I am usually a Linux user, but I would like to test my mojolicious webapp on a macOS system. thus, I would like *.test *.*.test and *.*.*.test all to resolve to, where my webapp is eagerly listening on port 80 .

I understand that this is best done by installing dnsmasq. For macOS,

# brew install dnsmasq

and then

# echo "address=/test/" >> /usr/local/dnsmasq.conf
# launchctl start dnsmasq
# launchctl list | grep dns
89254   0   homebrew.mxcl.dnsmasq

so, if I understand this correctly, ping abc.test should now ping localhost. alas, it does not. (or, is there a better way to test?)

I also do not understand how to shut down and restart dnsmasq. launchctl restart dnsmasq, launchctl kill dnsmasq.mxcl.dnsmasq, and launchctl disable 89254 (and many permutations thereof) all seem to elicit scorn but no results.

1 Answer 1


You've not said which version of MacOS you're on; my reply here is from macOS Sierra Version 10.12.5. (I'm using it in order to run tests against a VMWare installation of ADCS...)

First, the commands to stop and start dnsmasq are:

sudo launchctl stop homebrew.mxcl.dnsmasq
sudo launchctl start homebrew.mxcl.dnsmasq

ETA If launchctl stop doesn't actually stop it, it's likely that the .plistfile (presumably /Library/LaunchDaemons/homebrew.mxcl.dnsmasq.plist contains the lines


If you don't want it to be always on, change that to


instead. Or you can disable it with

sudo launchctl disable homebrew.mxcl.dnsmasq

The next time you want to turn it on, run

sudo launchctl enable homebrew.mxcl.dnsmasq

Second, you should check the other values of your dnsmasq.conf file. Here's mine:

[jenny@temeraire ~] $ grep -v ^# /usr/local/etc/dnsmasq.conf | grep -v ^$

Note the line resolv-file. It tells dnsmasq which nameservers to use for hosts that aren't in the dnsmasq config. In my case, it looks like this:

[jenny@temeraire ~] $ more /usr/local/etc/resolv.conf 

So all DNS lookups that aren't answered by my virtual AD server will be handled by Google's nameservers, meaning that I can still connect to hosts that aren't in my config.

Third, to debug whether dnsmasq acts properly, don't use ping. Instead, use dig, like so:

dig @ abc.test

To test whether your system is using dnsmasq as its resolver, again use dig:

dig abc.test

It will tell you what nameserver it's using, among other things.

Dig will give you information about how the lookup is actually done.

Fourth, in order to use dnsmasq as your resolver, you need to also change /etc/resolv.conf to point to instead of whatever it now points at. You should start by copying your current /etc/resolv.conf to /usr/local/etc/resolv.conf, so that dnsmasq will know what nameservers to use. Then change /etc/resolv.conf to read


On my laptop, I do this in System Preferences -> Network -> DNS. I'm not sure how you do it on a server; perhaps simply editing the file will work.

  • hi jenny---this was great. [0] (/etc/resolv.conf claims that it is no longer used in OS X.) [1] my macbook moves around, too, so it needs to pick up the IPv4 address via DHCP. alas, I think DHCP also populates Network->DNS. how do you fix DNS to, but still pick up/repopulate the IP? [2] I just noted that launchctl stop automatically relaunches dnsmasq. so how do you really stop this thing?
    – ivo Welch
    Jul 13, 2017 at 13:02
  • @ivoWelch I've added info about how to stop the service more permanently. As for DHCP, if you go in and edit the settings as I wrote, that will override the DNS settings while still picking up on the rest of the DHCP settings.
    – Jenny D
    Jul 13, 2017 at 13:10
  • @ivoWelch Adding an additional spin like getting dnsmasq in various DHCP networks to work (your item 1) is beyond the scope of your original question. Please ask a new question.
    – klanomath
    Jul 13, 2017 at 19:59
  • @JennyD ad item 3: dig @ abc.test will yield a positive result if dnsmasq is set up properly. It doesn't necessarily resolve abc.test to mDNSresponder (and subsequently Safari, ping or any other app which requires name resolution) though. In an environment set up properly, ping should work. ad item 4: the injection of into /private/var/run/resolv.conf would have to be done after every reboot/probably after every "Renew DHCP Lease" ...
    – klanomath
    Jul 13, 2017 at 20:11
  • thanks @klanomath - I've edited the post. (Changing the nameserver in Networks settings persists after reboot; I've verified this. Editing resolv.conf directly will be overwritten, as you say.)
    – Jenny D
    Jul 14, 2017 at 5:29

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