How to easily set up a DNS over the Nginx TLS Resolver on Ubuntu


    This tutorial shall be displaying you tips on how to arrange your individual DNS over TLS (DoT) resolver on Ubuntu with Nginx, so your DNS queries could be encrypted and shielded from prying eyes.

    What’s DNS over TLS and Why It’s Vital

    DNS (Area Title System) is liable for translating domains to IP addresses. It’s designed in 1987 with no safety or privateness in thoughts. By default DNS queries are usually not encrypted. They’re despatched in plain textual content on the wire and could be exploited by center entities. For instance, the Nice Firewall of China (GFW) makes use of a method referred to as DNS cache poison to censor the Chinese language Web. (In addition they use different strategies, that are past the scope of this text.)

    GFW checks each DNS question that’s despatched to a DNS server exterior of China. Since plain textual content DNS protocol is predicated on UDP, which is a connection-less protocol, GFW can spoof each the consumer IP and server IP. When GFW finds a website identify on its block record, it adjustments the DNS response. As an illustration, if a Chinese language Web person desires to go to, GFW returns an IP tackle positioned in China as a substitute of Google’s actual IP tackle, to the person’s DNS resolver. Then the DNS resolver returns the pretend IP tackle to the person’s pc, so the person can not go to

    DNS over TLS implies that DNS queries are despatched over a safe connection encrypted with TLS, the identical know-how that encrypts HTTP site visitors.

    Set Up a DNS over TLS Resolver with Nginx on Ubuntu

    Why Run Your Personal DoT Resolver?

    There are already some public DNS resolvers like and that helps DNS over TLS, so you should use them should you don’t have the ability or time to run your individual. Nonetheless, some people argue that this nonetheless permits large DNS servcie suppliers to assemble data on customers. They appear to have extra belief of their ISP. However I feel if you’re paranoid about privateness, you need to run your individual DoT resolver, so neither large DNS service suppliers nor your ISP can spy on you.

    At the moment, not all DNS resolvers (BIND, Unbound, Knot resolver, PowerDNS recursor, and so forth) assist DNS over TLS. As a substitute of creating a information for a particular resolver, I’m going to indicate you tips on how to arrange Nginx TLS proxy to your current DNS resolver to supply DoT service, so it doesn’t matter what DNS resolver you might be utilizing, you’ll be able to comply with this tutorial.


    It’s assumed that you’ve a DNS resolver operating in your Ubuntu server. You need to use any DNS resolver (BIND, Unbound, Knot resolver…) I personally use BIND.

    You additionally want a website identify, as a result of DNS purchasers might want to set up safe TLS reference to our DNS resolver. I registered my area identify from NameCheap as a result of the worth is low they usually give whois privateness safety free for all times.

    When you meet the above necessities, comply with the directions under.

    Step 1: Set up Nginx on Ubuntu Server

    It’s very simple to do. Merely run the next command.

    sudo apt set up nginx

    Step 2: Acquire a Trusted TLS Certificates from Let’s Encrypt

    DNS over TLS requires putting in a TLS certificates on the server-side. We are going to get hold of and set up Let’s Encrypt certificates. The benefit of utilizing Let’s Encrypt certificates is that it’s free, simpler to arrange, and trusted by consumer software program.

    Run the next instructions to put in Let’s Encrypt consumer (certbot) from the default Ubuntu repository.

    sudo apt set up certbot

    To acquire a Let’s Encrypt TLS certificates, we are able to create a Nginx digital host with the next command. Repalce with your individual area identify. Don’t overlook to create DNS A document for this sub-domain.

    sudo nano /and so forth/nginx/conf.d/

    Copy the next textual content and paste it into the digital host file.

    server {
    hear 80;

    root /usr/share/nignx/html/;

    location ~ /.well-known/acme-challenge

    Save and shut the file. Reload Nginx for the adjustments to take impact.

    sudo systemctl reload nginx

    As soon as digital host is created and enabled, run the next command to acquire Let’s Encrypt certificates utilizing webroot plugin.

    sudo certbot certonly –webroot –agree-tos –email [email protected] -d -w /usr/share/nginx/html/

    Step 3: Create DNS over TLS Proxy in Nginx

    Edit the Nginx predominant configuration file.

    sudo nano /and so forth/nginx/nginx.conf

    Add the next strains on the backside of this file. Be aware that they should be positioned exterior of the http context.

    stream {
    # DNS upstream pool
    upstream dns

    # DoT server for decryption
    hear 853 ssl;
    ssl_certificate /and so forth/letsencrypt/dwell/;
    ssl_certificate_key /and so forth/letsencrypt/dwell/;
    proxy_pass dns;


    Within the above configuration, we make Nginx terminate TLS connection on port 853, then it should redirect DNS requests to the native DNS resolver listening on

    Save and shut the file. Then take a look at Nginx configuration and restart.

    sudo nginx -t
    sudo systemctl restart nginx

    If there’s a firewall operating on Ubuntu server, you want to open TCP port 853. For instance, should you use the UFW firewall, run the next command.

    sudo ufw enable 853/tcp

    Since we’re utilizing DNS over TLS, there’s no want to fret about DNS amplification assault.

    Step 5: Configure the Stubby DoT Shopper on Ubuntu Desktop

    Stubby is an open-source DNS stub resolver developed by the getdns group. A stub resolver is a small DNS consumer on the end-user’s pc that receives DNS requests from functions resembling Firefox and ahead requests to a recursive resolver like or Stubby is particular in that it helps DNS over TLS. By default, it should solely ship DNS requests encrypted.

    Set up Stubby on Ubuntu desktop from the default repository.

    sudo apt set up stubby

    As soon as put in, stubby runs within the background. test its standing with:

    systemctl standing stubby

    Stubby listens on TCP and UDP port 53 of localhost ( By default, Stubby makes use of third-party DNS over TLS resolvers. We have to configure it to make use of our personal.

    sudo nano /and so forth/stubby/stubby.yml

    Scroll right down to the upstream_recursive_servers: part and add the next textual content above different DNS servers. Change with the IP tackle of your DoT resolver.

    # My Personal DNS over TLS resolver
    – address_data:
    tls_auth_name: “”

    configure stubby to use dns over tls resolver

    Then discover the next line:

    round_robin_upstreams: 1

    Change 1 to 0. It will make stubby at all times use your individual DNS over TLS resolver. If it’s not obtainable, stubby will use different DNS servers. Save the file and restart stubby for the adjustments to take impact.

    sudo systemctl restart stubby

    Step 6: Configure Ubuntu Desktop to Use Stubby

    Though Stubby is operating, it’s not being utilized by the working system. Click on the Community Supervisor icon on the upper-right nook of your desktop. Then choose wired settings. (In case you are utilizing Wi-fi, choose Wi-fi settings.)

    encrypt dns

    Click on the gear button.

    cloudflare dns over tls

    Choose IPv4 tab, then in DNS settings, swap Automated to OFF, which is able to stop your Ubuntu system from getting DNS server tackle out of your router. Enter within the DNS area. Click on Apply button to save lots of your adjustments.

    dns over tls port 853

    Then restart NetworkManager for the adjustments to take impact.

    sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager

    As soon as you might be reconnected, you’ll be able to see that your Ubuntu system is now utilizing because the DNS server within the Particulars tab.

    stub resolver dns over tls

    How you can Verify if Your DNS Visitors is Encrypted

    We are able to use WireShark to watch DNS site visitors. Set up WireShark on Ubuntu desktop.

    sudo apt set up wireshark

    In case you are requested “Ought to non-superusers have the ability to seize packets?”, reply Sure. As soon as it’s put in, run the next command so as to add your person account to the wireshark group so to seize packets.

    sudo adduser your-username wireshark

    Log off and log again in for the adjustments to take impact. Then open WireShark out of your utility menu, choose your community interface in WireShark. For instance, my Ethernet interface identify is enp5s0. Then enter port 853 because the seize filter. It will make WireShark solely seize site visitors on port 853, which is the port utilized by DNS over TLS.

    ubuntu 18.04 stubby

    Click on the button on the upper-left nook to start out capturing. After that, in terminal window, run the next command to question area identify by utilizing the dig utility. As an illustration, I can question the A document of my area identify.

    dig A

    Now you’ll be able to see the captured DNS site visitors in WireShark. Connections had been remodeled TCP and encrypted with TLS, which is what we wish. It’s best to test if the Vacation spot column consists of the IP tackle of your DoT resolver.

    secure dns

    If DNS queries are despatched with out encryption, then the pc would contact DNS server on port 53. You may seize packets once more with port 53 because the seize filter, however you received’t see any packets in WireShark, which suggests stubby is encrypting your DNS queries.

    Wrapping Up

    I hope this tutorial helped you arrange a DNS over TLS resolver with Nginx on Ubuntu. As at all times, should you discovered this put up helpful, then subscribe to our free e-newsletter to get extra suggestions and tips. Take care 🙂

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