Making changes to IRR objects

For authoritative databases, changes to objects can be submitted to IRRd. For each change, a number of integrity, authentication, and reference checks are performed. Additionally, notifications may be sent on attempted or successful changes.

Submission format & passwords

Changes are submitted by e-mail, to be configured by an IRRd administrator. Both simple text/plain e-mails as well as MIME multipart messages with a text/plain part are accepted.

The message content should simply be the object texts, separated by an empty line. If no objects exist with the same primary key, an object creation is attempted. If an object does exist, an update is attempted.

To delete an object, submit the current version of the object with a delete attribute in it, without empty lines in between:

origin: AS65536
[other object data]
delete: <your deletion reason>

For authentication, password attributes can be included anywhere in the submission, on their own or as part of objects, e.g.:

origin: AS65536
[other object data]
password: <password for MNT-EXAMPLE>

You may submit multiple passwords, and each password will be considered for each authentication check.

For PGP authentication, messages can be signed with a PGP/MIME signature or inline PGP. PGP signatures and passwords can be combined, and each method will be considered for each authentication check.

IRRd will attempt to process as many changes as possible, meaning that it’s possible that some changes will fail, and some will succeed. A response will be sent with the results of the submitted changes, and why any failures occurred.

All objects submitted are validated for the presence, count and syntax, though the syntax validation is limited for some attributes. Values like prefixes are also rewritten into a standard format. If this results in changes compared to the original submitted text, an info message is added in the reply.

Override password

An override password can be configured, which admins can use In the same way, admins can use to bypass all authentication requirements. Even with the override password, changes can only be made to objects in authoritative databases, and will need to pass checks for syntax and referential integrity like any other change. Override passwords are provided in the override attribute, e.g.:

origin: AS65536
[other object data]
override: <override password>

Notifications to maintainers or the address in the notify attribute are not sent when a valid override password was used.

If an invalid override password is used, or if no override password was configured, the invalid use is logged, and authentication and notification proceeds as usual, as if no override password was provided.


New mntner objects can only be created using the override password.

Working with auth hash masking

When querying for a mntner object, any lines with password hashes are masked for security reasons. For example:

auth: CRYPT-PW DummyValue  # Filtered for security
auth: MD5-PW DummyValue  # Filtered for security
auth: PGPKEY-12345678

When submitting a new mntner object, it must include at least one valid auth value, which can not be a dummy value.

When submitting changes to an existing mntner object, there are two options:

  • Submit without any dummy values in auth values. If otherwise valid, the auth lines submitted will now be the only valid authentication methods.

  • Submit with exclusively dummy values (and optionally, PGP keys) and provide a single password in the entire submission. In this case, all password authentication hashes are deleted from the object, except for a single MD5-PW that matches the password used to authenticate the change.

Any other scenario, like submitting a mix of dummy and real hashes, or submitting dummy hashes along with multiple password attributes in the message, is considered an error.

Referential integrity

IRRd enforces referential integrity between objects. This means it is not permitted to delete an object that is still referenced by other objects. When an object is created or updated, all references to other objects, such as a mntner, must be valid. This only applies to strong references, as indicated in the object template. For weak references, only the syntax is validated.

When creating or deleting multiple objects, these are considered together, which means that an attempt to delete A and B in one submission, while B depends on A, the deletion will pass referential integrity checks. (If authentication fails for the deletion of A, the deletion of B will also fail, as A still exists.)

In the same way, it’s possible to create multiple objects that depend on each other in the same submission to IRRd.

Authentication checks

When changing an object, authentication must pass for one of the maintainers referred by the affected object itself. In case of updates to existing objects, this refers to both one of the existing object maintainers, and one of the maintainers in the newly submitted version. Using a valid override password overrides the requirement to pass authentication for the affected objects.

Changes can only be made to authoritative databases.

When creating a new mntner, a submission must pass authorisation for one of the auth methods of the new mntner. Other objects can be submitted that depend on the new mntner in the same submission.

Object templates

The -t query can be used to get the object template for a particular object class. This includes which attributes are permitted, which are mandatory, look-up keys, primary keys and references to other objects.

For example, at the time of writing the template for a route object, retrieved with -t route, looks like this:

route:          [mandatory]  [single]    [primary/look-up key]
descr:          [optional]   [multiple]  []
origin:         [mandatory]  [single]    [primary key]
holes:          [optional]   [multiple]  []
member-of:      [optional]   [multiple]  [look-up key, weak references route-set]
inject:         [optional]   [multiple]  []
aggr-bndry:     [optional]   [single]    []
aggr-mtd:       [optional]   [single]    []
export-comps:   [optional]   [single]    []
components:     [optional]   [single]    []
admin-c:        [optional]   [multiple]  [look-up key, strong references role/person]
tech-c:         [optional]   [multiple]  [look-up key, strong references role/person]
geoidx:         [optional]   [multiple]  []
roa-uri:        [optional]   [single]    []
remarks:        [optional]   [multiple]  []
notify:         [optional]   [multiple]  []
mnt-by:         [mandatory]  [multiple]  [look-up key, strong references mntner]
changed:        [mandatory]  [multiple]  []
source:         [mandatory]  [single]    []

This template shows:

  • The primary key is the route combined with the origin. Only one object with the same values for the primary key and source can exist. Any change submitted with the same primary key, will be considered an attempt to update the current object.

  • The member-of attribute is a look-up key, meaning it can be used with -i queries.

  • The member-of attribute references to the route-set class. It is a weak references, meaning the referred route-set does not have to exist, but is required to meet the syntax of a route-set name. The attribute is also optional, so it can be left out entirely.

  • The admin-c and tech-c attributes reference a role or person. This means they may refer to either object class, but must be a reference to a valid, existing person or role. This `person or role can be created as part of the same submission.


IRRd will always reply to a submission with a report on the requested changes. Depending on the request and its result, additional notifications may be sent. The overview below details all notifications that may be sent.

Authentication and notification overview

Type of change

Authentication must pass

Notifications sent to

Create, auth success

New object

  • mnt-nfy for all maintainers of new object

  • report sent to the submitter of the change

Create, auth fail

New object

  • upd-to for all maintainers of new object

  • report sent to the submitter of the change

Update or delete, auth success

Existing object and new object

  • mnt-nfy for all maintainers of existing object

  • notify attribute of the existing object

  • report sent to the submitter of the change

Update or delete, auth fail

Existing object and new object

  • upd-to for all maintainers of existing object

  • report sent to the submitter of the change

Any change, syntax or referential integrity failure

  • report sent to the submitter of the change

  • no other notifications sent

“Authentication must pass” means that for each relevant object, at least one auth method of at least one mntner referred by the relevant object has passed.

No notifications are sent if changes are made with a valid override password.