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man pages section 1M: System Administration Commands

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Updated: July 2017



dnssec-keyfromlabel - DNSSEC key generation tool


dnssec-keyfromlabel -a algorithm -l label [-c class] [-f flag] [-k]
     [-n nametype] [-p protocol] [-t type] [-v level] name


dnssec-keyfromlabel retrieves keys with a specified label from a crypto hardware device and builds key files for DNSSEC (Secure DNS), as defined in RFC 2535 and RFC 4034.


The following options are supported:

–a algorithm

Selects the cryptographic algorithm. The value of algorithm must be one of RSAMD5 (RSA) or RSASHA1, DSA, NSEC3RSASHA1, NSEC3DSA, or DH (Diffie-Hellman). These values are case-insensitive.

Note that for DNSSEC, RSASHA1 is a mandatory-to-implement algorithm, and DSA is recommended. Note also that DH automatically sets the –k flag.

–l label

Specifies the label of keys in the crypto hardware (PKCS#11) device.

–n nametype

Specifies the owner type of the key. The value of nametype must either be ZONE (for a DNSSEC zone key (KEY/DNSKEY)), HOST or ENTITY (for a key associated with a host (KEY)), USER (for a key associated with a user (KEY)), or OTHER (DNSKEY). These values are case-insensitive.

–c class

Indicates that the DNS record containing the key should have the specified class. If not specified, class IN is used.

–f flag

Set the specified flag in the flag field of the KEY/DNSKEY record. The only recognized flag is KSK (Key Signing Key) DNSKEY.


Displays a short summary of the options and arguments to dnssec-keyfromlabel.


Generate KEY records rather than DNSKEY records.

–p protocol

Sets the protocol value for the generated key. The protocol is a number between 0 and 255. The default is 3 (DNSSEC). Other possible values for this argument are listed in RFC 2535 and its successors.

–t type

Indicates the use of the key. type must be one of AUTHCONF, NOAUTHCONF, NOAUTH, or NOCONF. The default is AUTHCONF. AUTH refers to the ability to authenticate data, and CONF the ability to encrypt data.

–v level

Sets the debugging level.


When dnssec-keyfromlabel completes successfully, it displays a string of the form Knnnn.+aaa+iiiii to the standard output. This is an identification string for the key files it has generated, which translates as follows.

  • nnnn is the key name.

  • aaa is the numeric representation of the algorithm.

  • iiiii is the key identifier (or footprint).

dnssec-keyfromlabel creates two files, with names based on the displayed string. Knnnn.+aaa+iiiii.key contains the public key, and Knnnn.+ aaa+iiiii.private contains the private key.

The first file contains a DNS KEY record that can be inserted into a zone file (directly or with an $INCLUDE statement).

The second file contains algorithm-specific fields. For obvious security reasons, this file does not have general read permission.


See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:

Interface Stability

See Also

dnssec-keygen(1M), dnssec-signzone(1M), attributes(5)

RFC 2539, RFC 2845, RFC 4033

See the BIND 9 Administrator's Reference Manual. As of the date of publication of this man page, this document is available at https://kb.isc.org/article/AA-01031https://kb.isc.org/article/AA-01031 .