Tag Archives: DNS

DNS tracking with Python

For those who have need to keep track of changes (IP address changes and “status”) of a list of DNS hosts/addresses, I wrote a Python script to help with this task.

Please help by providing comments/ideas for improvement/thanks/death-threats in the comments section below.  Ok, maybe not the death-threats. 😉

Download and License

The current version of this script is v1.03, released under the GPL license.  Click here to download it.

This software is licensed under the CC-GNU GPL version 2.0 or later.

What it can do/Features:

  • Keep track of changes (IP addresses, status: existent/gone) to a list of specified domains
  • Resolve many many many domains into a greppable format for you!
  • Multithreaded in Python
  • Does logging to a logfile, and to console at the same time
  • Configurable to a certain extent

How to get and use:

  • Install the PyDNS library found in the Python Package Index, hosted at SourceForge
  • Grab a copy from the download section above and extract the script out
  • Configure the script if you need to (see below)
  • Create a text file named dns-list.txt in the same folder as the dns_tracker.py script, list the DNS hosts that you want to track in the dns-list.txt file, one host per line
  • Run the script from command line: python dns_tracker.py.  The log file written to would be called dns-track.log
  • Profit!
  • You can stop the script by pressing Ctrl-C in the console ONCE.  It will attempt to kill off the waiting threads and exit gracefully.

What you can configure:

  • All the editable options are in the section marked ##Editable options.  Some of the options are…
  • Use system configured resolvers: set ‘use_server’: False,
  • Use a DNS resolver of your choice: set ‘use_server’: True, and also ‘server’: ‘<your resolver>’,
  • The logfile name can be changed too ‘logfile’: ‘dns-track.log’,


    • v1.03 (15 Aug 2010)
  • fixed logging hierarchy!  now we can control console and file log levels!
    • v1.02 (10 Aug 2010)
  • added SERVFAIL to recognise as possible status
  • changed DNS resolving fail behaviour: retry 1min later
  • changed monitoring start behaviour (faster by using threads)
  • orphaned threads will also stop themselves if the main thread’s killed
    • v1.01 (3 Aug 2010)
  • demarcated editable options section (“##Editable options”)
  • changed logging to append instead of overwriting existing log
  • remember that CNAMEs are also extracted for comparison of changes
  • added in minimum delay checks to account for CNAMEs’ TTL being 0
  • adjusted logging levels for logfile, console still outputs everything
    • v1.00 (2 Aug 2010)
  • initial release!


  • Perhaps migrating configurable options out to command line parameters
    or a separate config file?

DNS lookups using Python

Using the PyDNS library found in Python Package Index and hosted at SourceForge, some code snippets for usage:

import DNS
reqobj = DNS.Request(name="blog.rayfoo.info")
resp = reqobj.req()

for i in resp.answers: print i
{'name': 'blog.rayfoo.info', 'data': '',
'typename': 'A', 'classstr': 'IN', 'ttl': 1790, 'type': 1,
'class': 1, 'rdlength': 4}

PDG.py 1.0 - blog.rayfoo.info 1
;; options: recurs
;; got answer:
;; -HEADER- opcode 0, status NOERROR, id 60299
;; flags: qr rd ra; Ques: 1, Ans: 1, Auth: 0, Addit: 0
;;      blog.rayfoo.info, type = A, class = IN

blog.rayfoo.info        1790    A



;; Total query time: 367 msec
;; To SERVER: <sanitized>
;; WHEN: Sat Jul 31 11:06:24 2010

>>> resp.args
{'protocol': 'udp', 'name': 'blog.rayfoo.info',
'server': 'sanitized', 'rd': 1, 'opcode': 0,
'timeout': 30, 'timing': 1, 'elapsed': 367.52486228942871,
'qtype': 1, 'port': 53}

Converting IDNs in Ubuntu

With the start of Internationalized domain names (IDNs) it sparked my interest since it requires conversion to punycode in order to continue working with existing DNS systems/applications, which work with ASCII.

Taking a search through Ubuntu’s APT system, to see whether any IDN related tools are available…

$ apt-cache search punycode

libidn11 - GNU Libidn library, implementation of IETF IDN specifications
libidn11-dev - Development files for GNU Libidn, an IDN library
idn - Command line and Emacs interface to GNU Libidn
libidn11-java - Java port of the GNU Libidn library, an IDN implementation
libidna-punycode-perl - encodes Unicode string in Punycode

There’s the idn package!  Which allows encoding of IDNs in punycode in the command line…

Doing an install…

$ sudo apt-get install idn -y

And trying it out!

$ idn правительство.рф

libidn 1.15
Copyright 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Simon Josefsson.
GNU Libidn comes with NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
You may redistribute copies of GNU Libidn under the terms of
the GNU Lesser General Public License.  For more information
about these matters, see the file named COPYING.LIB.

And resolving the domain…

$ nslookup xn--80aealotwbjpid2k.xn--p1ai

Non-authoritative answer:
Name:	xn--80aealotwbjpid2k.xn--p1ai

Note that resolving the domain directly results in rubbish!

$ nslookup правительство.рф

Non-authoritative answer:
Name:	208191209128208176208178208184209130208181208187209140209129209130208178208190.209128209132

So, basically from this we understand that applications will need to use the punycode encoded version of the IDN, NOT the original IDN, when resolving.  And there’re tools out there already can do that for us.

Since Ubuntu has these packages, Debian would also have the corresponding packages available too.