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dnsmeter(1) General Commands Manual dnsmeter(1)


dnsmeter - DNS performance and infrastructure testing


dnsmeter [-h] [-q HOST] [-s NET|pcap] [-e ETH] [-z HOST:PORT] [-p FILE] [-l #] [-t #] [-n #] [-r #] [-d #] [-c FILE] [--ignore]


DNSMeter is a tool for testing performance of nameserver and/or infrastructure around it. It generates dns queries and sends them via UDP to a target nameserver and counts the answers.

- payload can be given as text file or PCAP file
- can automatically run different load steps, which can be given as list or ranges
- results per load step can be stored in CSV file
- sender address can be spoofed from a given network or from PCAP file, if payload is a PCAP file
- answers are counted, even if source address is spoofed, if answers get routed back to the load generator
- roundtrip-times are measured (average, min, mix)
- amount of DNSSEC queries can be given as percentage of total traffic
- optimized for high amount of packets. On an Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2430 v2 @ 2.50GHz it can generate more than 900.000 packets per second


Show option help.
Hostname or IP address of sender if you don't want to spoof (see -s).
Spoof sender address. Use random IP from the given network (example: Only works when running as root! If payload is a PCAP file, you can use -spcap to use the source addresses and ports from the PCAP file.
Interface on which the packet receiver should listen (FreeBSD only).
Hostname or IP address and port of the target nameserver.
File with queries/payload or PCAP file.
Runtime in seconds (default=10 seconds).
Timeout in seconds (default=2 seconds).
Number of worker threads (default=1).
Query rate (Default=as much as possible) can be a single value, a comma separated list (rate,rate,...) or a range and a step value (start - end, step).
Amount of queries in percent on which the DNSSEC-flags are set (default=0).
CSV-file for results.
Answers are ignored and therefor not counted. In this mode the tool only generates traffic.


This section contains additional usage information not covered by the options documentation.

-q HOST | -s NETWORK | -s pcap

Source IP, hostname or network from which the packets should be send. If you dont't want to spoof, use -q with a single IP address or hostname. Use -s followed by a network, if you want to spoof the source address. dnsmeter will generated random IP addresses inside this network. Example: -s

If payload is a PCAP file, you can use the source addresses and ports from the PCAP file, if you use -s pcap.

-e ETH

Ignored on Linux, but on FreeBSD you have to enter the name of the network interface on which the tool should listen for the answers.


File with payload in text format or PCAP file. When using a text format each line must contain one query with name and record type.

Example: A NS

NOTE: the file should not be too big, because it is completely loaded into memory and pre-compiled to DNS query packets.

-n #

Number of worker threads, recommendation:
- less than 200000 packets per second: 1 Thread
- 200000 - 500000 packets per second: 2 Threads
- more than 500000 packets per second: 4 Threads

NOTE: this is CPU dependent! If you have a fast CPU, you may need lesser threads, on a slow CPU you may need more threads. Don't use more threads than cores available on your CPU, minus one!

-r #[,#,#]

Query rate or load steps. Can be a single value if you want to test a specific query rate, a comma separated list or a range with step with.

- Single value: -r 100000
- a list of query rates: -r 10000,20000,30000,40000,50000,60000
- a range with step: -r 10000-200000,10000

-d #

Amount of DNSSEC queries in percentage between 0 and 100. Is ignored, if using PCAP file as payload.


Filename for results in CSV format.

NOTE: if file exists, results are appended!


Lets assume the following scenario:
- load generator runs on FreeBSD
- network interface an which the traffic goes out and comes back is "igb0"
- source ip on the load generator is
- target nameserver has ip, port 53
- we want to spoof the sender address from the network
- the payload file is found here: /home/testdata/payload.txt
- the nameserver is running on CentOS and we need to set a route back to the load generator:
ip route add via
- we want to test the following load steps: 30000,40000,45000,50000,100000,150000
- results should be written to results.csv
- DNSSEC rate should be 70%

This makes the following command:

dnsmeter -p /home/testdata/payload.txt \
-r 30000,40000,45000,50000,100000,150000 \
-s \
-z \
-e igb0 \
-d 70 \
-c results.csv

In the second example, we want to use a PCAP file as payload and want to spoof with the addresses from that file:

dnsmeter -p /home/testdata/pcap.file1 \
-r 30000,40000,45000,50000,100000,150000 \
-s pcap \
-z \
-e igb0 \
-c results_pcap.csv


Patrick Fedick (

Maintained by DNS-OARC


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1.0.2 dnsmeter