How Do I Set Up an External DNS Server?


Angela Bailey

Setting up an External DNS Server


Setting up an external DNS server can be a complex task, but with the right guidance, it becomes much easier. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of setting up your own external DNS server.

What is a DNS Server?

A DNS (Domain Name System) server is responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses. When you type a website’s URL into your browser, the DNS server resolves the domain name to its corresponding IP address, allowing your browser to connect to the correct web server.

Step 1: Choose a Suitable Server

The first step in setting up an external DNS server is to choose a suitable server. You can use any computer or virtual machine with a stable internet connection and enough resources to handle your expected traffic.

Hardware Requirements

  • A computer or virtual machine with sufficient RAM and CPU power.
  • A reliable internet connection with sufficient bandwidth.
  • Ample storage space for logs and zone data.

Software Requirements

  • A Linux-based operating system such as Ubuntu or CentOS.
  • BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) software for running the DNS server.

Step 2: Install and Configure BIND

Once you have set up your server, it’s time to install and configure BIND.

Installing BIND

To install BIND on Ubuntu, use the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install bind9

On CentOS, use the following command:

$ sudo yum update
$ sudo yum install bind

Configuring BIND

After installation, you need to configure BIND to work as an external DNS server.

Open the BIND configuration file using a text editor:

$ sudo nano /etc/bind/named.conf.options

Inside the file, modify the options block to include your server’s IP address as the listen-on directive. You should also add any additional options required for your specific setup.

Save and close the file.

Step 3: Create Zone Files

Zone files contain the DNS records for each domain that your DNS server will be authoritative for. To set up external DNS, you will need to create zone files for each domain you want to manage.

Create a new zone file for your domain in the BIND configuration directory:

$ sudo nano /etc/bind/

Inside the file, add the necessary DNS records such as A records, CNAMEs, and MX records. Make sure to include both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses if applicable.

Step 4: Update Domain Registrar Settings

To make your external DNS server active, you need to update the DNS settings with your domain registrar. This step may vary depending on your registrar’s interface, but generally, you will find an option to update nameservers or DNS records.

Set up at least two nameservers with their corresponding IP addresses to ensure redundancy and reliability.


Setting up an external DNS server can seem daunting at first, but by following these steps and properly configuring BIND, you can have your own reliable DNS infrastructure. Remember to regularly monitor and maintain your server for optimal performance.

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