How Do I Setup a DNS Server in Windows 2016?


Scott Campbell

Setting up a DNS Server in Windows 2016 is a crucial step in managing your network’s domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. Whether you’re setting up a local network or managing a large enterprise, having your own DNS server can greatly enhance the efficiency and reliability of your network infrastructure.

Why Setup a DNS Server?

A DNS server (Domain Name System) helps translate human-friendly domain names into machine-readable IP addresses. Without a DNS server, accessing websites or other resources on the internet would require remembering and typing in numeric IP addresses, which is not practical for most users.

Setting up a DNS server in Windows 2016 allows you to have full control over the domain names within your network, improving network performance by reducing response times when accessing resources. Additionally, it provides enhanced security by allowing you to manage access to specific resources based on domain names.

Step-by-Step Guide to Setup DNS Server in Windows 2016:

  • Step 1: Install the DNS Server Role
  • To begin, log in to your Windows Server 2016 and open the Server Manager. From there, navigate to the Add Roles and Features Wizard. Follow the wizard’s instructions until you reach the Select server roles page. Here, check the box next to DNS Server and click Next.

  • Step 2: Configure Forwarders (Optional)
  • If you want your DNS server to forward requests for domains it doesn’t manage to another external DNS server, you can configure forwarders. In the DNS Manager, right-click on your server name and select Properties. Then, navigate to the Forwarders tab and enter the IP addresses of the external DNS servers you want to use.

  • Step 3: Create a Forward Lookup Zone
  • In the DNS Manager, right-click on Forward Lookup Zones and select New Zone.

    Follow the wizard’s instructions and choose the appropriate zone type based on your network configuration. You can create a primary zone, secondary zone, or stub zone depending on your requirements.

  • Step 4: Add Resource Records to the Zone
  • To map domain names to IP addresses, you need to add resource records (RR) to your zone. Right-click on your newly created zone and select New Host (A or AAAA), or any other record type you require. Enter the necessary information such as name, IP address, and TTL (Time To Live).

  • Step 5: Test DNS Resolution
  • To ensure that your DNS server is functioning correctly, perform a test by running commands like nslookup or accessing resources using domain names within your network. If everything is set up correctly, you should be able to resolve domain names into their respective IP addresses.

    Troubleshooting DNS Server Setup:

    DNS Server Not Responding:

    If you encounter issues where your DNS server is not responding, double-check that the DNS service is running in Windows Services. Additionally, verify that correct forwarding settings are in place if applicable.

    Incorrect Resource Record:

    If a resource record is not resolving correctly, ensure that the record is accurately entered in the DNS Manager. You can also try flushing the DNS cache on your client machine by running ipconfig /flushdns.

    Firewall Blocking DNS Traffic:

    If you’re experiencing connectivity issues with your DNS server, check if any firewalls are blocking incoming DNS traffic. Ensure that port 53 (TCP and UDP) is open for both inbound and outbound connections.


    Setting up a DNS server in Windows 2016 is an essential step towards managing your network’s domain names efficiently. By following these steps and troubleshooting tips, you can establish a reliable and secure DNS infrastructure that enhances network performance and accessibility.

    Remember to regularly monitor your DNS server for any updates or changes in your network configuration to ensure seamless operation.

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