Sup dawg, I heard you like DNS, so I put DNS into your DNS so you can query DNS while you querying DNS.

– Tibizx

Yeah, memes from 2008 to explain things from 1996 .

Anyway, to the topic: what does those acronyms stand for?


Domain Name System = convert website domain in the browser’s address bar to the actual server’s IP where that website hosted. It’s a common thing, so let’s move to the next one.


Stands for reverse DNS. If DNS (or forward DNS) used when you want to convert domain to IP, the rDNS does exact opposite - it converts IP into domain. For all of you who knows what DNS is, but never touched rDNS topic and now have the only question:


Apparently, the “forward” DNS and the reverse DNS are different branches of the same DNS thing. The difference? and domains. Any IP address is subdomain of one of those subdomains (the former is for IPv4, the latter is for IPv6). So, any IP address can be reversed (reverse DNS, you know) and represented as subdomain of

For the sake of simplicity I’ll just use IPv4 as example

If we have an IP, the PTR record for that IP would be

Want some real example?

$ dig -x # google public dns	2685	IN	PTR

Okay, why would you need it? Actually, you don’t. It’s still used, tho, and you may already guessed the right answer - in emails! Email filtering software like rspamd, SpamAssasin, etc., actually use the rDNS and PTR records to determine the spam score for each email message and they try to lookup reverse DNS record(-s) of the sender’s domain.

Yes, another anti-spam measurement. I know, email is 99% about anti-spam and only 1% about meaningful data.

So, how spam filters determine if a message sent from is legit? By performing thousands of different checks on-the-fly, of course. But today we’ll talk about one specific validation, in fact, it’s almost olbsoleted by SPF, but still used in the wild. And the name is…


or Forward Confirmed reverse DNS. That part is pretty simple - you just get forward DNS lookup and reverse DNS lookup and match them.

Yeah, that simple.

$ dig # forward DNS lookup		285	IN	A

$ dig -x # reverse DNS lookup	2685	IN	PTR

If you can get domain name from the rDNS lookup using the IP address you got from DNS lookup - sender looks legit! A bit. Email will be thrown in spam, anyway.


Because there were no SPF in 1996. In fact, FCrDNS is a “granddaddy” of SPF, dead simple, without any features like redirects or includes.


I don’t have one this time. For me it was a revelation that reverse DNS is a thing and how exactly it works (of course I heard about rDNS before and even touched it a bit, but never used it), especially when I found out about the FCrDNS technique (IIRC, from rspamd rules) and that it’s actually alive, but with very low impact on your spam score.