Home » How to troubleshoot DNS with systemd-resolved?

How to troubleshoot DNS with systemd-resolved?


Very helpful for troubleshooting is also:

journalctl -u systemd-resolved -f

There you can see what systemd-resolved is really doing.
In my case it was not contacting the DNS servers that were reported via systemd-resolve --status at all.
If it’s doing weird things like that, then somtimes a restart via sudo systemctl restart systemd-resolved is a good idea.


In order to get more information from resolved you need to put


into the override.conf of systemd-resolved via

sudo systemctl edit systemd-resolved

Restart to take effect:

sudo systemctl restart systemd-resolved

Use resolvectl status (systemd-resolve --status when using systemd version earlier than 239) to show your global and per-link DNS settings.

The resolv.conf file

The manual says:

The resolver is a set of routines in the C library that provide access to the Internet Domain Name System (DNS). The resolver config file contains information that is read by the resolver routines the first time they are invoked by a process.

If this file does not exist, only the name server on the local machine will be queried, and the search list contains the local domain name determined from the hostname.


On Ubuntu 20.04, systemd-resolved is a local DNS server included with systemd that acts as a stub resolver and it should automatically edit /etc/resolv.conf with the correct config.

On older versions you might need to manually symlink it with the following:

$ sudo ln -sf /run/systemd/resolve/stub-resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf

By default, systemd-resolved configures a local DNS server listening at on port 53 and you can run lsof -i @ to verify. Make sure you do not have any other service like dnsmasq listening to the same address and port.

Note that is the loopback interface but you can have another DNS server listening on port 53 at another IP address on the loopback interface, like or

If it does not work, try the following:

$ sudo ln -sf /run/systemd/resolve/resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf

This file contains DNS servers from DHCP leases but be aware that you will not benefit from the stub resolver caching feature.

dnsmasq with NetworkManager

The dnsmasq lightweight caching DNS server accepts DNS queries and either answers them from a small, local, cache or forwards them to a real, recursive, DNS server.

This is very good to have a little DNS service to test local websites for a web development machine.

First, verify that NetworkManager manages your current interface (wlp0s20f3 in my case):

$ nmcli dev
$ nmcli dev set wlp0s20f3 managed yes

Now you can enable the NetworkManager built-in dnsmasq resolver:

$ cat /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf

You can now benefit from the flexibility of NetworkManager along dnsmasq, whose config is located in /etc/NetworkManager/dnsmasq.d:

$ cat /etc/NetworkManager/dnsmasq.d/custom.conf
# Resolve all domains ending in .dev to

Do not forget to disable the system-wide dnsmasq service if present and apply your changes:

$ sudo systemctl stop dnsmasq.service && sudo systemctl disable dnsmasq.service
$ sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager.service

If for some reasons you prefer to have dnsmasq running separately, you must first prevent NetworkManager from overriding /etc/resolv.conf:

$ cat /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf

Now you must tell dnsmasq to get its upstream servers from somewhere other that /etc/resolv.conf:

$ cat /etc/dnsmasq.conf

This file is generated by NetworkManager and also contains DNS servers from DHCP leases. Now configure dnsmasq for resolving:

$ cat /etc/resolv.conf
# Use local dnsmasq resolver

Configure your own local DNS settings:

$ cat /etc/dnsmasq.d/custom.conf
# Resolve all domains ending in .dev to

Apply your new config:

$ sudo systemctl stop systemd-resolved.service && sudo systemctl disable systemd-resolved.service
$ sudo systemctl restart dnsmasq.service

dnsmasq with systemd-networkd

Unfortunately it is not as easy as with NetworkManager and this is due to the fact that systemd-networkd does not expose a file with DNS nameservers obtained from DHCP servers as this is managed by systemd-resolved instead.

This is also the case if you use the quite deprecated ifupdown package.

Open the man for dhclient-script:

$ man 8 dhclient-script

The HOOKS section says:

When it starts, the client script first defines a shell function, make_resolv_conf, which is later used to create the /etc/resolv.conf file. To override the default behaviour, redefine this function in the enter hook script.

So if you still want to use dnsmasq along systemd-networkd you will need to redefine make_resolv_conf to create a resolv-file for dnsmasq so that it can get its upstream servers from your DHCP settings.

The resolvconf package provides a wrapper interface around the different daemons involved in populating /etc/resolv.conf and you can use it to configure the make_resolv_conf behavior.

The same problem also happens if you need to obtain the IPv6 upstream servers from RDNSS in Router Advertisement messages (see Neighbor Discovery Protocol) as this is also managed by systemd-resolved.

Try the following command from the ndisc6 package:

$ rdisc6 wlp0s20f3

You should see various information coming from your router, including your IPv6 address prefix and DNS servers. If you do not see anything, your router may not support it.

The rdisc6 program implements the ICMPv6 Router Discovery in userland, using NETLINK_ROUTE sockets for which RDNSS support was added in Linux kernel 2.6.24. If you want to support older versions, you have no choices but to interact with the device driver at OSI Layer 2, using SOCK_RAW sockets.

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