DNS Server

Use LocalStack as DNS server to redirect AWS queries to LocalStack

All versions of LocalStack include a DNS server that resolves the domain name localhost.localstack.cloud to the LocalStack container. This enables seamless connectivity from your container to LocalStack, or from created compute resources like Lambda, ECS or EC2 to LocalStack. In addition, LocalStack Pro supports transparent execution mode, which means that your application code automatically accesses the LocalStack APIs as opposed to the real APIs on AWS.

When the system starts up, the log output contains the IP address of the local DNS server. If port 53 can be bound on the host, the LocalStack CLI will publish port 53 from the container to the host on IP address Otherwise it will not publish port 53 to the host. Regardless of whether the port can be bound or not, the DNS server is bound to address of the LocalStack container so other containers within the same docker network can use the DNS server. See the Network Troubleshooting guide for more details.


If you experience problems when running LocalStack and the DNS server is the issue, you can disable the DNS server using:


You can also specify which exact URLs should be redirected to LocalStack by defining a hostname regex like:


Using this configuration, the LocalStack DNS server only redirects ECR and Lambda domains to LocalStack, and the rest will be resolved via $DNS_SERVER. This can be used for hybrid setups, where certain API calls (e.g., ECR, Lambda) target LocalStack, whereas other services will target real AWS.

There is the possibility to manually set the DNS server all not-redirected queries will be forwarded to:


Per default, LocalStack uses the Google DNS resolver at

Self-signed certificates

When you configure transparent execution mode using DNS, you may still have to configure your application’s AWS SDK to accept self-signed certificates. This is a technical limitation caused by the SSL certificate validation mechanism, due to the fact that we are repointing AWS domain names (e.g., *.amazonaws.com) to localhost. For example, the following command will fail with an SSL error:

$ aws kinesis list-streams
SSL validation failed for https://kinesis.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/ [SSL: CERTIFICATE_VERIFY_FAILED] certificate verify failed: self signed certificate (_ssl.c:1076)

whereas the following command works:

$ PYTHONWARNINGS=ignore aws --no-verify-ssl kinesis list-streams
    "StreamNames": []

Disabling SSL validation depends on the programming language and version of the AWS SDK used. For example, the boto3 AWS SDK for Python provides a parameter verify=False to disable SSL verification. Similar parameters are available for most other AWS SDKs.

For Node.js, you can set this environment variable in your application, to allow the AWS SDK to talk to the local APIs via SSL:


System DNS configuration

In order to use transparent execution mode, the system needs to be configured to use the predefined DNS server. This is necessary if you want to test code running directly on your system against LocalStack, instead of AWS. The configuration depends on the operating system.


In macOS it can be configured in the Network System Settings, under Linux this is usually achieved by configuring /etc/resolv.conf as follows:


The example above needs to be adjusted to the actual IP address of the DNS server. You can also configure a custom IP address by setting the DNS_ADDRESS environment variable (e.g., DNS_ADDRESS=

If you require access to DNS from the host, docker must be able to publish port 53 from the LocalStack container to your host. It can only do this if there are no other processes listening on port 53.

A common macOS process that listens on port 53 is mDNSResponder, which is part of the Bonjour protocol. To find out if a program is listening on a port, run the following command:

# sudo is required if the port is < 1024
[sudo] lsof -P -i :<port> | grep LISTEN
# e.g. sudo lsof -P -i :53 | grep LISTEN

If mDNSResponder is listening on port 53, the output looks like

$ sudo lsof -P -i :53 | grep LISTEN
mDNSRespo 627 _mdnsresponder   54u  IPv4 0xbe20f6c354a1802d      0t0  TCP *:53 (LISTEN)
mDNSRespo 627 _mdnsresponder   55u  IPv6 0xbe20f6c34d8b9d75      0t0  TCP *:53 (LISTEN)

If this is the case, you can disable “Internet Sharing” in system preferences, which should disable Bonjour and therefore mDNSResponder.


In Linux, the configuration depends on your network manager/DNS configuration.


On many modern systemd-based distributions, like Ubuntu, systemd-resolved is used for name resolution. LocalStack provides a CLI command for exactly this scenario. To use systemd-resolved and the LocalStack domain resolution, try the following steps.

Start LocalStack Pro with DNS_ADDRESS= as environment variable. This makes LocalStack bind port 53 on, whereas systemd-resolved binds its stub resolver to, which prevents a conflict. Once LocalStack is started, you can test the DNS server using dig @ s3.amazonaws.com versus dig @ s3.amazonaws.com, the former should return an A record, the latter the real AWS DNS result.


$ localstack dns systemd-resolved

To revert, please run:

$ localstack dns systemd-resolved --revert

This command sets the DNS server of the bridge interface of the docker network LocalStack currently runs in to the LocalStack container’s IP address. (The command does not work with host networking or without LocalStack running for this reason.) Also, it configures the DNS route to exclusively (and only) route the following DNS names (and its subdomains) to the LocalStack DNS:


If you want to perform this action manually, please do the following steps:

  1. Find out the bridge interface and container IP of your LocalStack container. Use docker inspect localstack_main to get the IP address and network, then docker inspect network to get the interface name. If the interface name is not mentioned, it is usually the first 12 characters of the network ID prefixed with br-, like br-0ae393d3345e. If you use the default bridge network, it is usually docker0.

  2. Configure the DNS resolver for the bridge network:

    # resolvectl dns <network_name> <container_ip>
  3. Set the DNS route to route only the above mentioned domain names (and subdomains) to LocalStack:

    # resolvectl domain <network_name> ~amazonaws.com ~aws.amazon.com ~cloudfront.net ~localhost.localstack.cloud

In both cases, you can use resolvectl query s3.amazonaws.com or resolvectl query example.com to check which interface your DNS request is routed through, to confirm only the above mentioned domains (and its subdomains) are routed to LocalStack.

When correctly configured, either using the LocalStack CLI command or manually, only the requests for the mentioned domain names are routed to LocalStack, all other queries will resolve as usual.

Other resolution settings

Depending on your Linux distribution, the settings to set a DNS server can be quite different. In some systems, directly editing /etc/resolv.conf is possible, like described in macOS. If your /etc/resolv.conf is overwritten by some service, it might be possible to install and enable/start resolvconf and specify the nameserver in /etc/resolvconf/resolv.conf.d/head with nameserver This will prepend this line in the resolv.conf file even after changes.

DNS Rebind Protection

If you rely on your local network’s DNS, your router/DNS server might block requests due to the DNS Rebind Protection. This feature is enabled by default in pfSense, OPNSense, OpenWRT, AVM FritzBox, and potentially also other devices. Some of the vendors might allow upstream responses in the range (like OpenWRT).

You can check if your DNS setup works correctly by resolving a subdomain of localhost.localstack.cloud:

$ dig test.localhost.localstack.cloud

; <<>> DiG 9.16.8-Ubuntu <<>> test.localhost.localstack.cloud
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 45150
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 2, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1

; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 65494
;test.localhost.localstack.cloud. IN	A

test.localhost.localstack.cloud. 10786 IN CNAME	localhost.localstack.cloud.
localhost.localstack.cloud. 389	IN	A

;; Query time: 16 msec
;; WHEN: Fr Jรคn 14 11:23:12 CET 2022
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 90

If the DNS resolves the subdomain to your localhost (, your setup is working. If not, please check the configuration of your router / DNS if the Rebind Protection is active or enable the LocalStack DNS on your system.

Customizing internal endpoint resolution

The DNS name localhost.localstack.cloud (and any subdomains like mybucket.s3.localhost.localstack.cloud) is used internally in LocalStack to route requests, e.g., between a Lambda container and the LocalStack APIs.

Please refer to the steps in the Route53 docs for more details on how the internal DNS name can be customized.