I have a old bind dns server (linux centos5.5 with bind 9.3.6) with 2000+ zone files. Whenever any change is done in any file the dns is restarted. I guess a reload must be sufficient though.

Problem is that a restart takes a long time 50s-60s and dns requests fail during that time.

This must be a very common issue , What is the correct way of restarting bind

2 Answers 2


You could reload just the specific zone that was changed:

rndc reload zonename

rather than restarting the whole server. That's the simplest way. I actually do something different on my production DNS:

  • Keep all my masters on one separate server (a tiny VM) that services NO user queries
  • Use 2 slave servers to service all queries that get all their zones replicated from the master
  • All changes get made on master, if a reload is needed only the affected zones get retransferred to the slaves.
  • If a reconfig is required (ie changing named.conf to add/delete zones or whatever) schedule that for a maintenance window.
  • 1
    I've always preferred to have the master copy of your zones on a different server than the one serving your clients. Additionally, and especially on a serving master, you should be checking any changes with named-checkconf and named-checkzone before you reload the zone. Sep 5, 2015 at 16:28
  • Skip the filename, i.e. rndc reload, to reload the whole thing. Aug 17, 2018 at 22:35
  • 1
    For dynamic zones, you can freeze, reload and then thaw: rndc freeze <zone>, rndc reload <zone> and finally rndc thaw <zone>. If you try to reload without freezing, you will get rndc: 'reload' failed: dynamic zone (unix.stackexchange.com/a/132834/293952). May 24, 2021 at 20:13

service named reload should also reload and not restart bind. I agree with others for maximum availability have separate slave bind servers which can serve dns requests if you do need to do maintenance on your master dns server.

  • the service seems to be 'named-chroot' on my server, not sure if that is a customisation
    – nick fox
    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:05

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