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Update for mavericks (10.9)
Named and bind are not packaged by default anymore, however the good people of menandmice provide a pre-compiled binary that saves you a lot of compiling with homebrew :)
Just go to and download the package.
Unzip it, and you get a folder called __Parent__ with a subfolder called __Parent__ and the package called ISCBIND-9.9.4-x86_64-10.9.mpkg double click to install and follow the instructions down below
Ever since Iam using my macbook pro with XAMPP as my primary development workhorse, ive been playing around with the hosts file every single time I started a new project. Until last week, where i suddenly realized that it was a rather stupid practice. After all iam running a system that comes preinstalled with named. Yeah i know, a bit late But still, sat down for a few minutes to (re-)read about zone files and how to get an wildcard DNS server up and running.
The goal was to have *.dev.local pointing to so i only needed to add/alter my apache vhosts.conf to fit my project needs.
small hint upfront, # means a single line in your shell followed by a enter, and keep the terminal opened till the end.
Step 1
Open your terminal and use the sudo bash command to become the super user, not really needed but I do hate typing sudo before every command. After becoming root, generate a new rndc.key
#su -
#rndc-confgen -a -c /etc/rndc.key
Step 2
Creating the actual zone file for your .dev.local segment. Iam using textmate as editor on my mac, but you can use any other you like. If your OSX installation is still virgin, substitute mate with nano in the following lines
#mate /var/named/
An empty file should be opened, now drop the zone config in it and save it.
dev.local. 7200 IN SOA dev.local. (
2008031801 ; Serial
15 ; Refresh every 15 minutes
3600 ; Retry every hour
3000000 ; Expire after a month+
86400 ) ; Minimum ttl of 1 day
dev.local. IN NS dev.local.
dev.local. IN MX 10 dev.local.
dev.local. IN A
*.dev.local. IN A
Please note the trailing dot after the local! If you want your wildcard DNS to be something else, feel free to substitute it with something else. But keep in mind the trailing dot!
Step 3
Adding the zone to your named config
#mate /etc/named.conf
Locate a section that starts with zone 0.0.127. and insert the pointer to the freshly created zone file in between the 0.0.127 and logging zone.
added "/etc/named.conf"
zone "dev.local" IN {
type master;
file "/var/named/";
So you end up with a zone file looking a bit like this
zone "." IN {
type hint;
file "";
zone "localhost" IN {
type master;
file "";
allow-update { none; };
zone "" IN {
type master;
file "named.local";
allow-update { none; };
zone "dev.local" IN {
type master;
file "/var/named/";
logging {
category default {
channel _default_log {
file "/Library/Logs/named.log";
severity info;
print-time yes;
Step 4
Firing the whole shabam up :)
Test if the config is right
#named-checkconf /etc/named.conf
If it returns an error, solve it with logic. Most likely a typing error :)
Check if the zone is created correctly
#named-checkzone dev.local /var/named/
that should return something simular to this
/var/named/ using RFC1035 TTL semantics
zone dev.local/IN: loaded serial 2008031801
Once again if it fails, fix it using logic. Check for typing errors, first time i forgot one those dreaded trailing dots
Finally adding it to your macs startup list, purely for convenience. If you are a memory freak feel free to start the named server only when needed, but iam lazy and do not want to be bothered with it every single time i reboot. Which is about 4 times a year ;)
#launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.isc.named.plist
Step 5
The last part, tell your DNS config to use your local DNS before checking the big net for your domain.
Flush your systems DNS cache
#dscacheutil -flushcache
You can safely close the super user shell now, we are done using our superpowers. Keep the shell open, cause the final test is done in a normal user shell.
Open your system preferences,and click network, then advanced button.
If needed add to your server list with the + on left and drag it to the top of the list. The other two DNS entries are pointers i created to opendns because my ISP is not that good at running fast responding DNS servers.
OSX DNS config
Do not set the search domain to the same name as your wildcard dns name, or you will end up looking at your local web server for every failed DNS lookup ;)
After pressing the OK button a few times, the final step is testing if it actually works
Final step
Testing if your new zone is digable
where myzone can be anything you want, cause well hey we are running a wildcard DNS here. The response should look a bit like this :
; <<>> DiG 9.6.0-APPLE-P2 <<>>
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 53590
;; flags: qraa rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 1
; IN A
dev.local. 7200 IN NS dev.local.
dev.local. 7200 IN A
;; Query time: 1 msec
;; WHEN: Sat Jun 12 08:37:11 2010
;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 77
Bonus section, enabling the vhost in xampp
Iam assuming you did a basic installation of xampp by dropping the package into the Applications folder like instructed
Using the finder browse to /Applications/XAMPP/etc and open the file called HTTPD.CONF in your favorite text editor.
Locate the two commented lines for the virtual host, somewhere at the bottom around line number 469
# Virtual hosts
#Include /Applications/XAMPP/etc/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf
And remove the # before the Include and save the file.
Browse one level deeper into the XAMPP folder to /Applications/XAMPP/etc/extra and open the http-vhosts.conf file in the above mentioned favorite text editor and remove all the contents. Replace it with this
NameVirtualHost *:80
<VirtualHost *:80>
DocumentRoot "/Users/rene/Sites/"
<Directory /Users/rene/Sites/>
AllowOverride ALL
First part tells apache to listen to port 80, next block defines a virtual host that points to the mac default Sites folder, which i personally find more convenient to use then the docroot in XAMPP, for the site.
Repeat only the <VirtualHost..></VirtualHost> part for every other wildcard domain you need to setup.
(for more advanced features of the virtualhost directive, consult the apache2 manual.
Restart the apache server using the xampp control application and point your browser to the freshly created site :)
Riks bonus part
Like mention below in the comments by Rik, using the vhost_alias module its even easierHowever there is a small downside to it. I personally like my development folders named a bit like the site iam working on. For example the contents of this site is in the folder. vhost_alias uses the dot to calculate offsets in alias names. If you can live with the fact that your subdomain can not contain a dot, or you dont mind replacing a dot with a dash. Feel free to swap the above mentioned vhost directives with something like this.
Boy was I wrong :) You can use multiple VirtualDocumentRoot rules. I ended up with a vhost configuration like this
<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerName dev.local
ServerAlias *.dev.local
ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
VirtualDocumentRoot "/Users/rene/Sites/%1"
VirtualDocumentRoot "/Users/rene/Sites/%-3+/"
<Directory /Users/rene/Sites/>
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
As you can see, this point to /Users/rene/Sites/whatever and points to /Users/rene/Sites/
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