Administering BIND with WEBMIN

Some argue that WEBMIN deters Linux newbies from properly learning how to administer the OS, but administrators can use WEBMIN as a browser interface for a number of UNIX services.

Some argue that WEBMIN will deter Linux beginners from properly learning how to administer the OS, but administrators can use the WEBMIN utility to be a browser interface for a number of UNIX services. One service for which WEBMIN is a convenient front end is DNS BIND. WEBMIN is a modular utility, and you can find modules for different services or develop one yourself. To find a list of platforms that are supported, get documentation,...

determine the necessary Perl 5 support files, and download a package or source code go to www.webmin.com. Also in Linux, you can use RPM packages which are easier for users to install.

WEBMIN, which is an abbreviation of Web administration, lets you connect to a server by entering the address: http://server_IP_address:10000. A log-in dialog box appears; it asks for your username and password. Once connected to your server, you can click on the BIND DNS Server icon. Click on Next on the Module Config tab to enter BIND's configuration screen and enter the settings you desire. At the Display options you can specify how the BIND configuration is shown in WEBMIN. The Zone file options section lets you create and manage your DNS zones. Finally, there's the System configuration at the bottom of the page where you can configure the BIND WEBMIN module by setting the NAMED.CONF and BIND binary file location. You'll also want to make sure that the WHOIS command and the command that reloads zones is properly specified in the System section. For BIND 8 that would be the NDC command, for BIND 9 it is the RNDC.CONF and NAMED.CONF files.

You can use the BIND module to start and stop BIND. You'll be able to set both global and local configuration for the BIND service when you run BIND on multiple computers. What WEBMIN does is provide a graphical interface to editing the NAMED.CONF file. Other aspects of WEBMIN you'll want to explore are the Logging and Errors section and the Access Control Lists option. You can use WEBMIN to specify files maintained for statistics, databases, and PID files on the Files and Directories page, as well as specify forwarders on the Forwarding and Transfers page; on the Addresses and Topology page you can set port and addresses for your DNS servers to use to listen for queries, and set DNS options that are helpful for working with firewalls.

There are many other WEBMIN controls to be found in the DNS BIND module, allowing for a rich control of this service.


Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.
This was first published in December 2003

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