Nameserver responses from different IP than destination of request

Puneet Sood puneets at
Fri Aug 28 22:24:40 UTC 2020


We (Google Public DNS) have noticed some instances of nameserver
responses for a query coming from a different IP. Our initial plan was
to consider these responses invalid and discard them. However after
reading the text in RFC 1035 and the update in RFC 2181, we wanted to
check what other recursive resolvers are seeing and how they are
handling such responses.

RFC 1035 section 7.3 (
     Some name servers send their responses from different
     addresses than the one used to receive the query.  That is, a
     resolver cannot rely that a response will come from the same
     address which it sent the corresponding query to.  This name
     server bug is typically encountered in UNIX systems.

RFC 2181 (
   Most, if not all, DNS clients, expect the address from which a reply
   is received to be the same address as that to which the query
   eliciting the reply was sent.  This is true for servers acting as
   clients for the purposes of recursive query resolution, as well as
   simple resolver clients.  The address, along with the identifier (ID)
   in the reply is used for disambiguating replies, and filtering
   spurious responses.  This may, or may not, have been intended when
   the DNS was designed, but is now a fact of life.

   Some multi-homed hosts running DNS servers generate a reply using a
   source address that is not the same as the destination address from
   the client's request packet.  Such replies will be discarded by the
   client because the source address of the reply does not match that of
   a host to which the client sent the original request.  That is, it
   appears to be an unsolicited response.

Couple of observations:
1. The difference between original and response nameserver IP happens
for a small percentage of total queries (< 0.1%).
2. Where the original and response nameserver IPs are different,
manual analysis of the top few response IPs showed that both IPs are
on the same operator's network. So these are likely responses from the
operator's DNS servers.

We would be interested in hearing other operator's experience here.
Are recursive servers seeing similar behavior from authoritative
servers? If yes, are you discarding these responses?
Are there authoritative server operators who still need the
flexibility afforded by RFC 1035?


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