Ubuntu 16.10+ uses systemd-resolved as DNS resolver.

I prefer the setup 16.04 uses, dnsmasq as the resolver.

How can I do that on 16.10+, especially on 17.04?

  • Maybe this could help : askubuntu.com/questions/1032450/…
    – cmak.fr
    May 18, 2018 at 8:13
  • Why we need a resolver... Why not simply use or as resolver...
    – recolic
    Apr 15, 2021 at 9:40
  • 2
    @recolic caching, prevent some records from being resolved (ads, trackers etc), defining new top-level-domains for your own records, speed Sep 6, 2021 at 4:46

4 Answers 4


dnsmasq packages are still available in 16.10 and 17.04.

  1. Install dnsmasq and dependencies (or at least download their packages) before disabling systemd-resolved:

    sudo apt-get install dnsmasq
  2. Disable systemd-resolved and verify dnsmasq is running:

    sudo systemctl stop systemd-resolved
    sudo systemctl disable systemd-resolved
    systemctl status dnsmasq
  3. Season dnsmasq to taste. After applying your settings, restart dnsmasq:

    sudo systemctl stop dnsmasq
    sudo systemctl start dnsmasq

After step 2 you might be without a working system resolver until step 3 is complete. You may need to restart the networking subsystem (or simply reboot) to get dnsmasq functioning with the default configs. In my testing, adding a known DNS server to /etc/dnsmasq.conf and restarting dnsmasq was enough to get it working in a liveCD environment.

  • 1
    Great answer, and seemingly the only solution when disabling NetworkManager is not acceptable!
    – bogl
    Apr 7, 2017 at 15:46
  • 3
    For me, this was a great answer but also required the additional steps from @blabla's answer, adding dns=dnsmasq config to /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf Jun 11, 2017 at 10:08
  • Same here. After struggling with systemd-resolved and unbound switching to dnsmasq did the trick on ubuntu 17.10. I did have to use blabla's additions though. Apr 3, 2018 at 22:31
  • After struggling with resolved for days, this did the trick. TYVM Jul 14, 2022 at 20:05

In addition to the answer of @quixotic:

Make sure you have in /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf :


if you need to add it, restart NetworkManager like this:

sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager

and /etc/resolv.conf needs to be a symlink to /var/run/NetworkManager/resolv.conf . could be done like this

sudo rm /etc/resolv.conf; sudo ln -s /var/run/NetworkManager/resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf
  • Actually I have it set as dns=default and it works fine because I have the nameservers defined then by NetworkManager instead of being defined in dnsmasq; this works for me - NM gets the nameservers from the settings made in KDE's NM configuration via the system tray. I use fixed IP on my home network FWIW.
    – pbhj
    Jun 10, 2017 at 14:56
  • 1
    This step was a necessary addition to @quixotic's answer for me (ubuntu 17.04, full installation, not LiveCD). Jun 11, 2017 at 10:07

For (X)Ubuntu 18.04 (see my answer at stackexchange).

Here is copy of it (should I make a copy?)

Here is solution for (X)Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic.

Install dnsmasq

sudo apt install dnsmasq

Disable systemd-resolved listener on port 53 (do not touch /etc/systemd/resolved.conf, because it may be overwritten on upgrade):

$ cat /etc/systemd/resolved.conf.d/noresolved.conf 

and restart it

$ sudo systemctl restart systemd-resolved

(alternatively disable it completely by $ sudo systemctl disable systemd-resolved.service)

Delete /etc/resolv.conf and create again. This is important, because resolv.conf is a symbolic link to /run/systemd/resolve/stub-resolv.conf by default. If you will not delete symbolic link, the file will be overwritten by systemd on reboot (even though we disabled systemd-resolved!). Also NetworkManager (NM) checks if it is a symbolic link to detect systemd-resolved configuration.

$ sudo rm /etc/resolv.conf
$ sudo touch /etc/resolv.conf

Disable overwriting of /etc/resolv.conf by NM (there is also an option rc-manager, but it does not work, despite it is described in a manual):

$ cat /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/disableresolv.conf 

and restart it:

$ sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager

Tell dnsmasq to use resolv.conf from NM:

$ cat /etc/dnsmasq.d/nmresolv.conf 

and restart it:

$ sudo systemctl restart dnsmasq

Use dnsmasq for resolving:

$ cat /etc/resolv.conf 
# Use local dnsmasq for resolving

According to the manual of systemd-resolved, systemd-resolved provides with name resolution services via three different interfaces:

  1. "fully-featured API systemd-resolved exposes on the bus"
  2. "a local DNS stub listener on IP address on the local loopback interface"
  3. The glibc getaddrinfo(3) API as defined by RFC3493 and its related resolver functions, including gethostbyname(3). This API is widely supported, including beyond the Linux platform. In its current form it does not expose DNSSEC validation status information however, and is synchronous only. This API is backed by the glibc Name Service Switch (nss(5)). Usage of the glibc NSS module nss-resolve(8) is required in order to allow glibc's NSS resolver functions to resolve host names via systemd-resolved.

It seems that the first two interfaces won't interfere in normal DNS resolution and for me the problem is likely to reside on the third.

In the manual of nss-resolve:

To activate the NSS module, add "resolve" to the line starting with "hosts:" in /etc/nsswitch.conf. Specifically, it is recommended to place "resolve" early in /etc/nsswitch.conf's "hosts:" line (but after the "files" or "mymachines" entries), right before the "dns" entry if it exists, followed by "[!UNAVAIL=return]", to ensure DNS queries are always routed via systemd-resolved(8) if it is running, but are routed to nss-dns if this service is not available

So what is needed is to make "dns" precedes "resolve" in "host:" line of /etc/nsswitch.conf. And then getaddrinfo should simply adhere to /etc/resolv.conf .

This solution only prevents systemd-resolved from handling all the DNS resolution requests and is not restricted to a specific network manager. And it also makes sure LLMNR and mDNS service are operating normally.

( I am not fair familiar with how name resolution works under Linux and also unsure about what I understood from these manuals. Pleaes point out if I got something wrong. Thx :) )

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