Is DHCP Name Server the Same as DNS?


Scott Campbell

Is DHCP Name Server the Same as DNS?

The terms DHCP Name Server and DNS (Domain Name System) are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different components of a network. While they both play crucial roles in translating domain names to IP addresses, there are distinct differences between them.

DHCP Name Server

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is a network management protocol that allows devices to automatically obtain IP addresses and other network configuration information. A DHCP server assigns IP addresses to devices on a network dynamically, ensuring that each device has a unique address.

Within the DHCP configuration, there is an option called ‘DHCP Name Server’ or ‘DNS Server.’ This option specifies the IP address of the DNS server that the DHCP server should provide to clients when assigning them an IP address. The DHCP name server is responsible for resolving domain names into their corresponding IP addresses.

DNS (Domain Name System)

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a decentralized system that translates human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses. It acts as a phone book for the internet, allowing users to access websites using easy-to-remember domain names instead of hard-to-remember IP addresses.

When you enter a domain name in your web browser, such as, your computer sends a request to a DNS resolver (typically provided by your internet service provider or configured on your device). The resolver then contacts DNS servers to find the IP address associated with that domain name.

Main Differences

The main differences between DHCP name servers and DNS are:

  • Function: The DHCP name server’s primary function is to provide clients with the IP address of a DNS server. The DNS server, on the other hand, is responsible for resolving domain names into IP addresses.
  • Role: The DHCP name server acts as an intermediary between the client and the DNS server.

    It provides the IP address of the DNS server to clients during the network configuration process. The DNS server, in turn, responds to queries from clients and provides them with the corresponding IP addresses.

  • Configurability: The DHCP name server is configured within the DHCP server settings and can be changed or updated as needed. The DNS server’s configuration, on the other hand, involves managing zone files, records, and other settings related to domain name resolution.


In summary, while DHCP Name Server and DNS are related components in a network infrastructure, they serve different purposes. The DHCP name server provides clients with information about the DNS server to use for domain name resolution. The DNS server then translates domain names into IP addresses, enabling users to access websites using memorable domain names.

Understanding the distinction between these two components is essential for effectively managing network configurations and ensuring reliable internet connectivity.

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