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Setup Dnsmasq and Systemd-resolved for *.local Hostnames

I have lines like these in my /etc/hosts file:       toph.local       drafts.toph.local       quiz.toph.local

I can run development servers locally and access them over .local hostnames (e.g. toph.local) instead of the loopback IP addresses (e.g.

It works fine. But every time I start working on a new project, I needed to add a new line to the /etc/hosts file. It didn’t sit right with me.

I should be able to point all *.local hostnames to a loopback IP address without having to enter each possible hostname. Right?

Enter Dnsmasq

I can configure Dnsmasq to respond with a loopback IP address for any domain and its subdomains.

Since I want all *.local hostnames to point to, I can add the following to my dnsmasq.conf file:


Systemd-resolved + Dnsmasq

I am already using Systemd-resolved.

If I try to run Dnsmasq while Systemd-resolved is already running, as expected, I see the following error:

dnsmasq: failed to create listening socket for port 53: Address already in use

Both software are trying to listen on the same port: 53.

I want to continue using Systemd-resolved as my DNS resolver/cache and run Dnsmasq behind it only for resolving all *.local hostnames.

I can configure Dnsmasq to listen on a different loopback address and not bind with all the interfaces. I need to add/change two lines in the /etc/dnsmasq.conf file for that:


Here, the bind-interfaces directive is required. Without it, Dnsmasq will try to bind the wildcard address, even though we are configuring it to listen on just one loopback IP address.

I also need to prevent Dnsmasq from referring to the /etc/resolv.conf file. Otherwise, there will be an infinite loop between Dnsmasq and Systemd-resolved.


Finally, I can tell Systemd-resolved to use Dnsmasq for all .local hostnames. I can do that by adding an extra [Resolve] block to the /etc/systemd/resolved.conf:


Wrap Up

And now I can still use Systemd-resolved as my DNS resolver/cache while I have all *.local hostnames pointing to

» ping anything.you.can.imagine.local
PING anything.you.can.imagine.local ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from localhost ( icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.019 ms
64 bytes from localhost ( icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.033 ms
64 bytes from localhost ( icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=0.063 ms
--- anything.you.can.imagine.local ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2026ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.019/0.038/0.063/0.018 ms

This post is 51st of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at 100daystooffload.com.

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