What Is DNS in Windows Server 2012?


Scott Campbell

DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it is an essential component of any Windows Server 2012 environment. The DNS service is responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses, allowing computers to communicate with each other over the internet. In this article, we will explore the key features and functions of DNS in Windows Server 2012.

What is DNS?

DNS is a hierarchical naming system that helps users access websites and other network resources using easy-to-remember domain names, rather than complex IP addresses. It acts as a phone book for the internet, translating human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses.

The Role of DNS in Windows Server 2012

In a Windows Server 2012 environment, the DNS server plays a crucial role in facilitating network communication. It allows clients to locate resources such as websites or other servers by resolving their domain names to IP addresses.

DNS Resolution: When a client requests to access a resource by its domain name, the DNS server performs a process called resolution.

It starts by checking its local cache for a previously resolved IP address for that domain name. If not found, it queries other DNS servers in the hierarchy until it finds the appropriate IP address.

Benefits of Using DNS in Windows Server 2012

  • Improved Network Performance: By caching previously resolved queries, DNS reduces network traffic and improves response times.
  • Centralized Management: Windows Server 2012 provides centralized management tools for configuring and maintaining DNS settings across multiple servers.
  • Redundancy and Load Balancing: Multiple DNS servers can be configured to provide fault tolerance and distribute client requests efficiently.
  • Name Resolution for Active Directory: DNS is closely integrated with Active Directory, allowing clients to locate domain controllers and other services.

DNS Components in Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012 includes the following DNS components:

  • DNS Server: The DNS server software that hosts the DNS service and responds to client requests.
  • DNS Zones: A logical container that holds DNS resource records for a specific domain or domains.
  • DNS Records: Information stored within a DNS zone, including IP addresses, aliases, mail server information, and more.
  • DNS Forwarders: Configuration settings that allow the DNS server to forward queries it cannot resolve locally to other DNS servers.

Configuring DNS in Windows Server 2012

To configure the DNS service in Windows Server 2012, follow these steps:

  1. Install the DNS Server Role: Open the ‘Server Manager’ and navigate to ‘Manage’ -> ‘Add Roles and Features.’ Select the ‘DNS Server’ role and complete the installation process.
  2. Create a Forward Lookup Zone: Launch the ‘DNS Manager’ console, right-click on ‘Forward Lookup Zones,’ and select ‘New Zone.’ Follow the wizard to create a new forward lookup zone for your domain.
  3. Create Resource Records: Within your newly created zone, you can add various types of resource records like A records (for mapping hostnames to IP addresses), MX records (for email), CNAME records (for aliasing), etc.
  4. Configure DNS Forwarders: To enable DNS to forward unresolved queries to external DNS servers, right-click on the server name in ‘DNS Manager,’ select ‘Properties,’ and navigate to the ‘Forwarders’ tab.


In conclusion, DNS is a critical component in Windows Server 2012 that allows for the translation of domain names into IP addresses. By understanding its functions and benefits, you can effectively configure and manage DNS services in your network environment. Remember to follow best practices and regularly monitor your DNS infrastructure to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

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