Jeff Quast

Python Engineer

(Ab)using the Hover API

I recently switched from DirecNIC to Hover as my DNS provider for two reasons. (1) DirectNIC was once a mom-and-pop shop in the late 90's from New Orleans when I first signed up, which astonishingly survived Hurricane Katrina . However, it appears they have sold out to some international conglomerate, moved their support staff overseas, and the same problems that plagued their control panel in 1997 continue to this day. (2) Hover is a subsidiary of Tucows, Inc. which was originally founded in Flint, MI by Scott Swedorski -- where I also resided for eight years. Hover's technical and support staff continue to reside in Toronto, ON.

Recently, I set up a new build service for the pexpect project, which according to pypi receives nearly 50,000 downloads each month. It is imperative to use continuous integration to run a full suite of tests across as many Operating Systems as possible. I use joyent as a Sun Solaris hosting provider, but their costs run a quite a bit higher than services like DigitalOcean. To save several hundred dollars a year, I dynamically provision a Solaris host on-demand, triggered by the build system, which destroys itself after a period of inactivity.

Dynamic DNS

I decided to have something of a dynamic DNS, so that would always resolve to the latest provisioned host. I was disappointed to find that Hover does not provide a documented API. I did, however, find that they have one, thanks to @dankrause's gist.

So I used this to create a simple dynamic dns update script, given the variables:


And TeamCity variables:

  • %primaryIp%
  • %name%

Which are replaced when the script is included in-line as part of the Build Configuration. I could then use the following script to update

#!/usr/bin/env python2.7
from __future__ import print_function
import requests
import sys
import os

class HoverException(Exception):

class HoverAPI(object):
    def __init__(self, username, password):
        params = {"username": username, "password": password}
        r ="", params=params)
        if not r.ok or "hoverauth" not in r.cookies:
            raise HoverException(r)
        self.cookies = {"hoverauth": r.cookies["hoverauth"]}
    def call(self, method, resource, data=None):
        url = "{0}".format(resource)
        r = requests.request(method, url, data=data, cookies=self.cookies)
        if not r.ok:
            raise HoverException(r)
        if r.content:
            body = r.json()
            if "succeeded" not in body or body["succeeded"] is not True:
                raise HoverException(body)
            return body

# connect to API
client = HoverAPI(os.environ.get('HOVER_USERNAME'),
primaryIp = "%primaryIp%"
dnsname = "%name%"

dns_name, domain_name = dnsname.split('.', 1)

# get all DNS records
result ="get", "dns")
assert result['succeeded'], result

# discover existing dns record, if any
dns_record = None
domain_record = None
for dns_domain in result['domains']:
    if dns_domain['domain_name'] == domain_name:
        domain_record = dns_domain
        for dns_entry in dns_domain['entries']:
            if dns_entry['name'] == dns_name:
                dns_record = dns_entry
    if dns_record is not None and domain_record is not None:

if dns_record is not None and domain_record is not None:
    print("Deleting entry for {0}.{1} ... "
          .format(dns_name, domain_name), end="")
    result ="delete", "dns/{0}".format(dns_record['id']))
    assert result['succeeded'], result
    print("No record exists for {0}".format(dnsname))

print("Creating A record {0}.{1} => {2} ... "
      .format(dns_name, domain_name, primaryIp), end="")

## create a new A record:
record = {"name": dns_name, "type": "A", "content": primaryIp}
post_id = "domains/{0}/dns".format(domain_record['id'])
result ="post", post_id, record)
assert result['succeeded'], result

It works like a charm!

[03:59:05] Deleting entry for ... OK
[03:59:05] Creating A record => ... OK