I'm using an OpenVPN server running on a router installed with DD-WRT and I'm using it to route all traffic through the VPN server. I'm connecting to it from several devices: Windows laptop, android devices and linux machines. The problem I have now is recent and previously everything worked fine. This problem happens only on the client machines with linux (ubuntu 16.04). The ubuntu client doesn't get the DNS server addresses automatically. After some research, I've found out that I should add the following to the end of the client config:

script-security 2
up /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-conf
down /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-conf

This didn't help so I've added also:

dhcp-option DNS a.b.c.d
dhcp-option DNS e.f.g.h

The IP's are taken from the router and it makes things working. Until now it was enough to have "redirect-gateway def1" in the client config.

I don't like this solution of adding the "dhcp-option DNS" commands because I have to watch for any changes of the DNS server. Is there any way to get rid of adding "dhcp-option DNS" option?

  • 1
    This is actually less of an issue with the 'client' not getting DNS than 16.04 not playing nice with OpenVPN. This is a known bug that's been on the radar for a long while and has yet to be resolved. (resolved in systemd does not behave right, and it's less a resolv.conf issue and more of a dnsmasq problem which actually handles handing data off to DNS servers from local requests, as well as caching)
    – Thomas Ward
    Nov 4, 2017 at 13:15
  • Do you have any more information on this bug? Is there an issue number I could follow? Are there any workarounds? Nov 5, 2017 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


I had the same problem but managed to solve it using the following hack: Instead of up /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-conf I created a file named up.sh in /etc/openvpn. Run the command sudo gedit /etc/openvpn/up.sh and paste the following:

#! /bin/bash

if [ ! -d /tmp/openvpn ]; then
mkdir /tmp/openvpn
echo -n "" > $CACHE_NAMESERVER

for opt in ${!foreign_option_*}
eval "dns=\${$opt#dhcp-option DNS }"
if [[ $dns =~ [0-9]{1,3}\.[0-9]{1,3}\.[0-9]{1,3}\.[0-9]{1,3} ]]; then
if [ ! -f /etc/resolv.conf.default ]; then
cp /etc/resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf.default

cat /etc/resolv.conf | grep -v ^# | grep -v ^nameserver > /tmp/resolv.conf
echo "nameserver $dns" >> /tmp/resolv.conf
echo $dns >> $CACHE_NAMESERVER
cat /etc/resolv.conf | grep -v ^# | grep -v "nameserver $dns" | grep nameserver >> /tmp/resolv.conf
mv /tmp/resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf


Save it and run sudo chmod +x /etc/openvpn/up.sh Then create another file /etc/openvpn/down.sh and paste the following in it

#! /bin/bash
echo "Restoring original nameservers"
rm -f /etc/resolv.conf
ln -s /run/resolvconf/resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf 
echo "Done restoring nameservers cheers"

Save it and run sudo chmod +x /etc/openvpn/down.sh

Now remove the lines:

script-security 2
up /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-conf
down /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-conf

And replace them with:

 script-security 2
    up /etc/openvpn/up.sh
    down /etc/openvpn/down.sh
  • It would have been a good idea to use such a script to update resolv.conf but when playing with it, I've realized that foreign_option_1, foreign_option_2 and foreign_option_3 contain nothing, so it seems to me that the vpn client is not receiving the DNS information but in that case I don't understand how it works on the other devices.
    – lorandsm
    Nov 8, 2017 at 23:45
  • Remember the variables are not global, they are only available within the shell in which you run openvpn and during the time when the process is running so the script has to be called from within the openvpn configuration to demonstrate this I created a script show_dns with the following lines: #!/bin/bash echo $foreign_option_1 echo $foreign_option_2 echo $foreign_option_3 and it will show you the DNS servers being pushed by the server. Just remember to invoke it by appending the lines script-security 2 up /etc/openvpn/show_dns within your openvpn configuration Nov 9, 2017 at 8:30

Edit your /etc/systemd/resolved.conf - add a DNS entry:


If you lose your DNS when bringing up or taking down your OpenVPN connection, run:

sudo systemctl restart systemd-resolved

(could probably shove that in an up/down script for your OpenVPN connection).

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