How to install host, nslookup and other BIND tools on Windows

By | 2013/01/05

For a Linux admin using Windows, cygwin unfortunately does not provide host, nslookup, or other bind tools. I’ll show you how to download these BIND tools directly from ISC and have them work in your cygwin terminal!

Note: this assumes you already have a working cygwin install.

First, download the latest version of BIND for Windows from

> BIND 9.9.2-P1

> Windows Download

Don’t worry, we are not going to install BIND itself, but rather this download includes the BIND tools!

Next, unzip the download and run BINDInstall.exe.

At the BIND 9 Installer window, under Options check Tools Only and no other options.

Also, make note of the Target Directory. This might be different on 32bit Windows vs. 64bit Windows. Whichever is shown for you, make a note of it perhaps in a small text editor.

When ready, click Install.


Next we are going to add the path of these BIND tools to your cygwin path. This is done by editing the .bashrc file for your cygwin terminal.

Open a cygwin terminal, then type:

$ nano .bashrc

Add a line that looks like this, then save.

export PATH=$PATH:/cygdrive/c/Windows/sysWOW64/dns/bin

Note that if on 32bit Windows, this may be different. Refer to the above BIND installer to see what path was used.

Now close and re-open your cygwin terminal. You will now have access to tools such as dig, host, and nslookup!


Problems? Make sure to run the BINDInstaller.exe. Dragging out the individual .exe files will not work and probably cause problems with dependent libraries.