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An Overview of BIND 9 Documentation
Author: Michael McNally Reference Number: AA-01031 Views: 147435 Created: 2013-08-15 00:14 Last Updated: 2017-04-27 14:43 0 Rating/ Voters

For the benefit of our users, ISC maintains several documentation resources for BIND 9 and updates them as appropriate for each new release.

The BIND 9 Administrator Reference Manual

For documentation covering configuration syntax, detailed feature descriptions, command usage, and basic troubleshooting and security considerations, the best place to start is the BIND 9 Administrator Reference Manual, also known as "the ARM".  Every source archive of BIND 9 distributed by ISC contains copies of the Administrator Reference Manual in HTML and PDF formats.  They can be obtained by downloading the source or they can be read with a browser directly from ISC FTP server. 

Be sure to choose a version that applies to your major branch of BIND, as feature sets, command syntax, and default options for settings can sometimes differ between major branches (e.g. 9.6-ESV, 9.8, and 9.9.)

The links above provide access to the most recent stable release version of each major branch of BIND currently undergoing development.  If you require a copy of the ARM that is specific to a version which has been superseded by a new release or for a development version of BIND which is newer than the most recent stable release, you can find version-specific ARMs in the FTP source archives linked above, under the "doc/arm" subdirectory of each specific version.

For convenience (and so that the ARMs can be included in KB searches), we also maintain the most recent PDF version of the ARM for each major release of BIND 9 in the Knowledge Base.  The KB articles (one for each version) are located here:

BIND Release Notes

In addition to the comprehensive documentation in the BIND Administrator Reference Manual, ISC also publishes release notes for each official release of BIND 9.  These notes highlight security fixes, bug fixes, new features, and feature changes and are intended to highlight the differences between each release version of BIND 9 and the version that preceded it.

Release notes can be found with the BIND9 source distributions on the ISC FTP server and they are collected in the BIND 9 Release Notes category in the ISC Knowledge Base.


Source distributions of BIND also include a "CHANGES" file and a "HISTORY" file.

CHANGES is a record of source code changes included in that specific version.  Unlike the Release Notes, which cover only the changes since the last stable release version, the change list in CHANGES goes back to the base version from which a specific BIND version was forked.

HISTORY contains a text overview describing the major feature differences between different major branches of the BIND 9 source.

Did You Know?

If you would like to go beyond the reference documentation listed above, DNSco, an ISC subsidiary, offers professional training and certification on DNS fundamentals, BIND server administration, DNSSEC, and a variety of other topics.  Get trained by the Experts!

For more information on training, visit
For information on DNS, DHCP and BIND Certification, visit:

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For assistance with problems and questions for which you have not been able to find an answer in our Knowledge Base, we recommend searching our community mailing list archives and/or posting your question there (you will need to register there first for your posts to be accepted). The bind-users and the dhcp-users lists particularly have a long-standing and active membership.

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