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k8s_external - resolves load balancer and external IPs from outside Kubernetes clusters.


This plugin allows an additional zone to resolve the external IP address(es) of a Kubernetes service. This plugin is only useful if the kubernetes plugin is also loaded.

The plugin uses an external zone to resolve in-cluster IP addresses. It only handles queries for A, AAAA and SRV records; all others result in NODATA responses. To make it a proper DNS zone, it handles SOA and NS queries for the apex of the zone.

By default the apex of the zone will look like the following (assuming the zone used is    5 IN    SOA (

12345 ; serial
14400 ; refresh (4 hours)
3600 ; retry (1 hour)
604800 ; expire (1 week)
5 ; minimum (4 hours)
) 5 IN NS 5 IN A .... 5 IN AAAA ....

Note that we use the dns subdomain for the records DNS needs (see the apex directive). Also note the SOA's serial number is static. The IP addresses of the nameserver records are those of the CoreDNS service.

The k8s_external plugin handles the subdomain dns and the apex of the zone itself; all other queries are resolved to addresses in the cluster.


k8s_external [ZONE...]

ZONES zones k8s_external should be authoritative for.

If you want to change the apex domain or use a different TTL for the returned records you can use this extended syntax.

k8s_external [ZONE...] {

apex APEX
ttl TTL }

  • APEX is the name (DNS label) to use for the apex records; it defaults to dns.
  • ttl allows you to set a custom TTL for responses. The default is 5 (seconds).


Enable names under to be resolved to in-cluster DNS addresses.

. {

kubernetes cluster.local
k8s_external }

With the Corefile above, the following Service will get an A record for with the IP address

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service

name: test
namespace: default spec:
clusterIP: None
type: ClusterIP

For some background see resolve external IP address ⟨⟩. And A records for services with Load Balancer IP ⟨⟩.

PTR queries for the reverse zone is not supported.

March 2021 CoreDNS