Getting Started

The PowerDNS Recursor can be installed on any modern unix-like system and is available in the software repositories for all major Linux distributions and BSDs.


The Recursor is available for many platforms, instructions are provided here for several platforms.

note: PowerDNS itself provides repositories for several Recursor versions for different operating systems. Checkout the repositories for more information.

Debian-based distributions

On Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint and related distributions, running apt-get install pdns-recursor as root will install the Recursor.

Enterprise Linux

On Red Hat, CentOS and related distributions, ensure that EPEL is available. To install the PowerDNS Recursor, run yum install pdns-recursor as root.


On FreeBSD the Recursor is available through the ports system. Run pkg install powerdns-recursor as root to install.

To compile yourself from ports, run cd /usr/ports/dns/powerdns-recursor/ && make install clean.

From Source

See Compiling the PowerDNS Recursor for instructions on how to build the PowerDNS Recursor from source.

Configuring the Recursor

The configuration file is called recursor.conf and is located in the SYSCONFDIR defined at compile-time. This is usually /etc/powerdns, /etc/pdns, /etc/pdns-recursor, /usr/local/etc or similar.

Run pdns_recursor --config=default | grep config-dir to find this location on you installation.

The PowerDNS Recursor listens on the local loopback interface by default, this can be changed with the local-address setting.

Now access will need to be granted to the Recursor. The allow-from setting lists the subnets that can communicate with the Recursor.

An example configuration is shown below. Change this to match the local infrastructure.

local-address=, 2001:DB8::1:25
allow-from=, 2001:DB8::1:/64

After a restart of the Recursor, it will answer queries on and 2001:DB8::1:25, but only for queries with a source address in the and 2001:DB8::1:/64 networks.

The recursor is now ready to be used. For more options that can be set in recursor.conf see the list of settings. Guidance on interaction with the Recursor is documented in operating the PowerDNS recursor. If dynamic answer generation is needed or policies need to be applied to queries, the scripting manual will come in handy.

Using Ansible

The PowerDNS Recursor can also be installed and configured with Ansible. There is a role available from the PowerDNS authors.