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In this guide, we will cover the installation of PowerDNS Authoritative Name Server and PowerDNS-Admin on Ubuntu 20.04|18.04 and Debian 10/9 flavors of Linux. PowerDNS is a DNS server, written in C++ and licensed under the GPL. It runs on most Linux and all other Unix derivatives. As of this writing, the latest release is version 4.1.X.

Install PowerDNS on Ubuntu 20.40|18.04 / Debian 10|9

In this section we’re going to install and configure:

  • MariaDB database server.
  • PowerDNS service

Step 1: Install and Configure MariaDB Database Server

We need to install database server which will be used by PowerDNS to store zone files. Note that you also have an option to use text files like BIND. Our database server of choice is MariaDB.

For installation of MariaDB on Ubuntu / Debian Linux Server:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install mariadb-server -y

Once the database server is installed and running, proceed to create the PowerDNS Database and User Account in MariaDB.

$ sudo mysql -u root -p

Next is to create powerdns database user and assign privileges:

GRANT ALL ON powerdns.* TO 'powerdns'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'Str0ngPasswOrd';

Flush the privileges to update the user settings:


Switch to powerdns database to create tables:

USE powerdns;

Create the required tables:

CREATE TABLE domains (
  id                    INT AUTO_INCREMENT,
  name                  VARCHAR(255) NOT NULL,
  master                VARCHAR(128) DEFAULT NULL,
  last_check            INT DEFAULT NULL,
  type                  VARCHAR(6) NOT NULL,
  notified_serial       INT UNSIGNED DEFAULT NULL,
  account               VARCHAR(40) CHARACTER SET 'utf8' DEFAULT NULL,
) Engine=InnoDB CHARACTER SET 'latin1';

CREATE UNIQUE INDEX name_index ON domains(name);

CREATE TABLE records (
  id                    BIGINT AUTO_INCREMENT,
  domain_id             INT DEFAULT NULL,
  name                  VARCHAR(255) DEFAULT NULL,
  type                  VARCHAR(10) DEFAULT NULL,
  content               VARCHAR(64000) DEFAULT NULL,
  ttl                   INT DEFAULT NULL,
  prio                  INT DEFAULT NULL,
  change_date           INT DEFAULT NULL,
  disabled              TINYINT(1) DEFAULT 0,
  ordername             VARCHAR(255) BINARY DEFAULT NULL,
  auth                  TINYINT(1) DEFAULT 1,
) Engine=InnoDB CHARACTER SET 'latin1';

CREATE INDEX nametype_index ON records(name,type);
CREATE INDEX domain_id ON records(domain_id);
CREATE INDEX ordername ON records (ordername);

CREATE TABLE supermasters (
  ip                    VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
  nameserver            VARCHAR(255) NOT NULL,
  account               VARCHAR(40) CHARACTER SET 'utf8' NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (ip, nameserver)
) Engine=InnoDB CHARACTER SET 'latin1';

CREATE TABLE comments (
  id                    INT AUTO_INCREMENT,
  domain_id             INT NOT NULL,
  name                  VARCHAR(255) NOT NULL,
  type                  VARCHAR(10) NOT NULL,
  modified_at           INT NOT NULL,
  account               VARCHAR(40) CHARACTER SET 'utf8' DEFAULT NULL,
  comment               TEXT CHARACTER SET 'utf8' NOT NULL,
) Engine=InnoDB CHARACTER SET 'latin1';

CREATE INDEX comments_name_type_idx ON comments (name, type);
CREATE INDEX comments_order_idx ON comments (domain_id, modified_at);

CREATE TABLE domainmetadata (
  id                    INT AUTO_INCREMENT,
  domain_id             INT NOT NULL,
  kind                  VARCHAR(32),
  content               TEXT,
) Engine=InnoDB CHARACTER SET 'latin1';

CREATE INDEX domainmetadata_idx ON domainmetadata (domain_id, kind);

CREATE TABLE cryptokeys (
  id                    INT AUTO_INCREMENT,
  domain_id             INT NOT NULL,
  flags                 INT NOT NULL,
  active                BOOL,
  content               TEXT,
) Engine=InnoDB CHARACTER SET 'latin1';

CREATE INDEX domainidindex ON cryptokeys(domain_id);

CREATE TABLE tsigkeys (
  id                    INT AUTO_INCREMENT,
  name                  VARCHAR(255),
  algorithm             VARCHAR(50),
  secret                VARCHAR(255),
) Engine=InnoDB CHARACTER SET 'latin1';

CREATE UNIQUE INDEX namealgoindex ON tsigkeys(name, algorithm);

You can confirm that your tables are created:

MariaDB [powerdns]> show tables;
| Tables_in_powerdns |
| comments           |
| cryptokeys         |
| domainmetadata     |
| domains            |
| records            |
| supermasters       |
| tsigkeys           |
7 rows in set (0.000 sec)

Now we have a database and an empty table. PowerDNS should now be able to launch with it.

Step 2: Install PowerDNS on Ubuntu 20.04|18.04 / Debian 10|9

Ubuntu 20.04|18.04 comes with systemd-resolve which you need to disable since it binds to port 53 which will conflict with PowerDNS ports.

Run the following commands to disable the resolved service:

sudo systemctl disable systemd-resolved
sudo systemctl stop systemd-resolved

Also, remove the symlinked resolv.conf file

$ ls -lh /etc/resolv.conf 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 39 Jul 24 15:50 /etc/resolv.conf -> ../run/systemd/resolve/stub-resolv.conf
$ sudo rm /etc/resolv.conf

Then create new resolv.conf file.

echo "nameserver" | sudo tee /etc/resolv.conf

Note that you can install PowerDNS from the official apt repository or from PowerDNS repository. To install from apt repository, run:

sudo apt update 
sudo apt install pdns-server pdns-backend-mysql

Add official PowerDNS repository for Ubuntu 20.04|18.04.

# Ubuntu 20.04
echo "deb [arch=amd64] focal-auth-master main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pdns.list

# Ubuntu 18.04
echo "deb [arch=amd64] bionic-auth-master main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pdns.list

Import GPG key:

curl | sudo apt-key add -

Update package list and install PowerDNS package (pdns-server) and MySQL backend (pdns-backend-mysql).

sudo apt update
sudo apt install pdns-server pdns-backend-mysql

Install packages on Debian 10/9

Add APT repository

Debian 10

echo "deb [arch=amd64] buster-auth-master main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pdns.list

Debian 9:

echo "deb [arch=amd64] stretch-auth-master main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pdns.list

Import gpg key:

sudo apt install wget apt-transport-https gnupg2
curl | sudo apt-key add -

Then install PowerDNS packages on Debian 10 / Debian 9:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pdns-server pdns-backend-mysql

When asked whether to configure the PowerDNS database with dbconfig-common, answer No

Configure PowerDNS to use MySQL backend:

Here is my MySQL configuration for PowerDNS:

$ sudo vim /etc/powerdns/pdns.d/pdns.local.gmysql.conf 
# MySQL Configuration
# Launch gmysql backend
# gmysql parameters
# gmysql-socket=

Restart and enable the pdns service

sudo systemctl restart pdns
sudo systemctl enable pdns

You can now test PowerDNS to confirm that the service is online:

$ sudo apt install net-tools -y
$ sudo netstat -tap | grep pdns
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      6211/pdns_server
tcp6       0      0 [::]:domain             [::]:*                  LISTEN      6211/pdns_server   

Check if PowerDNS service is responding correctly:

$ dig @

; <<>> DiG 9.16.1-Ubuntu <<>> @
; (1 server found)
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: REFUSED, id: 14054
;; flags: qr rd; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1
;; WARNING: recursion requested but not available

; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 1232
;.				IN	NS

;; Query time: 0 msec
;; WHEN: Wed Apr 28 11:04:57 UTC 2021
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 28

Install PowerDNS-Admin on Ubuntu 20.04|18.04 / Debian 10|9

PowerDNS-Admin is a PowerDNS web interface with the following advanced features:

  • Multiple domain management
  • Domain template
  • User management
  • User access management based on domain
  • User activity logging
  • Local DB / LDAP / Active Directory user authentication
  • Support SAML authentication
  • Google OAuth authentication
  • Github OAuth authentication
  • Support Two-factor authentication (TOTP)
  • Dashboard and pdns service statistics
  • DynDNS 2 protocol support
  • Edit IPv6 PTRs using IPv6 addresses directly (no more editing of literal addresses!)

Install Python 3 development package

sudo apt-get install python3-dev

Install required packages for building python libraries from requirements.txt file

sudo apt install -y libmysqlclient-dev libsasl2-dev libldap2-dev libssl-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev libxmlsec1-dev libffi-dev pkg-config apt-transport-https virtualenv build-essential

Install Node.js

curl -sL | bash -
apt install -y nodejs

Install yarn to build asset files:

curl -sS | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list
sudo apt update -y
sudo apt install -y yarn

Checkout source code and create virtualenv:

git clone /opt/web/powerdns-admin
cd /opt/web/powerdns-admin
virtualenv -p python3 flask


Already using interpreter /usr/bin/python3
Using base prefix '/usr'
New python executable in /opt/web/powerdns-admin/flask/bin/python3
Also creating executable in /opt/web/powerdns-admin/flask/bin/python
Installing setuptools, pkg_resources, pip, wheel...done.

Activate your python3 environment and install libraries:

source ./flask/bin/activate
pip install -r requirements.txt

Before running PowerDNS-Admin, we need to configure database connectivity.

vim ./powerdnsadmin/

These are the required config:

  • DB connection information
  • PNDS API service endpoint and API key
  • Port Number used
  • Bind Address

Comment out SQLite SQLALCHEMY_DATABASE_URI line and uncomment MySQL one:

SQLA_DB_USER = 'powerdns'
SQLA_DB_PASSWORD = 'Str0ngPasswOrd'
SQLA_DB_NAME = 'powerdns'


See below screenshot:

powerdns admin mysql setup

Once you your configuration is ready. Create the database schema by running commands:

(flask) $ export FLASK_APP=powerdnsadmin/
(flask)$ flask db upgrade
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Context impl MySQLImpl.
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Will assume non-transactional DDL.
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade  -> 787bdba9e147, Init DB
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade 787bdba9e147 -> 59729e468045, Add view column to setting table
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade 59729e468045 -> 1274ed462010, Change setting.value data type
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade 1274ed462010 -> 4a666113c7bb, Adding Operator Role
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade 4a666113c7bb -> 31a4ed468b18, Remove all setting in the DB
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade 31a4ed468b18 -> 654298797277, Upgrade DB Schema
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade 654298797277 -> 0fb6d23a4863, Remove user avatar
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade 0fb6d23a4863 -> 856bb94b7040, Add comment column in domain template record table
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade 856bb94b7040 -> b0fea72a3f20, Update domain serial columns type
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade b0fea72a3f20 -> 3f76448bb6de, Add user.confirmed column
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Running upgrade 3f76448bb6de -> 0d3d93f1c2e0, Add domain_id to history table

Then run db migrate:

(flask)$ flask db migrate -m "Init DB"
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Context impl MySQLImpl.
INFO  [alembic.runtime.migration] Will assume non-transactional DDL.
INFO  [] Detected removed index 'namealgoindex' on 'tsigkeys'
INFO  [] Detected removed table 'tsigkeys'
INFO  [] Detected removed index 'domainidindex' on 'cryptokeys'
INFO  [] Detected removed table 'cryptokeys'
INFO  [] Detected removed index 'nametype_index' on 'records'
INFO  [] Detected removed table 'records'
INFO  [] Detected removed index 'domainmetadata_idx' on 'domainmetadata'
INFO  [] Detected removed table 'domainmetadata'
INFO  [] Detected removed table 'supermasters'
INFO  [] Detected removed index 'comments_name_type_idx' on 'comments'
INFO  [] Detected removed index 'comments_order_idx' on 'comments'
INFO  [] Detected removed table 'comments'
INFO  [] Detected removed index 'name_index' on 'domains'
INFO  [] Detected removed table 'domains'
INFO  [] Detected added index 'ix_history_created_on' on '['created_on']'
Generating /opt/web/powerdns-admin/migrations/versions/ ...  done

Generate asset files with yarn:

(flask)$ yarn install --pure-lockfile
yarn install v1.22.5
[1/4] Resolving packages...
[2/4] Fetching packages...
[3/4] Linking dependencies...
[4/4] Building fresh packages...
Done in 14.84s.

(flask)$ flask assets build
Building bundle: generated/login.js
[INFO] Building bundle: generated/login.js
Building bundle: generated/login.css
[INFO] Building bundle: generated/login.css
Building bundle: generated/main.js
[INFO] Building bundle: generated/main.js
Building bundle: generated/main.css
[INFO] Building bundle: generated/main.css

Test that your PowerDNS-Admin runs fine:

(flask)$ ./
[INFO] * Running on (Press CTRL+C to quit)
[INFO] * Restarting with stat
[WARNING] * Debugger is active!
[INFO] * Debugger PIN: 466-405-858

Configure systemd service and Nginx

We’re going to be managing PowerDNS-Admin with systemd.

Create a service unit file like below:

$ sudo vim /etc/systemd/system/powerdns-admin.service

ExecStart=/opt/web/powerdns-admin/flask/bin/gunicorn --pid /run/powerdns-admin/pid --bind unix:/run/powerdns-admin/socket 'powerdnsadmin:create_app()'
ExecReload=/bin/kill -s HUP $MAINPID
ExecStop=/bin/kill -s TERM $MAINPID


Create socket file

$ sudo vim /etc/systemd/system/powerdns-admin.socket
Description=PowerDNS-Admin socket



Create environment file

$ sudo vim /etc/tmpfiles.d/powerdns-admin.conf
d /run/powerdns-admin 0755 pdns pdns -

Powerdns-Admin service and set it to start on boot:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl restart powerdns-admin
sudo systemctl enable powerdns-admin

Set permissions of the

sudo chown -R pdns:pdns /run/powerdns-admin
sudo chown -R pdns:pdns /opt/web/powerdns-admin
sudo systemctl restart powerdns-admin

Confirm that status is running state:

$ systemctl status powerdns-admin
● powerdns-admin.service - PowerDNS-Admin
     Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/powerdns-admin.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Wed 2021-04-28 12:51:22 UTC; 9s ago
TriggeredBy: ● powerdns-admin.socket
   Main PID: 19574 (gunicorn)
      Tasks: 2 (limit: 4683)
     Memory: 63.3M
     CGroup: /system.slice/powerdns-admin.service
             ├─19574 /opt/web/powerdns-admin/flask/bin/python /opt/web/powerdns-admin/flask/bin/gunicorn --pid /run/powerdns-admin/pid --bind unix:/run/powerdns->
             └─19582 /opt/web/powerdns-admin/flask/bin/python /opt/web/powerdns-admin/flask/bin/gunicorn --pid /run/powerdns-admin/pid --bind unix:/run/powerdns->

Apr 28 12:51:22 ubuntu systemd[1]: Started PowerDNS-Admin.
Apr 28 12:51:22 ubuntu gunicorn[19574]: [2021-04-28 12:51:22 +0000] [19574] [INFO] Starting gunicorn 20.0.4
Apr 28 12:51:22 ubuntu gunicorn[19574]: [2021-04-28 12:51:22 +0000] [19574] [INFO] Listening at: unix:/run/powerdns-admin/socket (19574)
Apr 28 12:51:22 ubuntu gunicorn[19574]: [2021-04-28 12:51:22 +0000] [19574] [INFO] Using worker: sync
Apr 28 12:51:22 ubuntu gunicorn[19582]: [2021-04-28 12:51:22 +0000] [19582] [INFO] Booting worker with pid: 19582

Install and Configure Nginx for Powerdns-Admin

Install Nginx using:

sudo apt install nginx

Configure Nginx

sudo vim /etc/nginx/conf.d/powerdns-admin.conf

Add content like below:

server {
  listen *:80;
  server_name     ;

  index                     index.html index.htm index.php;
  root                      /opt/web/powerdns-admin;
  access_log                /var/log/nginx/powerdns-admin.local.access.log combined;
  error_log                 /var/log/nginx/powerdns-admin.local.error.log;

  client_max_body_size              10m;
  client_body_buffer_size           128k;
  proxy_redirect                    off;
  proxy_connect_timeout             90;
  proxy_send_timeout                90;
  proxy_read_timeout                90;
  proxy_buffers                     32 4k;
  proxy_buffer_size                 8k;
  proxy_set_header                  Host $host;
  proxy_set_header                  X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
  proxy_set_header                  X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
  proxy_headers_hash_bucket_size    64;

  location ~ ^/static/  {
    include  /etc/nginx/mime.types;
    root /opt/web/powerdns-admin/powerdnsadmin;

    location ~*  \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ {
      expires 365d;

    location ~* ^.+.(css|js)$ {
      expires 7d;

  location / {
    proxy_pass            http://unix:/run/powerdns-admin/socket;
    proxy_read_timeout    120;
    proxy_connect_timeout 120;
    proxy_redirect        off;

Check nginx syntax then restart nginx service:

$ sudo nginx -t
nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

$ sudo systemctl restart nginx

Visit PowerDNS-Admin web interface.
powerdns admin create account

Click “Create an account” button and Register a user. The first user will be in the Administrator role.

When you log in with created username and password, you should get an interface like below:

powerdns admin web interface min 1

Configure PowerDNS API

Edit PowerDNS configuration file and enable the built-in API:

$ sudo vim /etc/powerdns/pdns.conf
# Configure like below
api-key=f5ee4390-6542-48c9-a2a0-e5d0bd399490 #You can generate one from

Restart powerdns service:

sudo systemctl restart powerdns-admin

Provide PowerDNS API connection information before PowerDNS-Admin can query your PowerDNS data. This is done under Settings > PDNS

configure powerdns api connection

Enjoy Administering PowerDNS with PowerDNS-Admin on Ubuntu 20.40|18.04 / Debian 10/9 server.


Similar articles:

How to Install and Configure Dnsmasq on Ubuntu

How to Setup ISPConfig DNS Only on CentOS 7

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