Multiple instances


This section describes the usage of kresd when running under systemd. For other uses, please refer to Usage without systemd.

Knot Resolver can utilize multiple CPUs running in multiple independent instances (processes), where each process utilizes at most single CPU core on your machine. If your machine handles a lot of DNS traffic run multiple instances.

All instances typically share the same configuration and cache, and incoming queries are automatically distributed by operating system among all instances.

Advantage of using multiple instances is that a problem in a single instance will not affect others, so a single instance crash will not bring whole DNS resolver service down.


For maximum performance, there should be as many kresd processes as there are available CPU threads.

To run multiple instances, use a different identifier after @ sign for each instance, for example:

$ systemctl start kresd@1.service
$ systemctl start kresd@2.service
$ systemctl start kresd@3.service
$ systemctl start kresd@4.service

With the use of brace expansion in BASH the equivalent command looks like this:

$ systemctl start kresd@{1..4}.service

For more details see kresd.systemd(7).

Zero-downtime restarts

Resolver restart normally takes just milliseconds and cache content is persistent to avoid performance drop after restart. If you want real zero-downtime restarts use multiple instances and do rolling restart, i.e. restart only one resolver process at a time.

On a system with 4 instances run these commands sequentially:

$ systemctl restart kresd@1.service
$ systemctl restart kresd@2.service
$ systemctl restart kresd@3.service
$ systemctl restart kresd@4.service

At any given time only a single instance is stopped and restarted so remaining three instances continue to service clients.

Instance-specific configuration

Instances can use arbitrary identifiers for the instances, for example we can name instances like dns1, tls and so on.

$ systemctl start kresd@dns1
$ systemctl start kresd@dns2
$ systemctl start kresd@tls
$ systemctl start kresd@doh

The instance name is subsequently exposed to kresd via the environment variable SYSTEMD_INSTANCE. This can be used to tell the instances apart, e.g. when using the Name Server Identifier (NSID) module with per-instance configuration:

local systemd_instance = os.getenv("SYSTEMD_INSTANCE")


More arcane set-ups are also possible. The following example isolates the individual services for classic DNS, DoT and DoH from each other.

local systemd_instance = os.getenv("SYSTEMD_INSTANCE")

if string.match(systemd_instance, '^dns') then
     net.listen('', 53, { kind = 'dns' })
elseif string.match(systemd_instance, '^tls') then
     net.listen('', 853, { kind = 'tls' })
elseif string.match(systemd_instance, '^doh') then
     net.listen('', 443, { kind = 'doh2' })
     panic("Use kresd@dns*, kresd@tls* or kresd@doh* instance names")