The most widely used Name Server Software

Last modified: May 21, 2014

BIND is open source software that implements the Domain Name System (DNS) protocols for the Internet. It is a reference implementation of those protocols, but it is also production-grade software, suitable for use in high-volume and high-reliability applications.

BIND is by far the most widely used DNS software on the Internet, providing a robust and stable platform on top of which organizations can build distributed computing systems with the knowledge that those systems are fully compliant with published DNS standards.

What is BIND?

BIND is an implementation of the Domain Name System (DNS) protocols. The name BIND stands for “Berkeley Internet Name Domain”, because the software originated in the early 1980s at the University of California at Berkeley. In recent years, the word BIND has become, like “radar” and “laser”, more word than acronym.

The DNS protocols are part of the core Internet standards. They specify the process by which one computer can find another computer on the basis of its name. ‘An implementation of DNS protocols’ means our software distribution contains all of the software necessary for asking and answering name service questions.

The BIND software distribution has three parts:

A Domain Name System server

A program called “named” (pronounced “name-dee”), which stands for Name Daemon, answers all received questions by following the rules specified in the DNS protocol standards. You can provide DNS services on the Internet by installing this software on a server computer and giving it correct information about your domain names.

A Domain Name System resolver library

resolver is a program that resolves questions about names by sending those questions to appropriate servers and responding appropriately to the servers’ replies. A resolver library is a collection of software components that a programmer can add to software being developed, which will give that software the ability to resolve names. For example, a programmer who was programming a new web browser does not need to create the part of it that looks up names in DNS; he or she can plug in the resolver library and then send questions to the library software components. This saves time (the programmer does not need to re-invent that particular wheel) and helps ensure that the new browser correctly follows the DNS standards.

Software tools for testing servers

These are the tools we use, and we include them in the distribution to assist you with your own diagnostics.

When you install an operating system on your computer, that operating system will contain whatever resolver library its developers selected for it. When you set up a server computer, its vendor usually has provided some DNS server software (usually BIND) so that the server will work as delivered. Because BIND faithfully implements the DNS protocols, there is no need for the resolver (which asks questions) and the server (which answers questions) to be running the same software.

Resources and Support

Mailing Lists

ISC hosts two active public mailing lists, one for announcements and one for discussion related to BIND and BIND development. The announcement list can be reached via bind-announce, and the BIND users list can be reached via bind-users. We also provide expert professional support for our enterprise users via You can reach our support team by filling out the form at

Click here to manage your subscription to these or any other ISC-hosted mailing lists.

Feature Requests and Bug Reporting

Before submitting a bug report please ensure first that you are running the current version. To report a bug, please submit a Bug Report Form, or submit via email to  Suggestions for features, enhancements, etc. should be sent to

Reporting security issues

BIND security is critical to the Internet Infrastructure. If you think you may be seeing a potential security vulnerability in BIND (for example, a crash with REQUIRE, INSIST, or ASSERT failure), please report it immediately to and do not post it on the public mailing list.  We provide numerous alternate ways to contact our security officer alias, including via the Bug Report Form and the ISC Contact form.

Please see our Security Vulnerabilty Disclosure Policy for details on how we publish security vulnerabilities.


The primary documentation for BIND is the ARM, the Administrator’s Reference Manual. There is a separate edition of the ARM for each major release of BIND. You can download the PDF file of the ARM from our KnowledgeBase Page

RFC compliance documentation contains some of the major DNS RFC’s that are, or were, incorporated in BIND’s design.

Donate to ISC

ISC developed and maintains BIND 9, the current version. Our ability to maintain this software and be actively involved in furthering core Internet protocols is directly dependent on community subsidy and participation. Please consider supporting us by visiting ISC’s Donations page.

History of BIND

The Berkeley Internet Name Domain package was originally written at University of California at Berkeley as a graduate student project under a grant from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA). Versions of BIND through 4.8.3 were maintained by the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) at UC Berkeley. Douglas Terry, Mark Painter, David Riggle and Songnian Zhou made up the initial BIND project team.

After that, additional work on the software package was done by Ralph Campbell. Kevin Dunlap, a Digital Equipment Corporation employee on loan to the CSRG, worked on BIND for 2 years–from 1985 to 1987.  Many other people also contributed to its development during that time: Doug Kingston, Craig Partridge, David Waitzman of BBN Technologies, Smoot Carl-Mitchell, Mike Muuss, Jim Bloom and Mike Schwartz. BIND maintenance was subsequently handled by Mike Karels and O. Kure.

BIND versions 4.9 and 4.9.1 were released by Digital Equipment Corporation (now Hewlett-Packard Company). Paul Vixie, then a DEC employee, became BIND’s primary caretaker. Paul was assisted by Phil Almquist, Robert Elz, Alan Barrett, Paul Albitz, Bryan Beecher, Andrew Partan, Andy Cherenson, Tom Limoncelli, Berthold Paffrath, Fuat Baran, Anant Kumar, Art Harkin, Win Treese, Don Lewis, Christophe Wolfhugel, and others.

BIND Version 4.9.2 was sponsored by Vixie Enterprises. Paul Vixie became BIND’s principal architect/programmer. BIND versions from 4.9.3 onward have been developed and maintained by ISC with support being provided by ISC’s sponsors. As co-architect/programmers, Bob Halley and Paul Vixie released the first production-ready version of BIND version 8 in May 1997. BIND version 9 was released in September 2000 and is a major rewrite of nearly all aspects of the underlying BIND architecture. BIND 9 was underwritten by the following organizations:

  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Compaq Computer Corporation
  • IBM
  • Process Software Corporation
  • Silicon Graphics, Inc.
  • Network Associates, Inc.
  • U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency
  • USENIX Association
  • Stichting NLNet – NLNet Foundation
  • Nominum, Inc.

Today, BIND versions 4 and 8 are officially deprecated. To experience better service and quality ISC urges all BIND users to upgrade to version 9 at their earliest convenience.