I know that on Windows I can issue ipconfig /displaydns and I see the local DNS's cache content.

How can I list the DNS's cache content in Linux?

I would like to get as much as cross-distro solution as possible.

  • 4
    As far as I am aware, there is no DNS cache maintained on the client in Linux (resolver) unless the system is using local caching only dns service on the client. Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 18:55
  • You always have the /etc/hosts file which may contain entries generated by DNS blacklisting services.
    – user13742
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 19:08

4 Answers 4


Prior to systemd, there was almost no OS-level DNS caching

Prior to systemd there was no OS-level DNS caching on Linux (and probably most Unix), unless nscd or dnsmasq was installed and running.

Even then, the DNS caching feature of nscd was disabled by default in Debian at least, simply because it is broken.

As for dnsmasq, the caching seems to occur in RAM by default.

  • 3
    A lot of systems these days use dnsmasq by default so unix.stackexchange.com/q/162973/79839 could be useful.
    – chicks
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 18:51
  • 4
    And these days, anything using systemd will likely have systemd-resolved running by default which does cache DNS results based on their TTL
    – Drew
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 21:59

nscd is the Name Service Caching Daemon. This is the utility that Linux, Solaris, and other use to cache name service lookups. Name Service in this case is a generic term, not strictly limited to host resolution, but also users, groups, etc.

I don't know of a way to see the actual contents of the cache, though you can display statistics with /usr/sbin/nscd -g.

That can at least show you how efficient your cache is, though not exactly what it's resolving.

You may have other options if you're using an alternate caching tool, like DNSMASQ.


If you are using nscd, you can view the contents (and possibly some other garbage), by showing the ASCII strings from the binary cache file. In Debian/Ubuntu, that file is /var/cache/nscd/hosts for the hosts/DNS cache, so you can run strings /var/cache/nscd/hosts to see the hosts in cache.

Note that this is a total hack as there is seemingly no proper way to inspect the nscd cache without decoding the binary format.

  • 1
    strings /var/cache/nscd/hosts | sort | uniq works well Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 21:31
  • Mine appears under /var/db/nscd/hosts (but not readable except by root)
    – Cameron
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 20:02

You can send SIGUSR1 to systemd-resolved process to view the cache with journalctl.

killall -USR1 systemd-resolved && journalctl -u systemd-resolved | grep -A 100000 "CACHE:"

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