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NPEP-133: FQDN Selector for Egress Traffic

  • Issue: #133
  • Status: Provisional


This enhancement proposes adding a new optional selector to specify egress peers using Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs).


  • Provide a selector to specify egress peers using a Fully Qualified Domain Name (for example
  • Support basic wildcard matching capabilities when specifying FQDNs (for example *
  • Currently only ALLOW type rules are proposed.
  • Safely enforcing DENY rules based on FQDN selectors is difficult as there is no guarantee a Network Policy plugin is aware of all IPs backing a FQDN policy. If a Network Policy plugin has incomplete information, it may accidentally allow traffic to an IP belonging to a denied domain. This would constitute a security breach.

    By contrast, ALLOW rules, which may also have an incomplete list of IPs, would not create a security breach. In case of incomplete information, valid traffic would be dropped as the plugin believes the destination IP does not belong to the domain. While this is definitely undesirable, it is at least not an unsafe failure.

  • Currently only AdminNetworkPolicy is the intended scope for this proposal.

  • Since Kubernetes NetworkPolicy does not have a FQDN selector, adding this capability to BaselineAdminNetworkPolicy could result in writing baseline rules that can't be replicated by an overriding NetworkPolicy. For example, if BANP allows traffic to, but the namespace admin installs a Kubernetes Network Policy, the namespace admin has no way to replicate the selector using just Kubernetes Network Policies.


  • This enhancement does not include a FQDN selector for allowing ingress traffic.
  • This enhancement only describes enhancements to the existing L4 filtering as provided by AdminNetworkPolicy. It does not propose any new L7 matching or filtering capabilities, like matching HTTP traffic or URL paths.
  • This selector should not control what DNS records are resolvable from a particular workload.
  • This enhancement does not provide a mechanism for selecting in-cluster endpoints using FQDNs. To select Pods, Nodes, or the API Server, AdminNetworkPolicy has other more specific selectors.
  • Using the FQDN selector to refer to other Kubernetes endpoints, while not explicitly disallowed, is not defined by this spec and left up to individual providers. Trying to allow traffic to the following domains is NOT guaranteed to work:
    • (the generated DNS record for a Service as defined here)
    • (the generated DNS record for a Pod as defined here)
  • This enhancement does not add any new mechanisms for specifying how traffic is routed to a destination (egress gateways, alternative SNAT IPs, etc). It just adds a new way of specifying packets to be allowed or dropped on the normal egress data path.
  • This enhancement does not require any mechanism for securing DNS resolution (e.g. DNSSEC or DNS-over-TLS). Unsecured DNS requests are expected to be sufficient for looking up FQDNs.


FQDN-based egress controls are a common enterprise security practice. Administrators often prefer to write security policies using DNS names such as “” instead of capturing all the IP addresses the DNS name might resolve to. Keeping up with changing IP addresses is a maintenance burden, and hampers the readability of the network policies.

User Stories

  • As a cluster admin, I want to allow all Pods in the cluster to send traffic to an external service specified by a well-known domain name. For example, all Pods must be able to talk to

  • As a cluster admin, I want to allow Pods in the "monitoring" namespace to be able to send traffic to a logs-sink, hosted at

  • As a cluster admin, I want to allow all Pods in the cluster to send traffic to any of the managed services provided by my Cloud Provider. Since the cloud provider has a well known parent domain, I want to allow Pods to send traffic to all sub-domains using a wild-card selector -- *

Future User Stories

These are some user stories we want to keep in mind, but due to limitations of the existing Network Policy API, cannot be implemented currently. The design goal in this case is to ensure we do not make these unimplementable down the line.

  • As a cluster admin, I want to block all cluster egress traffic by default, and require namespace admins to create NetworkPolicies explicitly allowing egress to the domains they need to talk to.

The Cluster admin would use a BaselineAdminNetworkPolicy object to switch the default disposition of the cluster. Namespace admins would then use a FQDN selector in the Kubernetes NetworkPolicy objects to allow




IP Block Selector

IP blocks are an important tool for specifying Network Policies. However, they do not address all user needs and have a few short-comings when compared to FQDN selectors:

  • IP-based selectors can become verbose if a single logical service has numerous IPs backing it.
  • IP-based selectors pose an ongoing maintenance burden for administrators, who need to be aware of changing IPs.
  • IP-based selectors can result in policies that are difficult to read and audit.

L4 Proxy

Users can also configure a L4 Proxy (e.g. using SOCKS) to inspect their traffic and implement egress firewalls. They present a few trade-ofs when compared to a FQDN selector:

  • Additional configuration and maintenance burden of the proxy application itself
  • Configuring new routes to direct traffic leaving the application to the L4 proxy.

L7 Policy

Another alternative is to provide a L7 selector, similar to the policies provided by Service Mesh providers. While L7 selectors can offer more expressivity, they often come trade-offs that are not suitable for all users:

  • L7 selectors necessarily support a select set of protocols. Users may be using a custom protocol for application-level communication, but still want the ability to specify endpoints using DNS.
  • L7 selectors often require proxies to perform deep packet inspection and enforce the policies. These proxies can introduce un-desireable latencies in the datapath of applications.



The following is a best-effort breakdown of capabilities of different NetworkPolicy providers, as of 2023-09-25. This information may be out-of-date, or inaccurate.

Antrea Calico Cilium OpenShift
Implementation DNS Snooping
+ Async DNS
DNS Snooping DNS Snooping Async DNS DNS Snooping
Wildcards ️✔
Egress Rules ️✔
Ingress Rules ️❌
Allow Rules ️✔
Deny Rules ️❌(?) ❌(?)