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What is CoreDNS

What is CoreDNS?

CoreDNS is a DNS server. It is written in Go.

CoreDNS is different from other DNS servers, such as (all excellent) BIND, Knot, PowerDNS and Unbound (technically a resolver, but still worth a mention), because it is very flexible, and almost all functionality is outsourced into plugins.

Plugins can be stand-alone or work together to perform a “DNS function”.

So what’s a “DNS function”? For the purpose of CoreDNS, we define it as a piece of software that implements the CoreDNS Plugin API. The functionality implemented can wildly deviate. There are plugins that don’t themselves create a response, such as metrics or cache, but that add functionality. Then there are plugins that do generate a response. These can also do anything: There are plugins that communicate with Kubernetes to provide service discovery, plugins that read data from a file or a database.

There are currently about 30 plugins included in the default CoreDNS install, but there are also a whole bunch of external plugins that you can compile into CoreDNS to extend its functionality.

CoreDNS is powered by plugins.

Writing new plugins should be easy enough, but requires knowing Go and having some insight into how DNS works. CoreDNS abstracts away a lot of DNS details, so that you can just focus on writing the plugin functionality you need.