The Host Project

General Information

Host is based on a rewrite of the original host program written long ago at Rutgers University back in the early days of the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS).

For many years the Host program was maintained by the late Eric Wassenaar at Nikhef-H as part of a larger suite of very widely and commonly used networking tools. See below for more information about the status of these other tools.

Note that a variant of the ancient Rutgers University code is still distributed with ISC's BIND-8 main sources, and an older release of Eric's code is distributed with the BIND-8 contributed sources. This newer release of Host is intended to replace those very old versions.


Host is a powerful and complete command-line DNS query and test tool.


Host has (too) many features! [:-)]

The major differences between this version and the ancient version which is included in the BIND-4 and BIND-8 distributions are summarised as follows:

Included in the source distribution is a manual page documenting all the details.

Release Information

The current release of Host is: 20070128

This release contains the following user-visible changes since the 20040117 release:

This release contains the following user-visible changes since the 20040817 release:

See the RELEASE_NOTES file in the distribution for information about prior releases.

This release has been successfully compiled and run by myself on at least the following types of systems:

There have also been reports of success on the following types of systems:

Previous releases have been tested successfully on at least the following types of systems:

You can always fetch the latest code itself by FTP from the master site at:

Prior Releases

The first release of Host that I made was an interim version I called 991529-woods-1. This version has a few minor fixes apparently necessary for the way BIND-9 returns authoritative NS records, as well as a feature to use the parent zone's nameservers. This version also includes a rewritten and updated rblookup script, as well as a new nscheck script to assist in verifying NS and glue A records in parent zones. It is based on the last host-991529 release by the late Eric Wassenaar. Reference

Host is listed on at


Current Maintainer:
Original Developer:

[new-stuff!] Unfortunately none of Eric Wassenaar's other network debugging tools are available any more at*). I will continue to make local releases of at least host, ping, and vrfy, and perhaps traceroute, as well. In the meant time the latest versions of each are available at:

(*) There is however a mirror of Eric's FTP site available here:
Past Contributors:

For further information about the Host project in particular, or to comment on this particular web page, please contact me at this address:

Last updated on 2012/03/12 at 14:59:26 (version 1.20).
Copyright 2003 - Greg A. Woods. All rights Reserved
Last modified: