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This article is about a specific Unix tool that generates /etc/resolv.conf. For the generic article about /etc/resolv.conf, see resolv.conf.

In some FreeBSD, Linux distributions, and other Unix-like operating systems, the resolvconf program maintains the system information about the currently available name servers and manages the contents of the configuration file resolv.conf, which determines Domain Name System (DNS) resolver parameters.

Before a computer can connect to an external network resource by name, it must convert that alpha-numeric name (e.g., into its corresponding network address called an IP address (e.g., The computer performs this conversion by contacting one of a number of special computers called name servers, which have tables of resource names and corresponding IP addresses. The information about the servers is kept in the configuration file resolv.conf. However, when multiple programs need to dynamically modify the resolv.conf file, they can interfere with each other and store incorrect information in the file. The resolvconf program addresses this problem. It acts as an intermediary between programs that supply name server information (e.g., DHCP clients) and programs that use name server information (e.g., resolvers). When resolvconf is properly installed, the resolv.conf file is replaced by a symbolic link to /etc/resolvconf/run/resolv.conf and the resolver instead uses the dynamically generated linked file. In a system without resolvconf, the file is normally maintained manually or by a collection of scripts. The scripts may cause problems, because there is no program to control access to the file. Resolvconf controls access to the file, allowing many programs to use it at the same time.

resolvconf cannot easily be disabled on some systems, i.e. on FreeBSD and may work on resolv.conf even when not needed.

In properly administered environments the program or daemon (depends on implementation) can cause extra efforts since it interferes with any centralized management due to its nature of running changes unasked. (Central change management and compliance will normally require changes no changes to be run on the sidelines)


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