keymgr – 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

-h, –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.

Config options

-c, –config file
Use a textual configuration file (default is @config_dir@/knot.conf).
-C, –confdb directory
Use a binary configuration database directory (default is @storage_dir@/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.


list [timestamp_format]
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.
set key_spec [arguments...]
Changes a timing argument of an existing key to a new timestamp. Key_spec is either the key tag or a prefix of the key ID; arguments are like for generate, but just the timing-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
Import a key (specified by full key ID) from another zone as shared. After this, the key is owned by both zones equally.

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 as Secure Entry Point.
If set to yes, the key will be used for zone signing. This flag can be set concurrently with the ksk flag.
Timestamp of key creation.
Timestamp for key to be published.
Timestamp for key to be pre-activated and submitted (in case of KSK).
Timestamp for key to be activated.
Timestamp for key to be de-activated.
Timestamp for key to be 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).


  1. Generate new TSIG key:

    $ keymgr -t my_name hmac-sha384
  2. Generate new DNSSEC key:

    $ keymgr generate algorithm=ECDSAP256SHA256 size=256 \
      ksk=true created=1488034625 publish=20170223205611 retire=+10mo remove=+1y
  3. Import a DNSSEC key from BIND:

    $ keymgr import-bind ~/bind/Kharbinge4d5.+007+63089.key
  4. Configure key timing:

    $ keymgr set 4208 active=+2mi retire=+4mi remove=+5mi
  5. Share a KSK from another zone:

    $ keymgr share e687cf927029e9db7184d2ece6d663f5d1e5b0e9

See Also

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

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