8198: Aggressive use of DNSSEC-Validated Cache. This enables the Recursor to answer queries for non-existing names with less effort in many cases. This feature uses both NSEC and NSEC3 records. Additionally the DNSSEC default mode is now “process”, while it was “process-no-validate” before. This means that clients asking for it will get DNSSEC validated answers by default.

We also added a cache of non-resolving nameservers. This enhances performance when the Recursor encounters domains that have nameservers that do not resolve.

This release also features a re-worked negative cache that is shared between threads, allowing more efficient use of the cache and reduced memory consumption.

Support for Extended DNS Errors (RFC 8914) has been added. These can be enabled by setting the extended-resolution-errors setting to ‘yes’, this will send DNSSEC and resolution related errors to clients. Extended Errors are also hooked up to the Lua scripting engine, allowing fine-grained setting of both the error code and extra information in the response.

A “refresh almost expired records” (also called “refetch”) mechanism has been introduced to keep the record cache warm. In short, if a query comes in and the cached record’s TTL is almost expired (within N percent of its original value) the cached record is served to the client and the record queried for in the background, ensuring that new queries for that record are fresh and served from the cache.

Other new features and improvements are:

  • The complete protobuf and dnstap logging code has been rewritten to have much smaller performance impact.
  • We have introduced non-offensive synonyms for words used in settings. See the upgrade guide.
  • The default minimum TTL override has been changed from 0 to 1.
  • The spoof-nearmiss-max setting‘s default has been changed to 1. This has the consequence that the Recursor will switch to do TCP queries to authoritative nameservers sooner as an effective measure against many spoofing attacks.
  • Incoming queries over TCP now also use the packet cache, providing another performance increase.
  • File written to by the rec_control command are new opened by the command itself. It is also possible to write the content to the standard output stream by using a hyphen as file name.

Please refer to the changelog for additional details.

Please send us all feedback and issues you might have via the mailing list, or in case of a bug, via GitHub.

The tarball (signature) is available from our download server and packages for CentOS 7 and 8, Debian Buster and Ubuntu Bionic and Focal are available from our repository.

With the future 4.5.0 final release, the 4.2.x releases will be EOL and the 4.3.x releases will go into critical security fixes only mode. Consult the EOL policy for more details.

We would also like to announce that with this release we will stop supporting systems using 32-bit time. This includes 32-bit Linux platforms like arm and i386 before kernel version 5.1.

We are grateful to the PowerDNS community for the reporting of bugs, issues, feature requests, and especially to the submitters of fixes and features.

About the author

Otto Moerbeek

Otto Moerbeek

Senior Developer at PowerDNS


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