Bind9 statistics-channels munin plugin

Bind9, since version 9.5, offers an experimental embedded web server which can provide statistics abound Bind through HTTP. Upon enabling, one can access this web server and get an XML response full with various statistics.

Enabling the feature is quite easy. One just needs to add some lines like the following inside Bind’s configuration file:

statistics-channels {
          inet port 8053 allow {;};

Restart Bind and try connecting to the statistics-channel. For example through curl:

$ curl
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="/bind9.xsl"?>
<isc version="1.0">
    <statistics version="2.2">

The output will be quite big, for example the current output from a busy recursive resolver is around 2.5Mb.

People usually use munin to monitor bind through 2 different ways. The first, usually applied to servers that are not very busy, for example servers with less than 100queries/sec, is to parse the output of the query log. Then a munin plugin that comes with the default munin installation and is called bind9 can parse the query log and create some graphs. The second way for a bit busier servers is to have query log disabled and monitor bind is through the output of the rndc stats command. A munin plugin that also comes with the default munin package and is called bind9_rndc can parse the created named.stats output file and create some nice graphs. To configure either of the two ways one can take a look at this informational wiki:

A third way is to have a new munin plugin get the XML output from the statistics-channel described above and create some even fancier and richer graphs. Luckily a guy called Andrew Duquette has created such a perl plugin for munin. You need to exercise your google skills to find it though, (that is if you don’t cheat searching with his name as a search term!) I took that plugin, made some changes to it and uploaded it to github. The plugin is called bind9_statchannel and you can find it in my github munin-plugins repo.

The changes I made were the following:

  • Use STACK instead of just AREA for some graphs
  • Add warning and critical levels for type ANY queries (to warn for DDoS through such queries)
  • Raise timeout to 300 seconds
  • Add sorting to stacked graphs so they are a bit more readable/comparable

The plugin creates the following type of graphs:

  • Cache DB RRsets for various views (or the _default if you don’t have any others)
  • Memory Context “In Use”
  • Memory Usage Summary
  • Queries In
  • Queries Out
  • Resolver Statistics for various views (or the _default if you don’t have any others)
  • Server Statistics
  • Socket I/O Statistics
  • Tasks

As you can see it can give many more details compared to the other bind9 munin plugins. It’s also the only bind9 munin plugin that can tell you how many incoming vs outgoing queries there are, as well as the only one that can tell you how many queries you have over IPv4 vs IPv6.

To use it on Debian you need to at least install the following two perl packages: libxml-simple-perl, liblwp-useragent-determined-perl

Here are some sample graphs from the bind9_statchannel plugin:

If you have any bug fixes, code changes, etc please don’t hesitate to fork and open a pull request on github.

Download: bind9_statchannel

Greek rules for HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere is a browser addon by EFF whose job is to redirect you to the HTTPS versions of certain, whitelisted, web sites. What this means is that HTTPS Everywhere protects your communication with those websites by forcing them to be encrypted.

The current HTTPS Everywhere ruleset lacks any Greek websites, so I started yet-another-list to create rules for Greek websites. This is the fourth list I’m maintaing after GrRBL, Greek Spammers Blacklist and Greek AdblockPlus Filter rules and it is the only one where being included is actually a good thing.

You can find some more info about Greek rules for HTTPS Everywhere on my github page.

Until the rules get adopted upstream by HTTPS Everywhere team, in order to use them you should download the rules and place them inside your Firefox profile directory. But first of all you need to install the plugin/extension/addon/call-me-whatever-you-want by going to HTTPS Everywhere page.

Step 1: Instructions for Linux users
Go to the HTTPSEverywhereUserRules directory inside your firefox profile directory:

$ cd .mozilla/firefox/XYZXYZXYZ.default/HTTPSEverywhereUserRules/
(XYZXYZXYZ will be different in your machine)

and download the current Greek ruleset:
$ wget

Step 1: Instructions for Windows users
Download with your favorite browser.
Then, according to this Mozilla support page, open Fifefox, go to Help->Troubleshooting Information and under the Application Basics section, click on Open Containing Folder. There a window will appear and you should copy the previously downloaded Greek.xml file inside the HTTPSEverywhereUserRules folder.

Step 2: Instructions for any OS
Either restart your browser to load the new rules or click the HTTPS Everywhere icon beside the url bar, select “Disable HTTPS Everywhere”, then click it again and select “Enable HTTPS Everywhere”. The new rules should now be loaded, you can test by going to and it should immediately redirect you to

Some notes
The ruleset is experimental. If you find any problems please report them as issues to github.
If you want a Greek website added to the list, either report it as a new issue on github or fork the repository, add your own rules and open a pull request.

A small rant
I found some webmails in Greece that don’t even offer HTTPS as an option to the user. They ‘POST’ user details, including passwords of course, over unencrypted HTTP connections. I will be updating a text file called hallofshame.txt inside the github reposity of Greek rules for HTTPS Everywhere with such websites. I am planning to inform the operators of such websites every now and then, so if you know any other cases please open up new issues so we can help protect innocent users.

A big rant on current HTTPS status of top Greek websites
The status of HTTPS support on top 100 Greek websites (according to Alexa) is SAD. No wait, it is EXTEMELY SAD. Out of these 100 websites, taking into account only the ones that are actually run by Greeks, that means excluding Google, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc, only 2, yes you read correctly, just two websites offer HTTPS support.
The reason 95% the others don’t is probably because they are based on Akamai-zed services and either don’t have the money to buy Akamai’s HTTPS products or don’t have the technical skills to do it properly.

If you don’t run an Akamai-zed website and want a completely free 1-year SSL certificate please visit If you need professional help with your setup please don’t hesitate to contact.

There’s a very good (financial) explanation why these high traffic Greek sites have prefered Akamai’s services and haven’t deployed their own servers in Greece but this will be the content of another blog post coming soon.