Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I own a D-Link DIR-600. You can see part of its configuration here:

D-Link configuration screenshot

As you can see, I set two fixed hostnames, "wilson", and "sheldon". However, if I try to access them by name, no matter from which of my computers in my LAN, no matter whether Ubuntu/Windows, this doesn't work:

$ nslookup wilson

** server can't find wilson: NXDOMAIN

$ nslookup wilson.local

** server can't find wilson.local: NXDOMAIN

$ nslookup

Non-authoritative answer:

Is there a way to get these hostnames, besides adding them to /etc/hosts?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Using Linux on both matchines, try getent hosts wilson.local, or simply ping wilson.local. This assumes you already have avahi-daemon and nss-mdns installed, which is usually the case.

Specific DNS tools like nslookup and dig don't automatically support .local over MDNS (multicast DNS). They bypass the standard C library for name resolution, and don't integrate with avahi-daemon themselves.

I have also tried setting "search local" in /etc/resolv.conf / asking NetworkManager to use "local" as a local domain. I.e. allowing ping wilson without the .local. But it looks like nss-mdns doesn't implement it.

I don't have instructions for Windows. The simplest way might be to use Bonjour from Apple.

That's the Apple-derived system that Linux adopted. There's also a Windows-based alternative. Linux can integrate into it using the "winbind" daemon from samba. I don't have instructions for that either :).

I don't think my Netgear DG834 returns local DNS names either. Interestingly, I think they could if they wanted to. My router and others uses dnsmasq, and the default dnsmasq configuration already returns local DNS names. I've tested this myself - I run dnsmasq on a Linux server, and disable/ignore my router's DHCP/DNS services.

share|improve this answer
ping, ssh, with or without .local, all this don't work. For the time being, I added the hostnames to /etc/hosts. They have fixed IPs anyway. Thanks for the info about your Netgear device. Where does the default dnsmasq get all the hostnames of the LAN from? – Torsten Bronger Jan 21 '13 at 12:43
The hostnames are provided in their DHCP requests. – sourcejedi Jan 21 '13 at 14:32
Update: hostnames can be provided in DHCP requests, but may not be. A recent version of Windows does it. Recent NetworkManager does it (Ubuntu, debian unstable, but seemingly NOT debian 6.0). It's not done on non-NetworkManager setups on debian 6.0 either (I haven't tested others). – sourcejedi Jan 30 '13 at 11:56
Thank you for the explanation. Actually, I was just confused because I thought the router got the local names from the computers. But obviously, it is the other way round. Be that as it may, both my D-Link and your Netgear don't return the hostnames in DNS lookups, and this is the problem. – Torsten Bronger Jan 30 '13 at 13:02

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.