Palo Alto: DNS Proxy for Management Services

The Palo Alto firewall has a feature called DNS Proxy. Normally it is used for data plane interfaces so that clients can use the interfaces of the Palo for its recursive DNS server. Furthermore, this DNS Proxy Object can be used for the DNS services of the management plane, specified under Device -> Setup -> Services. However, there was a bug in PAN-OS that did not process the proxy rules and static entries when a DNS proxy object was used in the management plane. This bug was fixed in PAN-OS 6.0.0. I tested it in my lab with PAN-OS 6.1.0 running. Here are the successful results.

The fixed bug in version 6.0.0 was bug ID 41472: “When a DNS Proxy object was configured with static entries, hostnames assigned to the DNS Proxy were resolved as expected to the IP addresses listed on the Static Entries tab (Network > DNS Proxy) . However, when setting the DNS Proxy Object as the DNS Service on the Device > Setup > Services dialog, all DNS queries from the management interface ignored the defined static entries.”

DNS Proxy

I added a DNS proxy called “Google” with their two public DNS servers, as well as a few proxy rules to other DNS servers and static entries. This proxy object was then referenced for the management services as a “DNS Proxy Object”:


After a commit, I pinged a few hosts from the management plane. The first one should use the default DNS server, while the three following requests should use the proxy rules. The last object was the static entry in the DNS proxy.


Since the default route of the management interface points through one of the data interfaces of the Palo Alto, I could easily do a packet capture on the Palo itself. It correctly revealed the three different DNS servers for the requests. Of course, the request to the static entry is not shown since it did not trigger a DNS request to a server.

DNS-Proxy Test Wireshark

Works as Expected

The tests showed that the function of a DNS proxy for the management services works as expected. Not only the default DNS servers, but also the proxy rules and static entries are used through the management plane.

Note that the following scenarios do NOT work:

  • Pre PAN-OS 6.x, the DNS Proxy object used in the management services sent all requests to the primary and secondary DNS servers but NOT to the proxy rules. The static entries were not used, too.
  • It is not possible to set a “DNS Server” in the management services to the IP address of a data interface of the Palo Alto itself. This won’t work since the Palo uses some kind of internal path when sending packets to an own data interface. This means, if a DNS Proxy object should be used, it must be selected as a “DNS Proxy Object” and not as an entry of “DNS Servers”.

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