Easily Install and Setup PowerDNS Admin on Ubuntu 20.04

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Easily Install and Setup PowerDNS Admin on Ubuntu 20.04

In this tutorial, you will learn how to easily install and setup PowerDNS Admin on Ubuntu 20.04. PowerDNS Admin is a web administrative interface for PowerDNS. It enables you to easily create and manage DNS zones from a web browser.

Features of PowerDNS Admin

PowerDNS Admin provides advanced features for managing PowerDNS. These include;

  • Multiple domain management
  • Domain template
  • User management
  • User access management based on domain
  • User activity logging
  • Support Local DB / SAML / LDAP / Active Directory user authentication
  • Support Google / Github / Azure / OpenID OAuth
  • Support Two-factor authentication (TOTP)
  • Dashboard and pdns service statistics
  • DynDNS 2 protocol support
  • Edit IPv6 PTRs using IPv6 addresses directly (no more editing of literal addresses!)
  • Limited API for manipulating zones and records

Install and Setup PowerDNS Admin on Ubuntu 20.04

Install and Setup PowerDNS on Ubuntu 20.04

To easily install and setup PowerDNS Admin on Ubuntu 20.04, you need to have already install and setup PowerDNS nameserver using some relational database.

In our previous guide, we discussed how to configure PowerDNS nameserver with MariaDB on Ubuntu 20.04. Follow the link below to set it up.

Easily Install and Setup PowerDNS on Ubuntu 20.04

NOTE: We are installing PowerDNS Admin on the same server with PowerDNS already installed.

Install Required Package Dependencies

Install Python 3 library and development tools

apt install python3-dev

Install various required build tools and package dependencies.

apt install libsasl2-dev libldap2-dev libssl-dev \
libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev libxmlsec1-dev libffi-dev \
pkg-config apt-transport-https virtualenv build-essential \
libmariadb-dev git python3-flask libpq-dev -y

Install NodeJS

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_18.x | sudo -E bash - 
sudo apt install -y nodejs

Install Yarn

curl -sS https://dl.yarnpkg.com/debian/pubkey.gpg | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/yarn.gpg
echo "deb https://dl.yarnpkg.com/debian/ stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list
apt update
apt install yarn

Install Nginx HTTP Server

apt install nginx

Clone PowerDNS Admin Source Code to Web Root Directory

Clone PowerDNS Admin git source code to your Nginx web root directory. In this setup, we use, /var/www/html/pdns, as our PowerDNS Admin web root directory. It can be different for your case.

git clone https://github.com/ngoduykhanh/PowerDNS-Admin.git /var/www/html/pdns

Create PowerDNS Admin Virtualenv

Navigate to the PowerDNS Admin web root directory and create a virtualenv.

cd /var/www/html/pdns/
virtualenv -p python3 flask

Next, active your Python 3 Virtual environment and install required Python 3 libraries

source ./flask/bin/activate
pip install --upgrade pip
pip install -r requirements.txt

Similarly, the textsize function is deprecated in Pillow 10. Thus Pillow 9.5.0 is required:

pip3 install Pillow==9.5.0

Configure PowerDNS Admin Database Connection

Exit the virtualenv and edit the default PowerDNS admin configuration file, $WEB_ROOT/powerdnsadmin/default_config.py, to define the database connection details. Replace the $WEB_ROOT with the path to your web root directory.

vim /var/www/html/pdns/powerdnsadmin/default_config.py

On the basic App configs, you can replace the SALT and SECRET_KEY keys, set the bind address and port;

SALT = 'xohDoozee8Zuneekooch9ohrieghei'
SECRET_KEY = 'hohru1aethaeyahpheH7Gaathaikah'
PORT = 9191

On the database configs, configure your PowerDNS database connection details. Note that we are using the details already created while setting up PowerDNS as defined in our guide.

SQLA_DB_USER = 'pdnsadmin'
SQLA_DB_NAME = 'kifarunixdemopdns'

Save and exit the configuration.

Next, reactivate the virtualenv run the DB migration;

cd /var/www/html/pdns/
source ./flask/bin/activate
export FLASK_APP=powerdnsadmin/__init__.py
flask db upgrade

Once the command above completes, generate asset files with yarn;

yarn install --pure-lockfile
flask assets build

Exit the virtualenv;


Running PowerDNS Admin

PowerDNS Admin is now setup and ready. It can be run in standalone mode, by executing the run.py in the web root directory.

In this setup, we will be using Nginx web server to access the PowerDNS Admin.

Enable PowerDNS API access

The PowerDNS Authoritative Server features a built-in webserver that exposes a JSON/REST API. This API allows for controlling several functions, reading statistics and modifying zone content, metadata and DNSSEC key material“.

Open PowerDNS configuration file and enable API and set the API Key;

vim /etc/powerdns/pdns.conf

# api   Enable/disable the REST API (including HTTP listener)
# api=no

# api-key       Static pre-shared authentication key for access to the REST API
# api-key=

Save and exit the file and restart PowerDNS;

systemctl restart pdns

Create PowerDNS Admin Nginx Site

Create PowerDNS Admin Nginx site with the contents below. Replace web root directory accordingly.

vim /etc/nginx/conf.d/pdns-admin.conf

server {
  listen	*:80;
  server_name               pdnsadmin.kifarunix-demo.com;

  index                     index.html index.htm index.php;
  root                      /var/www/html/pdns;
  access_log                /var/log/nginx/pdnsadmin_access.log combined;
  error_log                 /var/log/nginx/pdnsadmin_error.log;

  client_max_body_size              10m;
  client_body_buffer_size           128k;
  proxy_redirect                    off;
  proxy_connect_timeout             90;
  proxy_send_timeout                90;
  proxy_read_timeout                90;
  proxy_buffers                     32 4k;
  proxy_buffer_size                 8k;
  proxy_set_header                  Host $host;
  proxy_set_header                  X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
  proxy_set_header                  X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
  proxy_headers_hash_bucket_size    64;

  location ~ ^/static/  {
    include  /etc/nginx/mime.types;
    root /var/www/html/pdns/powerdnsadmin;

    location ~*  \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ {
      expires 365d;

    location ~* ^.+.(css|js)$ {
      expires 7d;

  location / {
    proxy_pass            http://unix:/run/pdnsadmin/socket;
    proxy_read_timeout    120;
    proxy_connect_timeout 120;
    proxy_redirect        off;


Save and exit the file.

Remove the default Nginx default site and run config syntax check.

mv /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default{,.old}
nginx -t

Sample syntax check output.

nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

Update ownership of the PDNS Admin root directory

chown -R www-data: /var/www/html/pdns

Restart Nginx;

systemctl restart nginx

Create PowerDNS Admin Systemd Service Unit

To be able to run PowerDNS Admin as a systemd service, create a unit file as shown below;

cat > /etc/systemd/system/pdnsadmin.service << 'EOL'           

ExecStart=/var/www/html/pdns/flask/bin/gunicorn --pid /run/pdnsadmin/pid --bind unix:/run/pdnsadmin/socket 'powerdnsadmin:create_app()'
ExecReload=/bin/kill -s HUP $MAINPID
ExecStop=/bin/kill -s TERM $MAINPID


cat > /etc/systemd/system/pdnsadmin.socket << 'EOL'
Description=PowerDNS-Admin socket


echo "d /run/pdnsadmin 0755 pdns pdns -" >> /etc/tmpfiles.d/pdnsadmin.conf
mkdir /run/pdnsadmin/
chown -R pdns: /run/pdnsadmin/
chown -R pdns: /var/www/html/pdns/powerdnsadmin/

Reload System Configurations and start and enable PowerDNS Admin service to run on system boot;

systemctl enable --now pdnsadmin.service pdnsadmin.socket

Check the status;

systemctl status pdnsadmin.service pdnsadmin.socket

● pdnsadmin.service - PowerDNS-Admin
     Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/pdnsadmin.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Wed 2023-07-26 06:02:46 UTC; 8s ago
TriggeredBy: ● pdnsadmin.socket
   Main PID: 43752 (gunicorn)
      Tasks: 2 (limit: 2257)
     Memory: 89.8M
     CGroup: /system.slice/pdnsadmin.service
             ├─43752 /var/www/html/pdns/flask/bin/python /var/www/html/pdns/flask/bin/gunicorn --pid /run/pdnsadmin/pid --bind unix:/run/pdnsadmin/socket powerdnsadmin:cre>
             └─43769 /var/www/html/pdns/flask/bin/python /var/www/html/pdns/flask/bin/gunicorn --pid /run/pdnsadmin/pid --bind unix:/run/pdnsadmin/socket powerdnsadmin:cre>

Jul 26 06:02:46 focal systemd[1]: Started PowerDNS-Admin.
Jul 26 06:02:46 focal gunicorn[43752]: [2023-07-26 06:02:46 +0000] [43752] [INFO] Starting gunicorn 20.1.0
Jul 26 06:02:46 focal gunicorn[43752]: [2023-07-26 06:02:46 +0000] [43752] [INFO] Listening at: unix:/run/pdnsadmin/socket (43752)
Jul 26 06:02:46 focal gunicorn[43752]: [2023-07-26 06:02:46 +0000] [43752] [INFO] Using worker: sync
Jul 26 06:02:46 focal gunicorn[43769]: [2023-07-26 06:02:46 +0000] [43769] [INFO] Booting worker with pid: 43769

● pdnsadmin.socket - PowerDNS-Admin socket
     Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/pdnsadmin.socket; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Wed 2023-07-26 06:02:46 UTC; 8s ago
   Triggers: ● pdnsadmin.service
     Listen: /run/pdnsadmin/socket (Stream)
     CGroup: /system.slice/pdnsadmin.socket

Jul 26 06:02:46 focal systemd[1]: Listening on PowerDNS-Admin socket.

Accessing PowerDNS Admin Web Interface

Open Nginx on firewall to allow external access;

ufw allow "Nginx Full"

As per our configuration above, you can access PowerDNS Admin web interface via the address http://server-hostname. You should be able to see the PowerDNS Admin login screen. (if not, check status of the PowerDNS admin service or Nginx error logs for a hint).

Easily Install and Setup PowerDNS Admin on Ubuntu 20.04

Create PowerDNS Admin administrative user account

Click Create an account to create the very first PowerDNS Admin admin user. Enter the user details.

PowerDNS Admin create user account

Click Register to create an account.

After that, login using the user details you provided. Upon successful login, you should land on PowerDNS Admin interface.

pdns web ui

For PowerDNS Admin to be able to connect to PowerDNS and manage it, you need to provide;

  • the API Key URL, usually, by default,
  • the API Key you defined in the PowerDNS configuration file.
  • Exact version of your PowerDNS (get the version using the command, pdns_control version).
Install and Setup PowerDNS Admin on Ubuntu 22.04

Click Save Settings and the error should just disappear.

Click on the Dashboard to go to PowerDNS Admin dashboard and you should be able to see your zones.

Forward Zone and Records;

powerdns zones

As you can see, we already added the DNS records in our previous guide. If you click on the domain name, you should the records we already added;

powerdns forward zones records

That is the forward zone records.

Reverse Zones;

If you click on the reverse zone under the Dashboard > Zones in-addr, you should see the reverse zone records.

reverse zone

Reverse zone Records;

reverse zone records

And that marks the end of our tutorial on how to easily install PowerDNS Admin on Ubuntu 20.04.


Running PowerDNS Admin on Ubuntu or Debian

Configure Local DNS Server using Dnsmasq on Ubuntu 20.04

Setup Caching-Only DNS Server using BIND9 on Ubuntu 20.04

Configure BIND DNS Server using Webmin on CentOS 8

Setup Bind DNS Using Webmin on Debian 10

Configure BIND as Slave DNS Server on Ubuntu 18.04

Setup Master-Slave DNS Server using BIND on CentOS 7


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I am the Co-founder of Kifarunix.com, Linux and the whole FOSS enthusiast, Linux System Admin and a Blue Teamer who loves to share technological tips and hacks with others as a way of sharing knowledge as: "In vain have you acquired knowledge if you have not imparted it to others".

5 thoughts on “Easily Install and Setup PowerDNS Admin on Ubuntu 20.04”

  1. Hi,

    I’m not new to Ubuntu, but I’m still learning.
    Good thing you created the tutorial for Ubuntu 20 but have you actually used it? (the tutorial)

    For me run.py is not working.

    And here I think you’re missing something:

    “d /run/pdnsadmin 0755 pdns pdns -”

    Thank you

  2. if you are getting the default nginx splash page when trying to access the powerdns-admin site via IP address, you will need to edit your HOSTS file to point your domain name to your IP address otherwise nginx wont know how to parse the request

  3. i did everything according to these instructions, also in the hosts the ip pointed to the domain, but i only get the nginx splash page and i cannot access the admin page

  4. Hello, can someone help me? At the end of the installation without errors, in the PowerDNS Admin web login, when I try to register the user, it shows “HTTP 500 Error”, “Oops! Something went wrong.”
    I have verified that the MySQL access is ok.

    • Hello, you need to downgrade the Python Pillow package. Check the guide again. it has been updated. thanks


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