Internet-Draft SVCB for DNS August 2022
Schwartz Expires 13 February 2023 [Page]
Intended Status:
Standards Track
B. Schwartz
Google LLC

Service Binding Mapping for DNS Servers


The SVCB DNS resource record type expresses a bound collection of endpoint metadata, for use when establishing a connection to a named service. DNS itself can be such a service, when the server is identified by a domain name. This document provides the SVCB mapping for named DNS servers, allowing them to indicate support for encrypted transport protocols.

Discussion Venues

This note is to be removed before publishing as an RFC.

Discussion of this document takes place on the ADD Working Group mailing list (, which is archived at

Source for this draft and an issue tracker can be found at

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

This Internet-Draft will expire on 13 February 2023.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The SVCB resource record type [SVCB] provides clients with information about how to reach alternative endpoints for a service, which may have improved performance or privacy properties. The service is identified by a "scheme" indicating the service type, a hostname, and optionally other information such as a port number. A DNS server is often identified only by its IP address (e.g., in DHCP), but in some contexts it can also be identified by a hostname (e.g., "NS" records, manual resolver configuration) and sometimes also a non-default port number.

Use of the SVCB resource record type requires a mapping document for each service type (Section 2.4.3 of [SVCB]), indicating how a client for that service can interpret the contents of the SVCB SvcParams. This document provides the mapping for the "dns" service type, allowing DNS servers to offer alternative endpoints and transports, including encrypted transports like DNS over TLS (DoT) [RFC7858], DNS over HTTPS (DoH) [RFC8484], and DNS over QUIC (DoQ) [RFC9250].

The SVCB mapping described in this document is intended as a general-purpose baseline. Subsequent specifications will adapt this mechanism as needed to support specific configurations (e.g., for communication between stub and recursive resolvers).

2. Conventions and Definitions

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

3. Identities and Names

SVCB record names (i.e., QNAMEs) for DNS services are formed using Port-Prefix Naming (Section 2.3 of [SVCB]), with a scheme of "dns". For example, SVCB records for a DNS service identified as would be queried at

In some use cases, the name used for retrieving these DNS records is different from the server identity used to authenticate the secure transport. To distinguish between these, this document uses the following terms:

3.1. Special case: non-default ports

Normally, a DNS service is identified by an IP address or a domain name. When connecting to the service using unencrypted DNS over UDP or TCP, clients use the default port number for DNS (53). However, in rare cases, a DNS service might be identified by both a name and a port number. For example, the "dns:" URI scheme [DNSURI] optionally includes an authority, comprised of a host and a port number (with a default of 53). DNS URIs normally omit the authority, or specify an IP address, but a hostname and non-default port number are allowed.

When the binding authority specifies a non-default port number, Port-Prefix Naming places the port number in an additional prefix on the name. For example, if the binding authority is "", the client would query for SVCB records at If two DNS services operating on different port numbers provide different behaviors, this arrangement allows them to preserve the distinction when specifying alternative endpoints.

4. Applicable existing SvcParamKeys

4.1. alpn

This key indicates the set of supported protocols (Section 6.1 of [SVCB]). There is no default protocol, so the "no-default-alpn" key does not apply, and the "alpn" key MUST be present.

If the protocol set contains any HTTP versions (e.g., "h2", "h3"), then the record indicates support for DoH, and the "dohpath" key MUST be present (Section 5.1). All keys specified for use with the HTTPS record are also permissible, and apply to the resulting HTTP connection.

If the protocol set contains protocols with different default ports, and no port key is specified, then protocols are contacted separately on their default ports. Note that in this configuration, ALPN negotiation does not defend against cross-protocol downgrade attacks.

4.2. port

This key is used to indicate the target port for connection (Section 6.2 of [SVCB]). If omitted, the client SHALL use the default port number for each transport protocol (853 for DoT and DoQ, 443 for DoH).

This key is automatically mandatory for this binding. This means that a client that does not respect the "port" key MUST ignore any SVCB record that contains this key. (See Section 7 of [SVCB] for the definition of "automatically mandatory".)

Support for the "port" key can be unsafe if the client has implicit elevated access to some network service (e.g., a local service that is inaccessible to remote parties) and that service uses a TCP-based protocol other than TLS. A hostile DNS server might be able to manipulate this service by causing the client to send a specially crafted TLS SNI or session ticket that can be misparsed as a command or exploit. To avoid such attacks, clients SHOULD NOT support the "port" key unless one of the following conditions applies:

  • The client is being used with a DNS server that it trusts not to attempt this attack.
  • The client is being used in a context where implicit elevated access cannot apply.
  • The client restricts the set of allowed TCP port values to exclude any ports where a confusion attack is likely to be possible (e.g., the "bad ports" list from the "Port blocking" section of [FETCH]).

4.3. Other applicable SvcParamKeys

These SvcParamKeys from [SVCB] apply to the "dns" scheme without modification:

  • mandatory
  • ech
  • ipv4hint
  • ipv6hint

Future SvcParamKeys might also be applicable.

5. New SvcParamKeys

5.1. dohpath

"dohpath" is a single-valued SvcParamKey whose value (both in presentation and wire format) MUST be a URI Template in relative form ([RFC6570], Section 1.1) encoded in UTF-8 [RFC3629]. If the "alpn" SvcParam indicates support for HTTP, "dohpath" MUST be present. The URI Template MUST contain a "dns" variable, and MUST be chosen such that the result after DoH template expansion (Section 6 of [RFC8484]) is always a valid and functional ":path" value ([RFC9113], Section 8.3.1).

When using this SVCB record, the client MUST send any DoH requests to the HTTP origin identified by the "https" scheme, the authentication name, and the port from the "port" SvcParam (if present). HTTP requests MUST be directed to the resource resulting from DoH template expansion of the "dohpath" value.

Clients SHOULD NOT query for any "HTTPS" RRs when using "dohpath". Instead, the SvcParams and address records associated with this SVCB record SHOULD be used for the HTTPS connection, with the same semantics as an HTTPS RR. However, for consistency, service operators SHOULD publish an equivalent HTTPS RR, especially if clients might learn about this DoH service through a different channel.

6. Limitations

This document is concerned exclusively with the DNS transport, and does not affect or inform the construction or interpretation of DNS messages. For example, nothing in this document indicates whether the service is intended for use as a recursive or authoritative DNS server. Clients need to know the intended use of services based on their context.

Not all features of this specification will be applicable or effective in all contexts:

7. Examples

8. Security Considerations

8.1. Adversary on the query path

This section considers an adversary who can add or remove responses to the SVCB query.

During secure transport establishment, clients MUST authenticate the server to its authentication name, which is not influenced by the SVCB record contents. Accordingly, this draft does not mandate the use of DNSSEC. This draft also does not specify how clients authenticate the name (e.g., selection of roots of trust), which might vary according to the context.

8.1.1. Downgrade attacks

This attacker cannot impersonate the secure endpoint, but it can forge a response indicating that the requested SVCB records do not exist. For a SVCB-reliant client ([SVCB], Section 3) this only results in a denial of service. However, SVCB-optional clients will generally fall back to insecure DNS in this case, exposing all DNS traffic to attacks.

8.1.2. Redirection attacks

SVCB-reliant clients always enforce the authentication domain name, but they are still subject to attacks using the transport, port number, and "dohpath" value, which are controlled by this adversary. By changing these values in the SVCB answers, the adversary can direct DNS queries for $HOSTNAME to any port on $HOSTNAME, and any path on "https://$HOSTNAME". If the DNS client uses shared TLS or HTTP state, the client could be correctly authenticated (e.g., using a TLS client certificate or HTTP cookie).

This behavior creates a number of possible attacks for certain server configurations. For example, if https://$HOSTNAME/upload accepts any POST request as a public file upload, the adversary could forge a SVCB record containing dohpath=/upload{?dns}. This would cause the client to upload and publish every query, resulting in unexpected storage costs for the server and privacy loss for the client. Similarly, if two DoH endpoints are available on the same origin, and the service has designated one of them for use with this specification, this adversary can cause clients to use the other endpoint instead.

To mitigate redirection attacks, a client of this SVCB mapping MUST NOT identify or authenticate itself when performing DNS queries, except to servers that it specifically knows are not vulnerable to such attacks. If an endpoint sends an invalid response to a DNS query, the client SHOULD NOT send more queries to that endpoint. Multiple DNS services MUST NOT share a hostname identifier (Section 3) unless they are so similar that it is safe to allow an attacker to choose which one is used.

8.2. Adversary on the transport path

This section considers an adversary who can modify network traffic between the client and the alternative service (identified by the TargetName).

For a SVCB-reliant client, this adversary can only cause a denial of service. However, because DNS is unencrypted by default, this adversary can execute a downgrade attack against SVCB-optional clients. Accordingly, when use of this specification is optional, clients SHOULD switch to SVCB-reliant behavior if SVCB resolution succeeds. Specifications making using of this mapping MAY adjust this fallback behavior to suit their requirements.

9. IANA Considerations

Per [SVCB] IANA is directed to add the following entry to the SVCB Service Parameters registry.

Table 1
Number Name Meaning Reference
7 dohpath DNS over HTTPS path template (This document)

Per [Attrleaf], IANA is directed to add the following entry to the DNS Underscore Global Scoped Entry Registry:

Table 2
SVCB _dns (This document)

10. References

10.1. Normative References

Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, , <>.
Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646", STD 63, RFC 3629, DOI 10.17487/RFC3629, , <>.
Gregorio, J., Fielding, R., Hadley, M., Nottingham, M., and D. Orchard, "URI Template", RFC 6570, DOI 10.17487/RFC6570, , <>.
Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, , <>.
Hoffman, P. and P. McManus, "DNS Queries over HTTPS (DoH)", RFC 8484, DOI 10.17487/RFC8484, , <>.
Thomson, M., Ed. and C. Benfield, Ed., "HTTP/2", RFC 9113, DOI 10.17487/RFC9113, , <>.
Schwartz, B., Bishop, M., and E. Nygren, "Service binding and parameter specification via the DNS (DNS SVCB and HTTPS RRs)", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-dnsop-svcb-https-10, , <>.

10.2. Informative References

Crocker, D., "Scoped Interpretation of DNS Resource Records through "Underscored" Naming of Attribute Leaves", BCP 222, RFC 8552, DOI 10.17487/RFC8552, , <>.
Josefsson, S., "Domain Name System Uniform Resource Identifiers", RFC 4501, DOI 10.17487/RFC4501, , <>.
"Fetch Living Standard", , <>.
Hu, Z., Zhu, L., Heidemann, J., Mankin, A., Wessels, D., and P. Hoffman, "Specification for DNS over Transport Layer Security (TLS)", RFC 7858, DOI 10.17487/RFC7858, , <>.
Huitema, C., Dickinson, S., and A. Mankin, "DNS over Dedicated QUIC Connections", RFC 9250, DOI 10.17487/RFC9250, , <>.

Appendix A. Mapping Summary

This table serves as a non-normative summary of the DNS mapping for SVCB.

Table 3
Mapped scheme "dns"
RR type SVCB (64)
Name prefix _dns for port 53, else _$PORT._dns
Required keys alpn
Automatically Mandatory Keys port
Special behaviors Supports all HTTPS RR SvcParamKeys
  Overrides the HTTPS RR for DoH
  Default port is per-transport
  No encrypted -> cleartext fallback


Thanks to the many reviewers and contributors, including Andrew Campling, Peter van Dijk, Paul Hoffman, Daniel Migault, Matt Norhoff, Eric Rescorla, Andreas Schulze, and Eric Vyncke.

Author's Address

Benjamin Schwartz
Google LLC