keymgr - Knot DNS key management utility


keymgr basic_option [parameters...]

keymgr [config_option config_storage] zone command argument...


The keymgr utility serves for manual key management in Knot DNS server.

Functions for DNSSEC keys and KASP (Key And Signature Policy) management are provided.

The DNSSEC and KASP configuration is stored in a so called KASP database. The database is backed by LMDB.

Basic options
, --help

Print the program help.

-V, --version

Print the program version.

-t, --tsig tsig_name [tsig_algorithm] [tsig_bits]

Generates a TSIG key. TSIG algorithm can be specified by string (default: hmac-sha256), bit length of the key by number (default: optimal length given by algorithm). The generated TSIG key is only displayed on stdout: the command does not create a file, nor include the key in a keystore.

-b, --brief

List keys briefly. Output to a terminal is colorized by default.

-l, --list

Print the list of zones that have at least one key stored in the configured KASP database.

-x, --mono

Don't generate colorized output.

-X, --color

Force colorized output in the --brief mode.

Config options
, --config file

Use a textual configuration file (default is /etc/knot/knot.conf).

-C, --confdb directory

Use a binary configuration database directory (default is /var/lib/knot/confdb). The default configuration database, if exists, has a preference to the default configuration file.

-D, --dir path

Use specified KASP database path and default configuration.


Keymgr runs with the same user privileges as configured for knotd. For example, if keymgr is run as root, but the configured user is knot, it won't be able to read files (PEM files, KASP database, ...) readable only by root.


Prints the list of key IDs and parameters of keys belonging to the zone.

generate [arguments...]

Generates new DNSSEC key and stores it in KASP database. Prints the key ID. This action takes some number of arguments (see below). Values for unspecified arguments are taken from corresponding policy (if -c or -C options used) or from Knot policy defaults.

import-bind BIND_key_file

Imports a BIND-style key into KASP database (converting it to PEM format). Takes one argument: path to BIND key file (private or public, but both MUST exist).

import-pub BIND_pubkey_file

Imports a public key into KASP database. This key won't be rollovered nor used for signing. Takes one argument: path to BIND public key file.

import-pem PEM_file [arguments...]

Imports a DNSSEC key from PEM file. The key parameters (same as for the generate action) need to be specified (mainly algorithm, timers...) because they are not contained in the PEM format.

import-pkcs11 key_id [arguments...]

Imports a DNSSEC key from PKCS #11 storage. The key parameters (same as for the generate action) need to be specified (mainly algorithm, timers...) because they are not available. In fact, no key data is imported, only KASP database metadata is created.

nsec3-salt [new_salt]

Prints the current NSEC3 salt used for signing. If new_salt is specified, the salt is overwritten. The salt is printed and expected in hexadecimal, or dash if empty.

local-serial [new_serial]

Print SOA serial stored in KASP database when using on-secondary DNSSEC signing. If new_serial is specified, the serial is overwritten. After updating the serial, expire the zone (zone-purge +expire +zonefile +journal) if the server is running, or remove corresponding zone file and journal contents if the server is stopped.

master-serial [new_serial]

Print SOA serial of the remote master stored in KASP database when using on-secondary DNSSEC signing. If new_serial is specified, the serial is overwritten (not recommended).

set key_spec [arguments...]

Changes a timing argument (or ksk/zsk) of an existing key to a new value. Key_spec is either the key tag or a prefix of the key ID, with an optional [id=|keytag=] prefix; arguments are like for generate, but just the related ones.

ds [key_spec]

Generate DS record (all digest algorithms together) for specified key. Key_spec is like for set, if unspecified, all KSKs are used.

dnskey [key_spec]

Generate DNSKEY record for specified key. Key_spec is like for ds, if unspecified, all KSKs are used.

delete key_spec

Remove the specified key from zone. If the key was not shared, it is also deleted from keystore.

share key_ID zone_from

Import a key (specified by full key ID) from another zone as shared. After this, the key is owned by both zones equally.

Commands related to Offline KSK feature
[timestamp-from] timestamp-to

Pre-generate ZSKs for use with offline KSK, for the specified period starting from now or specified time.

show-offline timestamp-from [timestamp-to]

Print pre-generated offline key-related records for specified time interval. If timestamp_to is omitted, it will be to infinity.

del-offline timestamp-from timestamp-to

Delete pre-generated offline key-related records in specified time interval.


Delete old keys that are in state 'removed'.

generate-ksr timestamp-from timestamp-to

Print to stdout KeySigningRequest based on pre-generated ZSKs for specified period.

sign-ksr ksr_file

Read KeySigingRequest from a text file, sign it using local keyset and print SignedKeyResponse to stdout.

validate-skr skr_file

Read SignedKeyResponse from a text file and validate the RRSIGs in it if not corrupt.

import-skr skr_file

Read SignedKeyResponse from a text file and import the signatures for later use in zone. If some signatures have already been imported, they will be deleted for the period from beginning of the SKR to infinity.

Generate arguments
Arguments are separated by space, each of them is in format 'name=value'.

Either an algorithm number (e.g. 14), or text name without dashes (e.g. ECDSAP384SHA384).


Key length in bits.


If set to yes, the key will be used for signing DNSKEY rrset. The generated key will also have the Secure Entry Point flag set to 1.


If set to yes, the key will be used for signing zone (except DNSKEY rrset). This flag can be set concurrently with the ksk flag.


Overrides the standard setting of the Secure Entry Point flag.

The following arguments are timestamps of key lifetime (see DNSSEC Key states):

Key started to be used for signing, not published (only for algorithm rollover).


Key published.


Key is waiting for submission (only for KSK).


Key used for signing.


Key still used for signing, but another key is active (only for KSK or algorithm rollover).


Key still published, but no longer used for signing.


Key no longer published, but still used for signing (only for algorithm rollover).


Key revoked according to RFC 5011 trust anchor roll-over.


Key deleted.



Zero timestamp means infinite future.


Positive number of seconds since 1970 UTC.


Date and time in this format without any punctuation.


A sign character (+, -), a number, and an optional time unit (y, mo, d, h, mi, s). The default unit is one second. E.g. +1mi, -2mo.

Output timestamp formats


The timestamps are printed as UNIX timestamp.


The timestamps are printed relatively to now using time units (e.g. -2y5mo, +1h13s).


The timestamps are printed in the ISO8601 format (e.g. 2016-12-31T23:59:00).


Exit status of 0 means successful operation. Any other exit status indicates an error.



Generate new TSIG key:

$ keymgr -t my_name hmac-sha384


Generate new DNSSEC key:

$ keymgr generate algorithm=ECDSAP256SHA256 size=256 \
  ksk=true created=1488034625 publish=20170223205611 retire=+10mo remove=+1y


Import a DNSSEC key from BIND:

$ keymgr import-bind ~/bind/Kharbinge4d5.+007+63089.key


Configure key timing:

$ keymgr set 4208 active=+2mi retire=+4mi remove=+5mi


Share a KSK from another zone:

$ keymgr share e687cf927029e9db7184d2ece6d663f5d1e5b0e9


RFC 6781 - DNSSEC Operational Practices. RFC 7583 - DNSSEC Key Rollover Timing Considerations.

knot.conf(5), knotc(8), knotd(8).


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