Relay Deployment with VMware ESXi Image

Article author
Chris Todd
  • Updated

Download the Image

VMware 22.04, 3.7GB (ova)

Import Virtual Machine Image

Once downloaded onto your machine, deploying OVA by vCenter or to standalone ESXI host is by clicking this image file will open the Import Virtual Application screen. Click Import and then click Agree on the Software License Agreement screen. The virtual machine is preconfigured with default values and is ready to run.

Warning: The relay uses multiple ports which need to be open at NSG level.

Ports that need to be open are as follows:

  • Port 53: Port 53 is used for DNS (Domain Name System) traffic.
  • Port 853: Port 853 is used for DNS over TLS (DoT) traffic.
  • Port 443: Port 443 is used for HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) traffic.

Setting up the Relay

  1. Log in to the VM:
    Username: dnsfilter
    Password: ChangeMeNow!
  2. Change the password:
    passwd
  3. Edit the relay.conf file using the following command (See step 4 for some default values to edit):
    sudo nano relay.conf
  4. In relay.conf (found at the following location: /etc/relay/relay.conf ) set Secret Site Key and Name.
    Note1: The name needs to match the deployment name set in your dashboard. 
    Note2: To save the changes made within relay.conf use ctrl+o to write out then hit return to finalize the file name, you can then exit with ctrl+x.
  5. Configure your network settings - Ubuntu uses netplan for network settings
    You may need to modify ethernet to the correct interface name which is required to be discovered on the host. The most common within ESXI is ens33.
    sudo nano /etc/netplan/00-installer-config.yaml
    network-config-4-relay_ens33.png
  6. By default, the system is set to use DHCP to obtain an IP - this is fine as long as you create a permanent DHCP lease in your firewall for the MAC of the Virtual NIC of the ESXI Container. If you wish to have a static IP assigned to the machine, you can do the following by using the command in step 5. (Note: # comments out the line it is placed before)
    Add a # before dhcp4: true 
    Remove the #'s before the next 5 lines

    Update addresses: [192.168.1.15/24] to reflect the static IP that the machine is going to have - (i.e.: it would become addresses: [172.16.0.44/24])

    Update gateway4: 192.168.1.1 to the appropriate gateway of the network the machine is on - (i.e.: it would become gateway4: 172.16.0.1)

  7. Save the file and then use the following commands as root to enable your changes. They will stick across boots.
    sudo netplan generate
    sudo netplan apply
  8. Reboot the machine
  9. Verify General Connectivity
    Run the following command to verify that the correct IP is shown:
    ifconfig
  10. Verify that a response is received by running a ping:
    ping google.com
  11. If the above is successful it's time to start the relay by running the following commands:
    sudo systemctl enable docker.service
    sudo systemctl start docker.service
  12. Start the relay containers by running:
    sudo docker start relay1 relay2
    Wait 10-20 seconds
  13. Verify the containers are running properly
    sudo docker ps

    This will provide an output similar to one of the two following blocks:

    *Good* output looks like this and you can move to step 16:

    CONTAINER ID

    IMAGE

    COMMAND

    CREATED

    STATUS

    PORTS

    NAMES

    5fa41e37ecdc

    dnsfilter/relay:0-rtt

    “/go/bin/relay-linux…”

    6 days ago

    Up 12 Seconds 

    relay2

    1d91eb21abc2

    dnsfilter/relay:0-rtt

    “/go/bin/relay-linux…”

    6 days ago

    Up 13 Seconds

    relay1

    *Bad* output looks like this and some troubleshooting will be required:

    CONTAINER ID

    IMAGE

    COMMAND

    CREATED

    STATUS

    PORTS

    NAMES

    5fa41e37ecdc

    dnsfilter/relay:0-rtt

    “/go/bin/relay-linux…”

    6 days ago

    Restarting (1) 3 seconds ago

    relay2

    1d91eb21abc2

    dnsfilter/relay:0-rtt

    “/go/bin/relay-linux…”

    6 days ago

    Restarting (1) 4 seconds ago

    relay1

  14.  You can run the following command to access the logs:
    sudo docker logs relay1
    You will receive the output of the logs for that container (relay1) - the two most common errors are shown below:
    time=“2022-02-23T21:53:33.355562001Z” level=fatal msg=“can not auto-register agent, please verify settings or contact support, trace: invalid organization or network secret key”

    This means the secret key you’ve entered into the relay.conf file is invalid. Double-check that the correct value is in the file.

    time=“2022-02-23T21:58:33Z” level=fatal msg=“not a valid TOML config file” config=/etc/relay/relay.conf error=“open /usr/local/bin/lan-proxy.conf: no such file or directory”

    This means there is a formatting error or errant character in your relay.conf file - verify that it is nearly identical to our example file.

    If you encounter any further errors please reach out to support@dnsfilter.com for guidance.

  15. Restart the relay:
    sudo docker restart relay1 relay2
    Re-verify that everything looks good with the above checks.
  16. Use lookups to verify the relay containers:
    nslookup -type=txt debug.dnsfilter.com 127.0.0.1 (from the VM itself)
    nslookup -type=txt debug.dnsfilter.com <internal IP address> (from another machine on the network)
    *Good* output:

    Non-authoritative answer:

    debug.dnsfilter.comtext = “time=2022-02-23 22:02:45.528505065 +0000 UTC”

    debug.dnsfilter.comtext = “serverid=55802”

    debug.dnsfilter.comtext = “serverip=103.247.36.36"

    debug.dnsfilter.comtext = “serverport=53”

    Along with multiple additional lines. Skip ahead to step 19.

    *Bad* output:

    Non-authoritative answer:

    *** Can’t find debug.dnsfilter.com: No answer

    Authoritative answers can be found from: dnsfilter.com

    origin = amir.ns.cloudflare.com

    mail addr = dns.cloudflare.com

    serial = 2271027187

    refresh = 10000

    retry = 2400

    expire = 604800

    minimum = 3600

    If this is your output and you're certain the containers are running properly, the likely culprit is Transparent Proxying and we recommend you investigate that or reach out to support.

You’re done! You can now point all appropriate machines on the network to use this VM for DNS Resolution.

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