Debugging DNS Resolution

This page provides hints on diagnosing DNS problems.

Before you begin

You need to have a Kubernetes cluster, and the kubectl command-line tool must be configured to communicate with your cluster. It is recommended to run this tutorial on a cluster with at least two nodes that are not acting as control plane hosts. If you do not already have a cluster, you can create one by using minikube or you can use one of these Kubernetes playgrounds:

Your cluster must be configured to use the CoreDNS addon or its precursor, kube-dns.

Your Kubernetes server must be at or later than version v1.6. To check the version, enter kubectl version.

Create a simple Pod to use as a test environment

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: dnsutils
  namespace: default
  - name: dnsutils
      - sleep
      - "infinity"
    imagePullPolicy: IfNotPresent
  restartPolicy: Always

Use that manifest to create a Pod:

kubectl apply -f
pod/dnsutils created

…and verify its status:

kubectl get pods dnsutils
dnsutils   1/1       Running   0          <some-time>

Once that Pod is running, you can exec nslookup in that environment. If you see something like the following, DNS is working correctly.

kubectl exec -i -t dnsutils -- nslookup kubernetes.default
Address 1:

Name:      kubernetes.default
Address 1:

If the nslookup command fails, check the following:

Check the local DNS configuration first

Take a look inside the resolv.conf file. (See Customizing DNS Service and Known issues below for more information)

kubectl exec -ti dnsutils -- cat /etc/resolv.conf

Verify that the search path and name server are set up like the following (note that search path may vary for different cloud providers):

search default.svc.cluster.local svc.cluster.local cluster.local google.internal c.gce_project_id.internal
options ndots:5

Errors such as the following indicate a problem with the CoreDNS (or kube-dns) add-on or with associated Services:

kubectl exec -i -t dnsutils -- nslookup kubernetes.default
Address 1:

nslookup: can't resolve 'kubernetes.default'


kubectl exec -i -t dnsutils -- nslookup kubernetes.default
Address 1: kube-dns.kube-system.svc.cluster.local

nslookup: can't resolve 'kubernetes.default'

Check if the DNS pod is running

Use the kubectl get pods command to verify that the DNS pod is running.

kubectl get pods --namespace=kube-system -l k8s-app=kube-dns
NAME                       READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
coredns-7b96bf9f76-5hsxb   1/1       Running   0           1h
coredns-7b96bf9f76-mvmmt   1/1       Running   0           1h

If you see that no CoreDNS Pod is running or that the Pod has failed/completed, the DNS add-on may not be deployed by default in your current environment and you will have to deploy it manually.

Check for errors in the DNS pod

Use the kubectl logs command to see logs for the DNS containers.

For CoreDNS:

kubectl logs --namespace=kube-system -l k8s-app=kube-dns

Here is an example of a healthy CoreDNS log:

2018/08/15 14:37:17 [INFO] CoreDNS-1.2.2
2018/08/15 14:37:17 [INFO] linux/amd64, go1.10.3, 2e322f6
linux/amd64, go1.10.3, 2e322f6
2018/08/15 14:37:17 [INFO] plugin/reload: Running configuration MD5 = 24e6c59e83ce706f07bcc82c31b1ea1c

See if there are any suspicious or unexpected messages in the logs.

Is DNS service up?

Verify that the DNS service is up by using the kubectl get service command.

kubectl get svc --namespace=kube-system
NAME         TYPE        CLUSTER-IP     EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)             AGE
kube-dns     ClusterIP      <none>        53/UDP,53/TCP        1h

If you have created the Service or in the case it should be created by default but it does not appear, see debugging Services for more information.

Are DNS endpoints exposed?

You can verify that DNS endpoints are exposed by using the kubectl get endpoints command.

kubectl get endpoints kube-dns --namespace=kube-system
NAME       ENDPOINTS                       AGE
kube-dns,    1h

If you do not see the endpoints, see the endpoints section in the debugging Services documentation.

For additional Kubernetes DNS examples, see the cluster-dns examples in the Kubernetes GitHub repository.

Are DNS queries being received/processed?

You can verify if queries are being received by CoreDNS by adding the log plugin to the CoreDNS configuration (aka Corefile). The CoreDNS Corefile is held in a ConfigMap named coredns. To edit it, use the command:

kubectl -n kube-system edit configmap coredns

Then add log in the Corefile section per the example below:

apiVersion: v1
kind: ConfigMap
  name: coredns
  namespace: kube-system
  Corefile: |
    .:53 {
        kubernetes cluster.local {
          pods insecure
        prometheus :9153
        forward . /etc/resolv.conf
        cache 30

After saving the changes, it may take up to minute or two for Kubernetes to propagate these changes to the CoreDNS pods.

Next, make some queries and view the logs per the sections above in this document. If CoreDNS pods are receiving the queries, you should see them in the logs.

Here is an example of a query in the log:

2018/08/15 14:37:15 [INFO] CoreDNS-1.2.0
2018/08/15 14:37:15 [INFO] linux/amd64, go1.10.3, 2e322f6
linux/amd64, go1.10.3, 2e322f6
2018/09/07 15:29:04 [INFO] plugin/reload: Running configuration MD5 = 162475cdf272d8aa601e6fe67a6ad42f
2018/09/07 15:29:04 [INFO] Reloading complete - [07/Sep/2018:15:29:11 +0000] 59925 "A IN kubernetes.default.svc.cluster.local. udp 54 false 512" NOERROR qr,aa,rd,ra 106 0.000066649s

Does CoreDNS have sufficient permissions?

CoreDNS must be able to list service and endpoint related resources to properly resolve service names.

Sample error message:

2022-03-18T07:12:15.699431183Z [INFO] - 3686 "A IN udp 52 false 512" SERVFAIL qr,aa,rd 145 0.000091221s

First, get the current ClusterRole of system:coredns:

kubectl describe clusterrole system:coredns -n kube-system

Expected output:

  Resources                        Non-Resource URLs  Resource Names  Verbs
  ---------                        -----------------  --------------  -----
  endpoints                        []                 []              [list watch]
  namespaces                       []                 []              [list watch]
  pods                             []                 []              [list watch]
  services                         []                 []              [list watch]  []                 []              [list watch]

If any permissions are missing, edit the ClusterRole to add them:

kubectl edit clusterrole system:coredns -n kube-system

Example insertion of EndpointSlices permissions:

- apiGroups:
  - endpointslices
  - list
  - watch

Are you in the right namespace for the service?

DNS queries that don't specify a namespace are limited to the pod's namespace.

If the namespace of the pod and service differ, the DNS query must include the namespace of the service.

This query is limited to the pod's namespace:

kubectl exec -i -t dnsutils -- nslookup <service-name>

This query specifies the namespace:

kubectl exec -i -t dnsutils -- nslookup <service-name>.<namespace>

To learn more about name resolution, see DNS for Services and Pods.

Known issues

Some Linux distributions (e.g. Ubuntu) use a local DNS resolver by default (systemd-resolved). Systemd-resolved moves and replaces /etc/resolv.conf with a stub file that can cause a fatal forwarding loop when resolving names in upstream servers. This can be fixed manually by using kubelet's --resolv-conf flag to point to the correct resolv.conf (With systemd-resolved, this is /run/systemd/resolve/resolv.conf). kubeadm automatically detects systemd-resolved, and adjusts the kubelet flags accordingly.

Kubernetes installs do not configure the nodes' resolv.conf files to use the cluster DNS by default, because that process is inherently distribution-specific. This should probably be implemented eventually.

Linux's libc (a.k.a. glibc) has a limit for the DNS nameserver records to 3 by default and Kubernetes needs to consume 1 nameserver record. This means that if a local installation already uses 3 nameservers, some of those entries will be lost. To work around this limit, the node can run dnsmasq, which will provide more nameserver entries. You can also use kubelet's --resolv-conf flag.

If you are using Alpine version 3.17 or earlier as your base image, DNS may not work properly due to a design issue with Alpine. Until musl version 1.24 didn't include TCP fallback to the DNS stub resolver meaning any DNS call above 512 bytes would fail. Please upgrade your images to Alpine version 3.18 or above.

What's next

Last modified August 24, 2023 at 6:38 PM PST: Use code_sample shortcode instead of code shortcode (e8b136c3b3)