Docs / Admin

Magic DNS

Magic DNS automatically registers DNS names for devices in your network.

If you add a new webserver called my-server to your network, you no longer need to note down its Tailscale IP: using the name my-server in your browser’s address bar or on the command line will work.

Magic DNS is currently in public beta; as such, it needs to be manually enabled. The information below may change in the future.

Prerequisites

Magic DNS requires Tailscale v1.1.173 or greater. We recommend using Tailscale v1.4 or greater to take advantage of Magic DNS with sharing. Enabling Magic DNS has no effect on older versions.

Your network must also have at least one DNS nameserver enabled in the admin console. The nameservers will receive all DNS queries not handled by Magic DNS. This restriction will be relaxed in the future.

Enabling Magic DNS

Magic DNS can be enabled for your whole network in the DNS tab of the admin console:

Accessing devices over Magic DNS

Once Magic DNS is enabled, any device signed in to your network can access other devices by using their machine name. For example, if you have a server named “monitoring”:

  • To SSH into it, run ssh username@monitoring
  • To ping it, run ping monitoring
  • To open it in your browser, type monitoring in your address bar.
Some CLI tools on macOS such as host or nslookup circumvent system DNS resolution, and will not work with Magic DNS. For example, host johns-iphone-6s will not work on macOS, even if ping johns-iphone-6s will.
Devices that are shared with you are only accessible via Magic DNS on Tailscale v1.4 or greater. You must also use the shared device’s full domain name. For example ping webserver.example2.com.beta.tailscale.net. We will relax this restriction in future versions.

Editing domain names

You can change how you access a machine by editing the machine name of the device. For more information on how machine names are generated, take a look at our docs on machine names.

Full domain names vs. machine names

Under the hood, Magic DNS generates a full domain name for every device on your network. The full domain name is made up of three parts:

  1. A machine name, which you can change.
  2. Your Tailscale network’s domain. For users on shared email hosts (Gmail, Outlook, etc), this is your full email address.
  3. A static suffix. The suffix is beta.tailscale.net for the duration of the Magic DNS beta, but may change in the future.
monitoring.example.com.beta.tailscale.net

The table below shows how some example machine names, and domains combine to create the full domain name.

Machine Name Network Domain Full Domain Name
monitoring example.com monitoring.example.com.beta.tailscale.net
johns-iphone-6s john.doe@gmail.com johns-iphone-6s.john-doe.gmail.com.beta.tailscale.net
free-form example.onmicrosoft.com free-form.example.onmicrosoft.com.beta.tailscale.net

Full domain names can be cumbersome to type, so when you enable Magic DNS, Tailscale automatically adds search domains to your network. With these search domains you only need to type the machine name to access a device.

For the example.com network, the following two commands are equivalent:

ping monitoring
ping monitoring.example.com.beta.tailscale.net

In most situations, you’ll want to use the machine name. But for security reasons, accessing devices shared with you requires using the full domain name.

You can see the full domain name of any device in your network by opening its machine page in the admin console.

Disabling Magic DNS

Magic DNS can be disabled for your whole network by toggling the same button you used to enable it in the admin panel.

If you are experiencing trouble with Magic DNS on a particular device and wish to disable it only there, the current solution is to stop accepting network DNS settings in general.

On Linux, stop accepting DNS with:

tailscale up [...] --accept-dns=false

On macOS, stop accepting DNS by holding option while clicking on the Tailscale menubar icon. From here, you can uncheck “Use Tailscale DNS” from the menu.

On Windows, stop accepting DNS by holding shift while right clicking on the Tailscale system tray icon, and unchecking “Use Tailscale DNS” from the menu.

In the future, we will have robust enough DNS configuration and resolution logic that disabling Magic DNS separately will never be necessary. At this point, the toggle will disappear.

Last updated