I have a list of IP addresses on a network, and most of them support multicast DNS. I'd like to be able to resolve the server name instead of just having the IP address.

ping computer.local
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=5.510 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=5.396 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=5.273 ms

Works, but I'd like to be able to determine that name from the IP. Also the devices don't necessarily broadcast any services, but definitely do support mDNS broadcast. So looking through services won't work.

  • 1
    What OS are you using? mdns-scan seems to be an option on linux.
    – Zoredache
    May 19, 2010 at 0:24
  • 2
    OS X, but if I can get a linux solution, I'm sure I can find an analogue in the mac world. mdns-scan looks for broadcasted services, so that's not going to work. Some of the devices don't broadcast any services, but will resolve their address when queried by name.
    – Adam
    May 19, 2010 at 2:05

4 Answers 4


Since you already know the IP addresses you can look up the reverse entry for each IP address to get the associated forward address:

$ dig -x @ -p 5353

; <<>> DiG 9.6.0-APPLE-P2 <<>> -x @ -p 5353
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 54300
;; flags: qr aa; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1

;   IN  PTR

;; ANSWER SECTION: 10 IN  PTR atj-mbp.local.

atj-mbp._device-info._tcp.local. 10 IN  TXT "model=MacBookPro3,1"

;; Query time: 2 msec
;; WHEN: Sat Jun 26 07:53:44 2010
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 126

For a more shell script friendly output, use '+short':

$ dig +short -x @ -p 5353

Depending on your intended use case there may be a more appropriate method of performing the query. Feel free to contact me if you should need any further information.

  • 2
    Any idea why this might fail against an iOS device that is not running any Bonjour services? It works against a Mac that is not otherwise running any Bonjour services. Sep 19, 2013 at 2:35
  • Worth noting that you can also find out which IP addresses are on the network using arp-scan installed from homebrew or macports. Or, if you just want to get a feel for the hosts on the network, you could look at your current ARP table using a command already on OS X: arp. Specifically, you can use the command arp -n -i <interface> -l -a, where <interface> should be the name of the network interface you're curious about (e.g. en0). Mar 11, 2016 at 18:52

On Linux, you can use the getent command from the libc:

getent hosts

Or install avahi-utils, and run

  • The package is avahi-tools on Fedora and it's the only thing on this page that worked :)
    – Navin
    Jun 14, 2017 at 12:47

This appears to work:

dig -x -p 5353 @

From Fun with multicast DNS


Well I did a fair bit more research on this one, and looking through mDNDS and the protocol, it looks like this isn't actually possible. There is a lookup request on the protocol for name retrieval, so when you ask for a name the appropriate client will respond, but there is not lookup request for an IP. There's no central store for addresses either.

Hope this help someone else, as I've spent way too much time tracking this down.

If anyone has any other ideas on this issues, I've love to hear em.

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