How Does A Perl Socket Resolve Hostnames Under Linux?

- 1 answer

I have a (from what I can tell) perfectly working Linux setup (Ubuntu 8.04) where all tools (nslookup, curl, wget, firefox, etc) are able to resolve addresses. Yet, the following code fails:

$s = new IO::Socket::INET(
    PeerAddr => '',
    PeerPort => 80,
    Proto => 'tcp',

die "Error: $!\n" unless $s;

I verified the following things:

  • Perl is able to resolve addresses with gethostbyname (ie the code below works):

    my $ret = gethostbyname(''); print inet_ntoa($ret);

  • The original source code works under Windows

  • This is how it supposed to work (ie. it should resolve hostnames), since LWP tries to use this behavior (in fact I stumbled uppon the problem by trying to debug why LWP wasn't working for me)
  • Running the script doesn't emit DNS requests (so it doesn't even try to resolve the name). Verified with Wireshark


From a quick look, the following code from IO::Socket::INET

sub _get_addr {
    my($sock,$addr_str, $multi) = @_;
    my @addr;
    if ($multi && $addr_str !~ /^\d+(?:\.\d+){3}$/) {
        (undef, undef, undef, undef, @addr) = gethostbyname($addr_str);
    } else {
        my $h = inet_aton($addr_str);
        push(@addr, $h) if defined $h;

suggests (if you look at the caller of this code) the work-around of adding MultiHomed => 1, to your code.

Without that work-around, the above code appears to try to call inet_aton("") using the inet_aton() from That works for me in both Win32 and Unix, so I guess that is where the breakage lies for you.

See Socket.xs for the source code of inet_aton:

    char *  host
        struct in_addr ip_address;
        struct hostent * phe;

        if (phe = gethostbyname(host)) {
            Copy( phe->h_addr, &ip_address, phe->h_length, char );
        } else {
            ip_address.s_addr = inet_addr(host);

        ST(0) = sv_newmortal();
        if(ip_address.s_addr != INADDR_NONE) {
            sv_setpvn( ST(0), (char *)&ip_address, sizeof ip_address );

It appears that the Perl gethostbyname() works better than the C gethostbyname() for you.