dig - macOS


The dig command (Domain Information Groper) is a versatile tool for querying DNS (Domain Name System) servers. It is used to fetch DNS information and troubleshoot DNS-related issues, making it invaluable for network administrators and IT professionals. dig is known for its flexibility, allowing users to get detailed information about various DNS records including A (addresses), MX (mail exchanges), NS (name servers), and more.


The basic syntax of the dig command is as follows:

dig [@server] [domain] [query-type] [options]
  • @server: Optional. Specifies the DNS server to query. If omitted, dig uses the system’s default DNS server.
  • domain: The domain name for which DNS information is requested.
  • query-type: Optional. Specifies the type of DNS record to retrieve (e.g., A, MX, NS). If omitted, A is assumed.
  • options: Optional. Modifiers that alter the behavior of the command or format of the output.


Here are some commonly used options and flags in dig:

  • +short: Provides a shorter, concise output.
  • +noall +answer: Shows only the answer section of the query.
  • -x: Performs a reverse lookup (IP to host).
  • +trace: Traces the path of the DNS resolution from the root DNS servers downward.
  • +cmd: Displays the original command on the output.
  • +stats: Provides detailed statistics about the query.

Each option modifies the output or the way queries are performed, providing flexibility depending on the user’s needs.


  1. Basic DNS Query:

    dig example.com

    This command retrieves the A record for example.com.

  2. Query Specific DNS Record Type:

    dig example.com MX +noall +answer

    Fetches the MX records for example.com displaying only the answer section.

  3. Query with Specific DNS Server:

    dig @ example.com

    Queries the DNS information of example.com using the Google DNS server (

  4. Reverse DNS Lookup:

    dig -x +short

    Performs a reverse lookup on the IP address, returning the associated hostname.

Common Issues

  • Timeouts or No Response: Can occur if the DNS server is unreachable or slow. Use a different DNS server with the @server option.
  • Incomplete or Unexpected Results: Ensure correct query types or options. Typos or incorrect syntax can lead to unexpected outcomes.
  • Network Errors: Ensure network connectivity and permissions for querying DNS servers, especially on restricted networks.


dig can be combined with other shell commands for more complex tasks:

for domain in $(cat domains.txt); do
    dig $domain A +short >> results.txt

This script queries the A records for domains listed in domains.txt and writes the results to results.txt.

  • nslookup: Another tool for DNS querying. Less flexible but included in many operating systems by default.
  • host: A simple utility for performing DNS lookups.

For more detailed information, refer to the official BIND 9 documentation, which includes extensive details about dig and other DNS tools.