Is the USG a DNS Server?


Scott Campbell

The USG (Unified Security Gateway) is a powerful device that combines multiple security features into one comprehensive solution. It offers various functionalities, including firewall, antivirus, intrusion prevention system (IPS), and VPN capabilities. However, one question that often arises is whether the USG can also function as a DNS server.

To answer this question, let’s dive into the world of DNS (Domain Name System). DNS is responsible for translating human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses. It plays a crucial role in enabling internet communication by acting as a directory service for the internet.

While the USG performs admirably in its security functions, it does not inherently function as a DNS server. Its primary purpose is to safeguard your network from external threats rather than serving as a DNS resolver.

Nevertheless, it is possible to configure the USG to forward DNS requests to an external DNS server. This setup allows the USG to act as an intermediary between client devices and the actual DNS server.

To configure the USG as a DNS forwarder, follow these steps:

1. Accessing the USG interface: Connect to your USG using SSH or through the UniFi Controller software.

2. Navigating to settings: Once you are logged in, navigate to “Settings” and select “Services” from the left-hand menu.

3. Enabling DNS forwarding: Under “DNS”, toggle on “Enable DNS Forwarding.” This action allows you to specify which external DNS servers you want to use.

4. Configuring external servers: Enter the IP addresses of your preferred external DNS servers in the “DNS Servers” field. You can use popular options like Google’s public DNS (8.8.8 and 8.4.4) or Cloudflare’s 1.1.

5. Saving changes: After entering your desired DNS server addresses, click on “Apply Changes” to save the settings.

By configuring the USG to forward DNS requests, you can benefit from its security features while still utilizing external DNS servers for resolving domain names.

It’s important to note that while the USG can act as a DNS forwarder, it is not a replacement for dedicated DNS server software. If you require advanced DNS functionalities, such as hosting your own DNS zones or implementing specific DNS configurations, it is advisable to use dedicated DNS server software instead.

In conclusion, the USG is not a native DNS server. However, with proper configuration, it can act as a DNS forwarder and efficiently handle DNS requests on your network. By leveraging its security capabilities alongside external DNS servers, you can enhance both the security and performance of your network infrastructure.

With this understanding, you can make informed decisions regarding the role of your USG in managing your network’s DNS functionality.

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