cli-forward-reverse-lookup CLI Forward-Reverse Lookup

In previous posts, I’ve explained how to verify identity of search engines and other bots, by looking up the host name and then doing a reverse lookup to cross-check the IP address. This is often referred to as a forward-reverse lookup, or something to that effect. The point is, there are plenty of free online tools available for performing forward-reverse IP/host lookups. And online tools are great, but it’s also possible to do forward/reverse lookups directly via the command line, aka CLI. Depending on your workflow, lookups via the command line are much faster.

Forward-Reverse Lookup via Command Line

So for this, you can use whatever command-line/CLI tools you normally use. I’m on Mac, so I use Terminal mostly.

Step 1: Reverse Lookup

So whatever you’re using, open the program and enter the following command:


..which returns the correct domain name for my server: domain name pointer

Here we are using the host command to perform a reverse DNS lookup for the IP address of my own server, You can of course use any valid IP address for this step.

Step 2: Forward Lookup

Next, we want to verify that the domain name matches the IP addressed used in step 1. To do this, we perform a forward DNS lookup for the returned domain name, again using the host command:


..which returns the correct domain name for my server: has address

And so the circle is now complete: from IP address to domain name, and then from domain name back to IP address. The identity is verified ONLY IF everything matches up. Otherwise, if either IP address or hostname does not match, the identity is not confirmed, and should be investigated further, if necessary.

More Examples

Here are a couple more examples to consider.

Example 1

Say we want to verify Google reporting an IP address of We first run host on the IP:


That command should return this line: domain name pointer

So now we can verify by running host on the returned domain name:


That command should return this line: has address

So yeah, everything matches up. The IP address is verified as Google.

Example 2

Here is another example verifying another of Google’s many IP addresses:


..returns: domain name pointer

And then:


..returns: has address

Yahoo! Another confirmation of Google identity 😉

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