GeoIP backend

  • Native: Yes
  • Master: No
  • Slave: No
  • Superslave: No
  • DNSSEC: Yes
  • Disabled data: No
  • Comments: No
  • Module name: geoip
  • Launch name: geoip

This backend allows visitors to be sent to a server closer to them, with no appreciable delay, as would otherwise be incurred with a protocol level redirect. Additionally, the Geo Backend can be used to provide service over several clusters, any of which can be taken out of use easily, for example for maintenance purposes. This backend can utilize EDNS Client Subnet extension for decision making, if provided in query and you have turned on edns-subnet-processing.


To compile the backend, you need libyaml-cpp 0.5 or later and libgeoip.

You must have geoip database available. As of writing, on debian/ubuntu systems, you can use apt-get install geoip-database to get one, and the backend is configured to use the location where these files are installed as source. On other systems you might need to alter the database-file and database-file6 attribute. If you don’t need ipv4 or ipv6 support, set the respective setting to “”. Leaving it unset leaves it pointing to default location, preventing the software from starting up.

Since v4.2.0 libgeoip is optional. You can use also libmaxminddb, but that is optional too. If no geo backend is provided, no geoip database based expansions can be used. Other expansions will work.

Configuration Parameters

These are the configuration file parameters that are available for the GeoIP backend. geoip-zones-files is the only thing you must set, if the defaults suite you.


Changed in version 4.2.0: This option has been changed since v4.2.0

Comma, tab or space separated list of files to open. You can use geoip-cvs-to-dat to generate your own.

For MMDB files, see <>

Since v4.2.0, database type is determined by file suffix, or you can use new syntax. New syntax is [driver:]path[;options].

Currently supported options for dat driver (legacy libGeoIP):
  • mode=standard, memory, index or mmap
Currently supported options for mmdb driver (libmaxminddb):
  • mode=mmap
  • language=en (which language to use)

geoip-database-cache (before v4.2.0)

Deprecated since version 4.2.0: This setting is removed

Specifies the kind of caching that is done on the database. This is one of “standard”, “memory”, “index” or “mmap”. These options map to the caching options described here


Specifies the full path of the zone configuration file to use.


Specifies the full path of a directory that will contain DNSSEC keys. This option enables DNSSEC on the backend. Keys can be created/managed with pdnsutil, and the backend stores these keys in files with key flags and active/disabled state encoded in the key filenames.

Zonefile format

Zone configuration file uses YAML syntax. Here is simple example. Note that the ‐ before certain keys is part of the syntax.

- domain:
  ttl: 30
      - soa: 2014090125 7200 3600 1209600 3600
      - ns:
           ttl: 600
      - ns:
      - mx: 10
      - a:
      - txt: hello world
      - aaaa: 2001:DB8::12:34DE:3
# this will result first record being handed out 30% of time
      - a:
           weight: 50
      - a:
# syntax 1 ''
# syntax 2 [ '', '']
# alternative syntax
      default: [ '', '' ] ''

Keys explained

  • domains: Mandatory root key. All configuration is below this
  • domain: Defines a domain. You need ttl, records, services under this.
  • ttl: TTL value for all records
  • records: Put fully qualified name as subkey, under which you must define at least soa: key. Note that this is an array of records, so ‐ is needed for the values.
  • services: Defines one or more services for querying.
  • From 4.2.0, you can also use %lat, %lon, %loc to expand for geographic location, if available in backend. %loc in particular can be safely used with LOC record type.
  • From 4.2.0, you can also use %ip4 and %ip6 that will expand to the IP address when AFI matches, and empty otherwise. Can be particularly used with A and AAAA record types.
  • From 4.1.0, you can also use %cc = 2 letter country code
  • From 4.0.0, you can also use %as = ASn, %ip = Remote IP
  • From 4.0.0, you can also use additional specifiers. These are %hh = hour, %dd = day, %mo = month, %mos = month as short string, %wd = weekday (as number), %wds weekday as short string.
  • From 4.0.0, scopeMask is set to most specific value, in case of date/time modifiers it will be 32 or 128, but with the others it is set to what geoip says it used for matching.
  • From 4.0.0, You can add per-network overrides for format, they will be formatted with the same placeholders as default. Default is short-hand for adding and ::/0. Default is default when only string is given for service name.
  • From 4.0.0, You can use array to specify return values, works only if you have those records specified. It matches the format results to your records, and if it finds match that is used. Otherwise the last is returned.
  • From 4.0.0, You can apply all the attributes for the content of static records too.
  • From 4.0.0, You can use record attributes to set TTL.
  • From 4.0.0, You can use record attributes to define weight. If this is given, only one record is chosen randomly based on the weight. DO NOT mix record types for these. It will not work. PROBABILITY is calculated by summing up the weights and dividing each weight with the sum. WARNING: If you use ip or time/date specifiers, caching will be disabled for that RR completely. That means, if you have a - a: - txt: “your ip is %ip”

then caching will not happen for any records of If you need to use TXT for debugging, make sure you use dedicated name for it.

Since v4.1.0 you can mix service and static records to produce the sum of these records, including apex record.

Format explained

Following placeholders are supported, and support subnet caching with EDNS. - %%: % - %co: With legacy GeoIP database only expands to three letter country name,

with MMDB and others this will expand into ISO3166 country code.
  • %cc: ISO3166 country code.
  • %cn: ISO3166 continent code.
  • %af: v4 or v6.
  • %re: Region code
  • %na: AS organization name (spaces are converted to _)
  • %as: AS number
  • %ci: City name
  • %loc: LOC record style expansion of location
  • %lat: Decimal degree latitude
  • %lon: Decimal degree longitude

Following placeholders disable caching completely. - %yy: Year - %mos: Month name - %mo: Month - %wds: Weekday name - %wd: Weekday - %dd: Year day - %hh: Hour - %ip: IP address - %ip4: IPv4 address - %ip6: IPv6 address


Before 4.2.0 if record expanded to empty value it could cause SERVFAIL. Since 4.2.0 such expansions for non-TXT record types are not included in response.


If the record which a service points to exists under “records” then it is returned as a direct answer. If it does not exist under “records” then it is returned as a CNAME.


If your services match wildcard records in your zone file then these will be returned as CNAMEs. This will only be an issue if you are trying to use a service record at the apex of your domain where you need other record types to be present (such as NS and SOA records.) Per RFC 2181, CNAME records cannot appear in the same label as NS or SOA records.