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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

     host -- look up host names using domain server

SYNOPSIS    [Toc]    [Back]

     host [-l] [-v] [-w] [-r] [-d] [-t querytype] [-a] host [server]

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

     Host looks for information about Internet hosts.  It gets this information
 from a set of interconnected servers that are spread across the
     world.  By default, it simply converts between host names and Internet
     addresses.  However, with the ``-t'' or ``-a'' options, it can be used to
     find all of the information about this host that is maintained by the
     domain server.

     The arguments can be either host names or host numbers.  The program
     first attempts to interpret them as host numbers.	If this fails, it will
     treat them as host names.	A host number consists of IPv4 dotted decimal
     quad ( or IPv6 raw address (::1).  A host name consists of
     names separated by dots, e.g. topaz.rutgers.edu.  Unless the name ends in
     a dot, the local domain is automatically tacked on the end.  Thus, a Rutgers
 user can say

	   host topaz

     and it will actually look up "topaz.rutgers.edu".	If this fails, the
     name is tried unchanged (in this case, "topaz").  This same convention is
     used for mail and other network utilities.  The actual suffix to tack on
     the end is obtained by looking at the results of a hostname(1) call, and
     using everything starting at the first dot.  (See below for a description

     The first argument is the host name you want to look up.  If this is a
     number, an ``inverse query'' is done, i.e. the domain system looks in a
     separate set of databases used to convert numbers to names.

     The second argument is optional.  It allows you to specify a particular
     server to query.  If you don't specify this argument, the default server
     (normally the local machine) is used.

     If a name is specified, you may see output of three different kinds.
     Here is an example that shows all of them:

	   % host sun4
	   sun4.rutgers.edu is a nickname for ATHOS.RUTGERS.EDU
	   ATHOS.RUTGERS.EDU has address
	   ATHOS.RUTGERS.EDU has address

     The user has typed the command ``host sun4''.  The first line indicates
     that the name ``sun4.rutgers.edu'' is actually a nickname.  The official
     host name is ``ATHOS.RUTGERS.EDU''.  The next two lines show the address.
     If a system has more than one network interface, there will be a separate
     address for each.	The last line indicates that ATHOS.RUTGERS.EDU does
     not receive its own mail.	Mail for it is taken by ARAMIS.RUTGERS.EDU.
     There may be more than one such line, since some systems have more than
     one other system that will handle mail for them.  Technically, every system
 that can receive mail is supposed to have an entry of this kind.  If
     the system receives its own mail, there should be an entry the mentions
     the system itself; for example,

	   XXX mail is handled by XXX

     However, many systems that receive their own mail do not bother to mention
 that fact.  If a system has a ``mail is handled by'' entry, but no
     address, this indicates that it is not really part of the Internet, but a
     system that is on the network will forward mail to it.  Systems on
     Usenet, Bitnet, and a number of other networks have entries of this kind.

OPTIONS    [Toc]    [Back]

     There are a number of options that can be used before the host name.
     Most of these options are meaningful only to the staff who have to maintain
 the domain database.

     -w 	 This causes host to wait forever for a response.  Normally it
		 will time out after approximate one minute.

     -v 	 Use "verbose" format for printout.  This is the official
		 domain master file format, which is documented in the man
		 page for named(8).  Without this option, output still follows
		 this format in general terms, but some attempt is made to
		 make it more intelligible to normal users.  Without ``-v'',
		 any "a", "mx", and "cname" records are written out as "has
		 address", "mail is handled by", and "is a nickname for"
		 (respectively), and TTL and class fields are not shown.

     -r 	 Turn off recursion in the request.  This means that the name
		 server will return only data it has in its own database.  It
		 will not ask other servers for more information.

     -d 	 Turn on debugging.  Network transactions are shown in detail.

     -s 	 Chase signatures back to parent key (DNSSEC).

     -t querytype
		 Allows you to specify a particular querytype of information
		 to be looked up.  The arguments are defined in the man page
		 for named(8).	Currently-supported types include: ``a'',
		 ``aaaa'', ``ns'', ``md'', ``mf'', ``cname'', ``soa'', ``mb'',
		 ``mg'', ``mr'', ``null'', ``wks'', ``ptr'', ``hinfo'',
		 ``minfo'', ``mx'', ``uinfo'', ``uid'', ``gid'', ``unspec''.
		 Additionally, the wildcard, which may be written as either
		 ``any'' or ``*'', can be used to specify any (all) of the
		 above types.  Types must be given in lower case.  Note that
		 the default is to look first for ``a'', and then ``mx'',
		 except that if the verbose option is turned on, the default
		 is only ``a''.  The ``-t'' option is particularly useful for
		 filtering information returned by host; see the explanation
		 of the ``-l'' option, below, for more information.

     -a 	 ``all''; this is equivalent to ``-v -t any''.

     -l 	 List a complete domain; e.g.:

		       host -l rutgers.edu

		 will give a listing of all hosts in the rutgers.edu domain.
		 The ``-t'' option is used to filter what information is presented,
 as you would expect.  The default is address information,
 which also include PTR and NS records.  The command

		       host -l -v -t any rutgers.edu

		 will give a complete download of the zone data for rutgers.edu,
 in the official master file format.	(However the
		 SOA record is listed twice, for arcane reasons.)

		 NOTE: ``-l'' is implemented by doing a complete zone transfer
		 and then filtering out the information the you have asked
		 for.  This command should be used only if it is absolutely


     In general, if the name supplied by the user does not have any dots in
     it, a default domain is appended to the end.  This domain can be defined
     in /etc/resolv.conf, but is normally derived by taking the local hostname
     after its first dot.  The user can override this, and specify a different
     default domain, using the environment variable LOCALDOMAIN.  In addition,
     the user can supply his own abbreviations for host names.	They should be
     in a file consisting of one line per abbreviation.  Each line contains an
     abbreviation, a space, and then the full host name.  The name file must
     be contained in the HOSTALIASES environment variable.

ENVIRONMENT    [Toc]    [Back]

     HOSTALIASES	 Name of file containing (host alias, full hostname)

FILES    [Toc]    [Back]

     /etc/resolv.conf	 See resolver(5).

SEE ALSO    [Toc]    [Back]

     named(8), resolver(5).

BUGS    [Toc]    [Back]

     Unexpected effects can happen when you type a name that is not part of
     the local domain.	Please always keep in mind the fact that the local
     domain name is tacked onto the end of every name, unless it ends in a
     dot.  Only if this fails is the name used unchanged.

     The ``-l'' option only tries the first name server listed for the domain
     that you have requested.  If this server is dead, you may need to specify
     a server manually. E.g., to get a listing of foo.edu, you could try

	   host -t ns foo.edu

     to get a list of all the name servers for foo.edu, and then try

	   host -l foo.edu xxx

     for all ``xxx'' on the list of name servers, until you find one that

4th Berkeley Distribution      December 15, 1994     4th Berkeley Distribution
[ Back ]
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