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Fake DNS replies in unit tests using resolv_wrapper
If your unit tests require custom DNS queries, there are some options you might want to take, like adding records to the local /etc/hosts file. But that might not be possible for tests where you don't have root access (for instance, in build systems) and moreover you can't set any other records except A or AAAA. You can also run a full DNS server and set it into your resolv.conf file, but that normally requires root privileges, too and tampers with the usual setup of the test host. What would be ideal is a way to force the test into a mock DNS environment without affecting the live environment on the host system.

As Andreas Schneider pointed out earlier, it is time for another wrapper - so together with Andreas, we wrote resolv_wrapper! This post will show you how can resolv_wrapper help your testing.

Similar to the other wrappers, the resolv_wrapper provides a preloadable version of library calls. In this case it's res_init, res_query, res_search and res_close. These libresolv (or libc, depending on platform) library calls form the basis of DNS resolution routines like gethostbyname and can also be used to resolve less common DNS queries, such as SRV or SOA. In general, a unit test leveraging resolv_wrapper needs to set up its environment (more on that later), preload the library using LD_PRELOAD and that's it.

If your test environment has its own DNS server (such as Samba or FreeIPA have), resolv_wrapper allows you to redirect DNS traffic to that server by pointing the test to a resolv.conf file that contains IP address of your DNS server:
echo "search" > /tmp/testresolv.conf
echo "nameserver" >> /tmp/testresolv.conf RESOLV_WRAPPER_CONF=/tmp/testresolv.conf ./dns_unit_test

That would make your dns_unit_test perform all DNS queries through your DNS server running at, while your system would be still intact and using the original resolv.conf entries. In some other cases, you might want to test DNS resolution, but maybe you don't want to set up a full DNS server just for the test For this use-case, resolv_wrapper provides the ability to fake DNS replies using a hosts-like text file. Consider a unit test, where you want to make sure that kinit can discover a Kerberos KDC with SRV records. Start by defining the the hosts-like file:
echo "SRV 88" > /tmp/fakehosts
echo "A" >> /tmp/fakehosts

Then export this hosts file using the RESOLV_WRAPPER_HOSTS environment variable and preload the resolv_wrapper as illustrated before: RESOLV_WRAPPER_HOSTS=/tmp/fakehosts ./kinit_unit_test

If something is going wrong, resolv_wrapper allows the user to enable debugging when the RESOLV_WRAPPER_DEBUGLEVEL is set to a numerical value. The highest allowed value, that enabled low-level tracing is 4.

Let's show a complete example with a simple C program that tries to resolve an A record of We'll start with this C source file:
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <stdio.h>

#include <netinet/in.h>
#include <arpa/nameser.h>
#include <arpa/inet.h>
#include <resolv.h>

int main(void)
        int rv;
        struct __res_state dnsstate;
        unsigned char answer[256];
        char addr[64] = { 0 } ;
        ns_msg handle;
        ns_rr rr;

        memset(&dnsstate, 0, sizeof(struct __res_state));
        res_nquery(&dnsstate, "", ns_c_in, ns_t_a, answer, sizeof(answer));

        ns_initparse(answer, sizeof(answer), &handle);
        ns_parserr(&handle, ns_s_an, 0, &rr), 0;
        inet_ntop(AF_INET, ns_rr_rdata(rr), addr, sizeof(addr));

        return 0;

Please note I omitted all error checking to keep the code short.

Compile the file and link it with libresolv:
gcc rwrap_example.c -lresolv -o rwrap_example

And now you can just run the example binary along with resolv_wrapper, using the RESOLV_WRAPPER_DEBUGLEVEL to see the progress: RESOLV_WRAPPER_HOSTS=/tmp/fakehosts RESOLV_WRAPPER_DEBUGLEVEL=4 ./rwrap_example
RWRAP_TRACE(1970) - _rwrap_load_lib_function: Loaded __res_ninit from libc
RWRAP_TRACE(1970) - rwrap_res_nquery: Resolve the domain name [] - class=1, type=1
RWRAP_TRACE(1970) - rwrap_res_nquery:         nameserver:
RWRAP_TRACE(1970) - rwrap_res_nquery:         nameserver:
RWRAP_TRACE(1970) - rwrap_res_nquery:         nameserver:
RWRAP_TRACE(1970) - rwrap_res_fake_hosts: Searching in fake hosts file /tmp/fakehosts
RWRAP_TRACE(1970) - rwrap_res_fake_hosts: Successfully faked answer for []
RWRAP_TRACE(1970) - rwrap_res_nquery: The returned response length is: 0

And that's pretty much it!

The resolv_wrapper lives at the site along with the other wrappers and has its own dedicated page. You can grab the source code from The git tree includes a RST-formatted documentation file, with even more details and example. We're also working on making resolv_wrapper usable on other platforms than Linux, although there are still some bugs here and there.


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