How to setup DNS service for DHCP-enabled KVM guests

So you’ve set up KVM on your machine and you have installed a few guests to run on top, now it’s the time to access them.

Since KVM can run without a GUI, you might want to control these guests from the command line. But, how can you do it if you do not know the IP of the guests?

You can either connect to the guest using virt-viewer:

virt-viewer -c qemu:///system $MACHINE &

which requires more bandwidth since it will open up a VNC session.

Or, use ssh to connect using the guest’s name, like this:


which doesn’t require that you know the IP beforehand.

To achieve this, access guest machines using their hostname only, you can do the following: Edit /etc/resolv.conf and add the line nameserver right after the search entries .

Your file should look something like this afterwards:

Then you are ready to go! No restarts needed no extra steps.


  • After restarting (and some times periodically), the /etc/resolv.conf file will return to its original form because it is updating each time you restart the host machine from data it gets via the network DHCP server.
  • For this tutorial to work as is, your host machine needs to have the virtual IP (the default IP of your host in libvirt — NOT THE IP of eth0, it’s a totally different thing). If you have a different libvirt IP use that one in the /etc/resolv.conf file.
  • Use your host’s IP as your first nameserver in /etc/resolv.conf to achieve name resolution for your guests.

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