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Tool to test DNS changes on a staging server and verify in production

Project description

pydnstest PyPi downloads travis-ci for master branch coverage report for master branch Project Status: Inactive – The project has reached a stable, usable state but is no longer being actively developed; support/maintenance will be provided as time allows.

Python tool for testing DNS changes (add, remove, rename, change records) against a staging DNS server, verifying the same changes against production, or confirming that a record returns the same result in both environments.

pydnstest is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3.


  • Python 2.7 or 3.4+ (currently tested with 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6)

  • Python VirtualEnv and pip (recommended installation method; your OS/distribution should have packages for these)

  • or the following packages:


It’s recommended that you install into a virtual environment (virtualenv / venv). See the virtualenv usage documentation for information on how to create a venv. If you really want to install system-wide, you can (using sudo).

pip install pydnstest


Either run pydnstest --promptconfig to interactively build and write out a configuration file (to ~/.dnstest.ini) or run pydnstest --example-config > ~/.dnstest.ini and edit the resulting file as desired.

You can view your current configuration with the --configprint option.


pydnstest takes one or more specifications for DNS changes to be made, in a natural-language-like grammar, and tests a staging DNS server (and optionally verifies against a production/live server once the changes are live). For each specification, it prints out a simple one-line OK/NG summary, and optionally some helpful secondary messages and/or warnings. At the moment, it takes input either on STDIN or read from a file.

The following usage examples all assume that you’ve installed pydnstest in a virtualenv located at ~/venv_dir. If you installed system-wide, simply omit the first two lines (cd ~/venv_dir and source bin/activate).


add [record|name|entry] <hostname_or_fqdn> [with ][value|address|target] <hostname_fqdn_or_ip>
remove [record|name|entry] <hostname_or_fqdn>
rename [record|name|entry] <hostname_or_fqdn> [with] [value|address|target] <value> to <hostname_or_fqdn>
change [record|name|entry] <hostname_or_fqdn> to <hostname_fqdn_or_ip>
confirm <hostname_or_fqdn> (checks that TEST and PROD return identical results)

Sample input file

add with address
rename with value to
change to

Usage with input file

Write a test file with the following content, at ~/inputfile.txt:

add record with address
add record with address

And then run the tests on it:

jantman@phoenix$ cd ~/venv_dir
jantman@phoenix$ source bin/activate
(venv_dir)jantman@phoenix$ pydnstest -f ~/inputfile.txt
OK: => (TEST)
        PROD server returns NXDOMAIN for (PROD)
        REVERSE OK: => (TEST)
OK: => (TEST)
        PROD server returns NXDOMAIN for (PROD)
        REVERSE OK: => (TEST)
++++ All 2 tests passed. (pydnstest 0.1.0)

Verify once in prod

After making the above changes live, verify them in production:

jantman@phoenix$ cd ~/venv_dir
jantman@phoenix$ source bin/activate
(venv_dir)jantman@phoenix$ pydnstest -f ~/inputfile.txt -V
OK: => (PROD)
        REVERSE OK: => (PROD)
OK: => (PROD)
        REVERSE OK: => (PROD)
++++ All 2 tests passed. (pydnstest 0.1.0)

Run one quick test

Do a quick one-off test passed in on stdin, to confirm that prod and test return the same result for a given name:

jantman@phoenix$ cd ~/venv_dir
jantman@phoenix$ source bin/activate
(venv_dir)jantman@phoenix$ echo "confirm" | pydnstest
OK: prod and test servers return same response for ''
    response: {'name': '', 'data': '', 'typename': 'A', 'classstr': 'IN', 'ttl': 360, 'type': 1, 'class': 1, 'rdlength': 4}
++++ All 1 tests passed. (pydnstest 0.1.0)

Run interactively from STDIN

You can also provide test data on STDIN. This is mainly useful when pulling test data from another file, such as:

jantman@phoenix:pts/12:~/tmp$ cat sample_zone.txt

;PYDNSTEST add record with address
foo       IN     A
;PYDNSTEST add record with address
bar       IN     A
;PYDNSTEST add record with address
baz       IN     A
jantman@phoenix$ cd ~/venv_dir
jantman@phoenix$ source bin/activate
(venv_dir)jantman@phoenix$ grep "^;PYDNSTEST" ~/tmp/sample_zone.txt | sed 's/^;PYDNSTEST //' | pydnstest
OK: prod and test servers return same response for ''
    response: {'name': '', 'data': '', 'typename': 'A', 'classstr': 'IN', 'ttl': 360, 'type': 1, 'class': 1, 'rdlength': 4}
OK: prod and test servers return same response for ''
    response: {'name': '', 'data': '', 'typename': 'A', 'classstr': 'IN', 'ttl': 360, 'type': 1, 'class': 1, 'rdlength': 4}
OK: prod and test servers return same response for ''
    response: {'name': '', 'data': '', 'typename': 'A', 'classstr': 'IN', 'ttl': 360, 'type': 1, 'class': 1, 'rdlength': 4}
++++ All 3 tests passed. (pydnstest 0.2.2)

Bugs and Feature Requests

Bug reports and feature requests are happily accepted via the GitHub Issue Tracker. Pull requests are welcome. Issues that don’t have an accompanying pull request will be worked on as my time and priority allows.


pydnstest is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, with the additional term that the Copyright and Authors attributions may not be removed or otherwise altered, except to add the Author attribution of a contributor to the work. (Additional Terms pursuant to Section 7b of the AGPL v3).

I chose AGPL mostly because I want this software to continue to evolve and benefit from community involvement and improvement.


To install for development:

  1. Fork the pydnstest repository on GitHub

  2. Create a new branch off of master in your fork.

$ virtualenv pydnstest
$ cd pydnstest && source bin/activate
$ pip install -e
$ cd src/pydnstest

The git clone you’re now in will probably be checked out to a specific commit, so you may want to git checkout BRANCHNAME.



Testing is done via pytest, driven by tox and currently encompasses testing for both the input language parsing, and the DNS testing logic (via stubbing the DNS lookup methods and returning known results).

Be aware that the tests also run a few live DNS queries ( / TestDNS class) against domains that I control, mostly as a sanity check for changes in the underlying pydns library. These may occasionally timeout or fail, as is the case with any live network tests.

  • testing is as simple as:

    • pip install tox

    • tox

  • If you want to see code coverage: tox -e cov

    • this produces two coverage reports - a summary on STDOUT and a full report in the htmlcov/ directory

  • If you want to pass additional arguments to pytest, add them to the tox command line after “–”. i.e., for verbose pytext output on py27 tests: tox -e py27 -- -v

Release Checklist

  1. Open an issue for the release; cut a branch off master for that issue.

  2. Confirm that there are CHANGES.rst entries for all major changes.

  3. Ensure that Travis tests passing in all environments.

  4. Ensure that test coverage is no less than the last release (ideally, 100%).

  5. Increment the version number in pydnstest/ and add version and release date to CHANGES.rst, then push to GitHub.

  6. Confirm that README.rst renders correctly on GitHub.

  7. Upload package to testpypi, confirm that README.rst renders correctly.

    • Make sure your ~/.pypirc file is correct

    • python register -r

    • python sdist upload -r

    • Check that the README renders at

  8. Create a pull request for the release to be merge into master. Upon successful Travis build, merge it.

  9. Tag the release in Git, push tag to GitHub:

    • tag the release. for now the message is quite simple: git tag -a vX.Y.Z -m 'X.Y.Z released YYYY-MM-DD'

    • push the tag to GitHub: git push origin vX.Y.Z

  1. Upload package to live pypi:

    • python sdist upload

  1. make sure any GH issues fixed in the release were closed.


0.4.0 (2017-12-24)

  • Drop support for Python 2.6 and Python3 < 3.4

  • Add testing for Python 3.5 and 3.6

  • Stop testing Python 2.6, 3.3 and pypy

0.3.1 (2015-01-12)

  • (issue #34) Fix edge case where we have two A records, a valid PTR pointing to one of them, and we remove the other. pydnstest.checks.check_removed_name() was only checking for the existence of a PTR, it wasn’t confirming that the PTR actually pointed back to the removed name. Added a warning for this specific case.

0.3.0 (2014-06-17)

  • (issue #6) add grammar to –help usage output

  • add develop branch build status image to README.rst

  • update release procedure documentation

  • (issue #12) add postional argument passthru support for tox to pytest

  • got rid of develop branch alltogether - everything on master

  • some PEP-8 fixes and test fixes

  • added python3 to package classifiers

  • added pypi version and download badges to README.rst

  • setup for coverage reports

  • added missing description of sleep parameter in README.rst

  • updated comments in example config to be more clear

  • updated README.rst example config to match the one in the package

  • added –example-config option to print and example config file and then exit

  • added –configprint option to print current config file and then exit

  • added mock as a test dependency

  • (issue #7) added –promptconfig option to interactively build configuration file

  • (issue #20) add warning when reading from stdin

  • (issue #19) make grammar in usage message come from parser class

0.2.2 (2013-12-07)

  • (issue #2) add ‘sleep’ cli and config file option to sleep X seconds between tests

  • (issue #3) add cli and config option to ignore TTL when comparing responses from DNS servers

  • (issue #5) document release procedure

  • (issue #4) support one-character hostnames

  • (issue #8) support leading underscore in hostnames

  • add coverage reports to tox and travis-ci

  • fix pep8 tests and remove superfluous double test run from tox

  • fix coverage report excluded lines

  • add test coverage for util module

0.2.1 (2013-11-06)

  • fix README.rst markup error

  • add doc parsing tests

0.2.0 (2013-11-06)

  • Documentation updates

  • Support py26-py33

  • some test fixes for py26-33 support

0.1.0 (2013-11-01)

  • Inital development release

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