DNS Query Code in C with linux sockets

This article is an extension of the article :

http://www.binarytides.com/blog/dns-query-code-in-c-with-winsock/

The Linux version has some changes. On Linux the dns server ips are stored in a file called /etc/resolv.conf.
So the get_dns_servers function will open this file and pickup the dns server ip addresses.

A typical /etc/resolv.conf file can look like this :

# Generated by NetworkManager
nameserver 208.67.222.222
nameserver 208.67.220.220

So the lines starting with nameserver can be picked up and broken into parts using strtok.

Rest of the code is very much similar to the winsock version. A udp socket is used to send a UDP packet and the response is analysed.

Code :


//DNS Query Program on Linux
//Author : Silver Moon ([email protected])
//Dated : 29/4/2009

//Header Files
#include<stdio.h>	//printf
#include<string.h>	//strlen
#include<stdlib.h>	//malloc
#include<sys/socket.h>	//you know what this is for
#include<arpa/inet.h>	//inet_addr , inet_ntoa , ntohs etc
#include<netinet/in.h>
#include<unistd.h>	//getpid

//List of DNS Servers registered on the system
char dns_servers[10][100];
int dns_server_count = 0;
//Types of DNS resource records :)

#define T_A 1 //Ipv4 address
#define T_NS 2 //Nameserver
#define T_CNAME 5 // canonical name
#define T_SOA 6 /* start of authority zone */
#define T_PTR 12 /* domain name pointer */
#define T_MX 15 //Mail server

//Function Prototypes
void ngethostbyname (unsigned char* , int);
void ChangetoDnsNameFormat (unsigned char*,unsigned char*);
unsigned char* ReadName (unsigned char*,unsigned char*,int*);
void get_dns_servers();

//DNS header structure
struct DNS_HEADER
{
	unsigned short id; // identification number

	unsigned char rd :1; // recursion desired
	unsigned char tc :1; // truncated message
	unsigned char aa :1; // authoritive answer
	unsigned char opcode :4; // purpose of message
	unsigned char qr :1; // query/response flag

	unsigned char rcode :4; // response code
	unsigned char cd :1; // checking disabled
	unsigned char ad :1; // authenticated data
	unsigned char z :1; // its z! reserved
	unsigned char ra :1; // recursion available

	unsigned short q_count; // number of question entries
	unsigned short ans_count; // number of answer entries
	unsigned short auth_count; // number of authority entries
	unsigned short add_count; // number of resource entries
};

//Constant sized fields of query structure
struct QUESTION
{
	unsigned short qtype;
	unsigned short qclass;
};

//Constant sized fields of the resource record structure
#pragma pack(push, 1)
struct R_DATA
{
	unsigned short type;
	unsigned short _class;
	unsigned int ttl;
	unsigned short data_len;
};
#pragma pack(pop)

//Pointers to resource record contents
struct RES_RECORD
{
	unsigned char *name;
	struct R_DATA *resource;
	unsigned char *rdata;
};

//Structure of a Query
typedef struct
{
	unsigned char *name;
	struct QUESTION *ques;
} QUERY;

int main( int argc , char *argv[])
{
	unsigned char hostname[100];

	//Get the DNS servers from the resolv.conf file
	get_dns_servers();
	
	//Get the hostname from the terminal
	printf("Enter Hostname to Lookup : ");
	scanf("%s" , hostname);
	
	//Now get the ip of this hostname , A record
	ngethostbyname(hostname , T_A);

	return 0;
}

/*
 * Perform a DNS query by sending a packet
 * */
void ngethostbyname(unsigned char *host , int query_type)
{
	unsigned char buf[65536],*qname,*reader;
	int i , j , stop , s;

	struct sockaddr_in a;

	struct RES_RECORD answers[20],auth[20],addit[20]; //the replies from the DNS server
	struct sockaddr_in dest;

	struct DNS_HEADER *dns = NULL;
	struct QUESTION *qinfo = NULL;

	printf("Resolving %s" , host);

	s = socket(AF_INET , SOCK_DGRAM , IPPROTO_UDP); //UDP packet for DNS queries

	dest.sin_family = AF_INET;
	dest.sin_port = htons(53);
	dest.sin_addr.s_addr = inet_addr(dns_servers[0]); //dns servers

	//Set the DNS structure to standard queries
	dns = (struct DNS_HEADER *)&buf;

	dns->id = (unsigned short) htons(getpid());
	dns->qr = 0; //This is a query
	dns->opcode = 0; //This is a standard query
	dns->aa = 0; //Not Authoritative
	dns->tc = 0; //This message is not truncated
	dns->rd = 1; //Recursion Desired
	dns->ra = 0; //Recursion not available! hey we dont have it (lol)
	dns->z = 0;
	dns->ad = 0;
	dns->cd = 0;
	dns->rcode = 0;
	dns->q_count = htons(1); //we have only 1 question
	dns->ans_count = 0;
	dns->auth_count = 0;
	dns->add_count = 0;

	//point to the query portion
	qname =(unsigned char*)&buf[sizeof(struct DNS_HEADER)];

	ChangetoDnsNameFormat(qname , host);
	qinfo =(struct QUESTION*)&buf[sizeof(struct DNS_HEADER) + (strlen((const char*)qname) + 1)]; //fill it

	qinfo->qtype = htons( query_type ); //type of the query , A , MX , CNAME , NS etc
	qinfo->qclass = htons(1); //its internet (lol)

	printf("\nSending Packet...");
	if( sendto(s,(char*)buf,sizeof(struct DNS_HEADER) + (strlen((const char*)qname)+1) + sizeof(struct QUESTION),0,(struct sockaddr*)&dest,sizeof(dest)) < 0)
	{
		perror("sendto failed");
	}
	printf("Done");
	
	//Receive the answer
	i = sizeof dest;
	printf("\nReceiving answer...");
	if(recvfrom (s,(char*)buf , 65536 , 0 , (struct sockaddr*)&dest , (socklen_t*)&i ) < 0)
	{
		perror("recvfrom failed");
	}
	printf("Done");

	dns = (struct DNS_HEADER*) buf;

	//move ahead of the dns header and the query field
	reader = &buf[sizeof(struct DNS_HEADER) + (strlen((const char*)qname)+1) + sizeof(struct QUESTION)];

	printf("\nThe response contains : ");
	printf("\n %d Questions.",ntohs(dns->q_count));
	printf("\n %d Answers.",ntohs(dns->ans_count));
	printf("\n %d Authoritative Servers.",ntohs(dns->auth_count));
	printf("\n %d Additional records.\n\n",ntohs(dns->add_count));

	//Start reading answers
	stop=0;

	for(i=0;i<ntohs(dns->ans_count);i++)
	{
		answers[i].name=ReadName(reader,buf,&stop);
		reader = reader + stop;

		answers[i].resource = (struct R_DATA*)(reader);
		reader = reader + sizeof(struct R_DATA);

		if(ntohs(answers[i].resource->type) == 1) //if its an ipv4 address
		{
			answers[i].rdata = (unsigned char*)malloc(ntohs(answers[i].resource->data_len));

			for(j=0 ; j<ntohs(answers[i].resource->data_len) ; j++)
			{
				answers[i].rdata[j]=reader[j];
			}

			answers[i].rdata[ntohs(answers[i].resource->data_len)] = '\0';

			reader = reader + ntohs(answers[i].resource->data_len);
		}
		else
		{
			answers[i].rdata = ReadName(reader,buf,&stop);
			reader = reader + stop;
		}
	}

	//read authorities
	for(i=0;i<ntohs(dns->auth_count);i++)
	{
		auth[i].name=ReadName(reader,buf,&stop);
		reader+=stop;

		auth[i].resource=(struct R_DATA*)(reader);
		reader+=sizeof(struct R_DATA);

		auth[i].rdata=ReadName(reader,buf,&stop);
		reader+=stop;
	}

	//read additional
	for(i=0;i<ntohs(dns->add_count);i++)
	{
		addit[i].name=ReadName(reader,buf,&stop);
		reader+=stop;

		addit[i].resource=(struct R_DATA*)(reader);
		reader+=sizeof(struct R_DATA);

		if(ntohs(addit[i].resource->type)==1)
		{
			addit[i].rdata = (unsigned char*)malloc(ntohs(addit[i].resource->data_len));
			for(j=0;j<ntohs(addit[i].resource->data_len);j++)
			addit[i].rdata[j]=reader[j];

			addit[i].rdata[ntohs(addit[i].resource->data_len)]='\0';
			reader+=ntohs(addit[i].resource->data_len);
		}
		else
		{
			addit[i].rdata=ReadName(reader,buf,&stop);
			reader+=stop;
		}
	}

	//print answers
	printf("\nAnswer Records : %d \n" , ntohs(dns->ans_count) );
	for(i=0 ; i < ntohs(dns->ans_count) ; i++)
	{
		printf("Name : %s ",answers[i].name);

		if( ntohs(answers[i].resource->type) == T_A) //IPv4 address
		{
			long *p;
			p=(long*)answers[i].rdata;
			a.sin_addr.s_addr=(*p); //working without ntohl
			printf("has IPv4 address : %s",inet_ntoa(a.sin_addr));
		}
		
		if(ntohs(answers[i].resource->type)==5) 
		{
			//Canonical name for an alias
			printf("has alias name : %s",answers[i].rdata);
		}

		printf("\n");
	}

	//print authorities
	printf("\nAuthoritive Records : %d \n" , ntohs(dns->auth_count) );
	for( i=0 ; i < ntohs(dns->auth_count) ; i++)
	{
		
		printf("Name : %s ",auth[i].name);
		if(ntohs(auth[i].resource->type)==2)
		{
			printf("has nameserver : %s",auth[i].rdata);
		}
		printf("\n");
	}

	//print additional resource records
	printf("\nAdditional Records : %d \n" , ntohs(dns->add_count) );
	for(i=0; i < ntohs(dns->add_count) ; i++)
	{
		printf("Name : %s ",addit[i].name);
		if(ntohs(addit[i].resource->type)==1)
		{
			long *p;
			p=(long*)addit[i].rdata;
			a.sin_addr.s_addr=(*p);
			printf("has IPv4 address : %s",inet_ntoa(a.sin_addr));
		}
		printf("\n");
	}
	return;
}

/*
 * 
 * */
u_char* ReadName(unsigned char* reader,unsigned char* buffer,int* count)
{
	unsigned char *name;
	unsigned int p=0,jumped=0,offset;
	int i , j;

	*count = 1;
	name = (unsigned char*)malloc(256);

	name[0]='\0';

	//read the names in 3www6google3com format
	while(*reader!=0)
	{
		if(*reader>=192)
		{
			offset = (*reader)*256 + *(reader+1) - 49152; //49152 = 11000000 00000000 ;)
			reader = buffer + offset - 1;
			jumped = 1; //we have jumped to another location so counting wont go up!
		}
		else
		{
			name[p++]=*reader;
		}

		reader = reader+1;

		if(jumped==0)
		{
			*count = *count + 1; //if we havent jumped to another location then we can count up
		}
	}

	name[p]='\0'; //string complete
	if(jumped==1)
	{
		*count = *count + 1; //number of steps we actually moved forward in the packet
	}

	//now convert 3www6google3com0 to www.google.com
	for(i=0;i<(int)strlen((const char*)name);i++) 
	{
		p=name[i];
		for(j=0;j<(int)p;j++) 
		{
			name[i]=name[i+1];
			i=i+1;
		}
		name[i]='.';
	}
	name[i-1]='\0'; //remove the last dot
	return name;
}

/*
 * Get the DNS servers from /etc/resolv.conf file on Linux
 * */
void get_dns_servers()
{
	FILE *fp;
	char line[200] , *p;
	if((fp = fopen("/etc/resolv.conf" , "r")) == NULL)
	{
		printf("Failed opening /etc/resolv.conf file \n");
	}
	
	while(fgets(line , 200 , fp))
	{
		if(line[0] == '#')
		{
			continue;
		}
		if(strncmp(line , "nameserver" , 10) == 0)
		{
			p = strtok(line , " ");
			p = strtok(NULL , " ");
			
			//p now is the dns ip :)
			//????
		}
	}
	
	strcpy(dns_servers[0] , "208.67.222.222");
	strcpy(dns_servers[1] , "208.67.220.220");
}

/*
 * This will convert www.google.com to 3www6google3com 
 * got it :)
 * */
void ChangetoDnsNameFormat(unsigned char* dns,unsigned char* host) 
{
	int lock = 0 , i;
	strcat((char*)host,".");
	
	for(i = 0 ; i < strlen((char*)host) ; i++) 
	{
		if(host[i]=='.') 
		{
			*dns++ = i-lock;
			for(;lock<i;lock++) 
			{
				*dns++=host[lock];
			}
			lock++; //or lock=i+1;
		}
	}
	*dns++='\0';
}








Compile

$ gcc dns.c

Output

$ ./a.out 
Enter Hostname to Lookup : www.google.com
Resolving www.google.com
Sending Packet...Done
Receiving answer...Done
The response contains : 
 1 Questions.
 6 Answers.
 4 Authoritative Servers.
 4 Additional records.


Answer Records : 6 
Name : www.google.com has alias name : www.l.google.com
Name : www.l.google.com has IPv4 address : 74.125.235.16
Name : www.l.google.com has IPv4 address : 74.125.235.17
Name : www.l.google.com has IPv4 address : 74.125.235.18
Name : www.l.google.com has IPv4 address : 74.125.235.19
Name : www.l.google.com has IPv4 address : 74.125.235.20

Authoritive Records : 4 
Name : google.com has nameserver : ns2.google.com
Name : google.com has nameserver : ns1.google.com
Name : google.com has nameserver : ns3.google.com
Name : google.com has nameserver : ns4.google.com

Additional Records : 4 
Name : ns1.google.com has IPv4 address : 216.239.32.10
Name : ns2.google.com has IPv4 address : 216.239.34.10
Name : ns3.google.com has IPv4 address : 216.239.36.10
Name : ns4.google.com has IPv4 address : 216.239.38.10

The same code can be used to fetch different kinds of dns records like Nameserver , MX , CNAME , SOA etc.

Last Updated On : 15th December 2012

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11 Comments + Add Comment

  • I really appreciate the effort. And it seems that you do understand how to perform a DNS query. But you write terrible c code. I suggest fixing it because it’s really bad.

  • isnt aa part in dns header should be after opcode ? In your code you are using standard query which is 0 and aa which is again set to 0, that’s why it is working fine i guess. reference : https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1035.txt

    Anyways thanks for snippet it is useful :)

  • Is there some way I can get the TTL value from the answers portion?? I tried the following but it returns 0 (ntohs(answers[i].resource->ttl) majority of the time.

  • Very nice article! Can you provide more information about what the ReadName functions does? In my opinion it’s the most important function from the entire program and it’s very poor explainded. Thank you!

  • Please ignore my previous comment,i saw that you also posted a linux version.I want to ask you , how do you fetch dns records for , lets say CNAME or PTR ?

    • Couldn’t edit the post and i replied to it.Seems all is working but the PTR. I seem to not receive the information i need when i try to fetch the domain for an ip address , a little help with this ?

      • yeah .. is not implemented, & there are some problems interpreting the message when MX is used ( because of the whitespaces i think )

  • i do not understand this part…
    if(*reader>=192)
    324 {
    325 offset = (*reader)*256 + *(reader+1) – 49152; //49152 = 11000000 00000000 ;)
    326 reader = buffer + offset – 1;
    327 jumped = 1; //we have jumped to another location so counting wont go up!
    328 }
    329 else
    330 {
    331 name[p++]=*reader;
    332 }
    333
    334 reader = reader+1;
    335
    336 if(jumped==0)
    337 {
    338 *count = *count + 1; //if we havent jumped to another location then we can count up
    339 }
    340 }
    341
    342 name[p]=”; //string complete
    343 if(jumped==1)
    344 {
    345 *count = *count + 1; //number of steps we actually moved forward in the packet
    346 }
    347

    rest of program is understood…
    please help

  • But I don’t understand this moment:

    ~$ ./client
    Enter Hostname to Lookup : asdqwe
    Resolving asdqwe

    Answer Records : 1
    Name : asdqwe has IPv4 address : 67.215.65.132

    Why 67.215.65.132 ?

    • Thanks soo much …
      Easily Understandable Code….
      can you also provide the code for gethostbyaddr() function (in same pattern without using netdb.h library)

  • Nice code, thank you =]

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