Domain Management

Domain management is done through the /api/v1/domains/ endpoint. The following sections describe how to create, list, modify, and delete domains using JSON objects.

All operations are subject to rate limiting. For details, see Rate Limits.

Domain Field Reference

A JSON object representing a domain has the following structure:

    "created": "2018-09-18T16:36:16.510368Z",
    "keys": [
            "dnskey": "257 3 13 WFRl60...",
            "ds": [
                "6006 13 2 f34b75...",
                "6006 13 4 2fdcf8..."
            "flags": 257,  # deprecated
            "keytype": "csk",  # deprecated
            "managed": true
    "minimum_ttl": 3600,
    "name": "",
    "published": "2018-09-18T17:21:38.348112Z",
    "touched": "2018-09-18T17:21:38.348112Z",
    "zonefile": "import-me.example A ..."

Field details:

Access mode:read-only

Timestamp of domain creation, in ISO 8601 format (e.g. 2013-01-29T12:34:56.000000Z).

Access mode:read-only

Array with DNSSEC public key information. Each entry contains DNSKEY and DS record contents. For delegation of DNSSEC-secured domains, the parent domain should publish the combined list of DS records. (This usually involves telling your registrar/registry about those records, and they will publish them for you.)


  • Keys are returned immediately after domain creation, and when retrieving a specific domain. In contrast, when listing all domains, the keys field is omitted for performance reasons.
  • The managed field differentiates keys managed by deSEC (true) from any additional keys the user may have added (false, see DNSKEY caveat).
  • DS values are calculated for each applicable key by applying hash algorithms 2 (SHA-256) and 4 (SHA-384), respectively. For keys not suitable for delegation (indicated by the first field containing an even number, such as 256), the ds field is []. The selection of hash algorithms may change as best practices evolve.
Access mode:read-only

Smallest TTL that can be used in an RRset. The value is set automatically by the server.

If you would like to use lower TTL values, you can apply for an exception by contacting support. We reserve the right to reject applications at our discretion.

Access mode:read, write-once (upon domain creation)

Domain name. Restrictions on what is a valid domain name apply on a per-user basis. In general, a domain name consists of lowercase alphanumeric characters as well as hyphens - and underscores _ (except at the beginning of the name). The maximum length is 191.

Internationalized domain names (IDN) currently are supported through their Punycode representation only (labels beginning with xn--). Converters are available on the net, for example at

Access mode:read-only

Timestamp of when the domain’s DNS records have last been published, in ISO 8601 format (e.g. 2013-01-29T12:34:56.000000Z).

As we publish record modifications immediately, this indicates the point in time of the last successful write request to a domain’s rrsets/ endpoint.

Access mode:read-only

Timestamp of when the domain’s DNS records have last been touched. Equal to the maximum of the domain’s published field and all RRset touched values.

This usually is the same as published, unless there have been RRset write operations that did not trigger publication, such as rewriting an RRset with identical values.

Access mode:write-only, no read

Optionally, includes a string in zonefile format with record data to be imported during domain creation.

Note that not everything given in the zonefile will be imported. Record types that are automatically managed by the deSEC API such as RRSIG, CDNSKEY, CDS, etc. will be silently ignored. Records with names that fall outside of the domain that is created will also be silently ignored.

Also, NS record at the apex and any DNSKEY records will be silently ignored; instead, NS records pointing to deSEC’s name servers and DNSKEY records for freshly generated keys will be created.

Record types that are not supported by the API will raise an error, as will records with invalid content. If an error occurs during the import of the zonefile, the domain will not be created.

Creating a Domain

To create a new domain, issue a POST request to the /api/v1/domains/ endpoint, like this:

curl -X POST \
    --header "Authorization: Token {token}" \
    --header "Content-Type: application/json" --data @- <<< \
    '{"name": ""}'

Only the name field is mandatory.

Upon success, the response status code will be 201 Created, with the domain object contained in the response body. If an improper request was sent, 400 Bad Request is returned. This can happen when the request payload was malformed, or when the requested domain name is unavailable (because it conflicts with another user’s zone) or invalid (due to policy, see below).

If you have reached the maximum number of domains for your account, the API responds with 403 Forbidden. If you find yourself affected by this limit although you have a legitimate use case, please contact our support.

Restrictions on what is a valid domain name apply. In particular, domains listed on the Public Suffix List such as cannot be registered. (If you operate a public suffix and would like to host it with deSEC, that’s certainly possible; please contact support.) Also, domains ending with .internal cannot be registered.

Furthermore, we may impose other restrictions on a per-user basis if necessary to enforce our Terms of Use.

Listing Domains

The /api/v1/domains/ endpoint responds to GET requests with an array of domain objects. For example, you may issue the following command:

curl -X GET \
    --header "Authorization: Token {token}"

to retrieve an overview of the domains you own. Domains are returned in reverse chronological order of their creation, and DNSSEC keys are omitted.

The response status code in case of success is 200 OK. This is true also if you do not own any domains; in this case, the response body will be an empty JSON array.

Up to 500 items are returned at a time. If you have a larger number of domains configured, the use of Pagination is required.

Retrieving a Specific Domain

To retrieve a domain with a specific name, issue a GET request with the name appended to the domains/ endpoint, like this:

curl -X GET{name}/ \
    --header "Authorization: Token {token}"

This will return only one domain (i.e., the response is not a JSON array).

If you own a domain with that name, the API responds with 200 OK and returns the domain object in the response body. Otherwise, the return status code is 404 Not Found.

Identifying the Responsible Domain for a DNS Name

If you have several domains which share a DNS suffix (i.e. one domain is a parent of the other), it is sometimes necessary to find out which domain is responsible for a given DNS name. (In DNS terminology, the responsible domain is also called the “authoritative zone”.)

The responsible domain for a given DNS query name (qname) can be retrieved by applying a filter on the endpoint used for Listing Domains, like so:

curl -X GET{qname} \
    --header "Authorization: Token {token}"

If your account has a domain that is responsible for the name qname, the API returns a JSON array containing only that domain object in the response body. Otherwise, the JSON array will be empty.

One use case of this is when requesting TLS certificates using the DNS challenge mechanism, which requires placing a TXT record at a certain name within the responsible domain.


Let’s say you have the domains, and, and you would like to request a certificate for the TLS server name In this case, the TXT record needs to be created with the name

This DNS name belongs to the domain, and the record needs to be created under that domain using the subname value _acme-challenge.www (see Creating an RRset).

If was not configured as a domain in its own right, the responsible domain would instead be the parent domain In this case, the record would have to be configured there, with a subname value of

Finally, when requesting a certificate for, the responsible domain for the corresponding DNS record is the one with this name, and subname would just be _acme-challenge.

The above API request helps you answer this kind of question.

Deleting a Domain

To delete a domain, send a DELETE request to the endpoint representing the domain. Upon success or if the domain did not exist in your account, the response status code is 204 No Content.