cache enables a frontend cache.


With cache enabled, all records except zone transfers and metadata records will be cached for up to 3600s. Caching is mostly useful in a scenario when fetching data from the backend (upstream, database, etc.) is expensive.

This plugin can only be used once per Server Block.


cache [TTL] [ZONES...]
  • TTL max TTL in seconds. If not specified, the maximum TTL will be used, which is 3600 for noerror responses and 1800 for denial of existence ones. Setting a TTL of 300: cache 300 would cache records up to 300 seconds.
  • ZONES zones it should cache for. If empty, the zones from the configuration block are used.

Each element in the cache is cached according to its TTL (with TTL as the max). For the negative cache, the SOA’s MinTTL value is used. A TTL of zero is not allowed. A cache is divided into 256 shards, each holding up to 512 items by default - for a total size of 256 * 512 = 131,072 items.

If you want more control:

cache [TTL] [ZONES...] {
    success CAPACITY [TTL]
    denial CAPACITY [TTL]
  • TTL and ZONES as above.
  • success, override the settings for caching successful responses. CAPACITY indicates the maximum number of packets we cache before we start evicting (randomly). TTL overrides the cache maximum TTL.
  • denial, override the settings for caching denial of existence responses. CAPACITY indicates the maximum number of packets we cache before we start evicting (LRU). TTL overrides the cache maximum TTL. There is a third category (error) but those responses are never cached.
  • prefetch will prefetch popular items when they are about to be expunged from the cache. Popular means AMOUNT queries have been seen with no gaps of DURATION or more between them. DURATION defaults to 1m. Prefetching will happen when the TTL drops below PERCENTAGE, which defaults to 10%, or latest 1 second before TTL expiration. Values should be in the range [10%, 90%]. Note the percent sign is mandatory. PERCENTAGE is treated as an int.

Capacity and Eviction

When specifying CAPACITY, the minimum cache capacity is 131,072. Specifying a lower value will be ignored. Specifying a CAPACITY of zero does not disable the cache.

Eviction is done per shard - i.e. when a shard reaches capacity, items are evicted from that shard. Since shards don’t fill up perfectly evenly, evictions will occur before the entire cache reaches full capacity. Each shard capacity is equal to the total cache size / number of shards (256).


If monitoring is enabled (via the prometheus directive) then the following metrics are exported:

  • coredns_cache_size{server, type} - Total elements in the cache by cache type.
  • coredns_cache_hits_total{server, type} - Counter of cache hits by cache type.
  • coredns_cache_misses_total{server} - Counter of cache misses.
  • coredns_cache_drops_total{server} - Counter of dropped messages.

Cache types are either “denial” or “success”. Server is the server handling the request, see the metrics plugin for documentation.


Enable caching for all zones, but cap everything to a TTL of 10 seconds:

. {
    cache 10

Proxy to Google Public DNS and only cache responses for (or below).

. {
    proxy .