What Is DNS Server in Windows Server?


Scott Campbell

In this tutorial, we will explore the concept of DNS server in Windows Server and understand its role in the domain name resolution process.

What is a DNS Server?

A DNS (Domain Name System) server is a crucial component of a network infrastructure that translates domain names into IP addresses. It acts as a central directory for mapping human-readable domain names to their corresponding IP addresses, allowing computers to locate and communicate with each other on the internet.

How Does DNS Work?

When you type a website’s URL into your browser’s address bar, your computer sends a request to a DNS server to resolve the domain name into an IP address. The DNS server then looks up its database or forwards the request to other DNS servers until it finds the IP address associated with the domain name.

The Domain Name Resolution Process

  1. Your computer first checks its local cache for the IP address corresponding to the requested domain name. If it finds a match, it uses that information directly without contacting any external DNS servers.
  2. If no match is found in the local cache, your computer sends a request to the configured DNS server specified by your internet service provider (ISP).
  3. The ISP’s DNS server checks its own cache for a matching IP address.

    If found, it returns the result to your computer.

  4. If no match is found in the ISP’s DNS cache, it forwards the request to one of several root DNS servers.
  5. The root DNS servers direct the request to Top-Level Domain (TLD) servers based on the extension of the requested domain (.com, .org, .net, etc. ).
  6. The TLD servers then direct the request to authoritative DNS servers responsible for the specific domain name.
  7. The authoritative DNS server responds with the IP address, which is then passed back through the chain of DNS servers until it reaches your computer.

Types of DNS Servers

There are several types of DNS servers that serve different functions within a network:

  • Recursive DNS Servers: These servers are responsible for performing the entire domain name resolution process on behalf of clients. They recursively query other DNS servers until they find the IP address associated with a domain name.
  • Root DNS Servers: These servers are located at the top of the DNS hierarchy and provide information about TLD (Top-Level Domain) servers.
  • TLD (Top-Level Domain) Servers: These servers store information about domain names based on their TLD extensions (.) and direct requests to authoritative DNS servers.
  • Authoritative DNS Servers: These servers store specific domain name records and provide the final answer to queries about those records.

Configuring a DNS Server in Windows Server

In Windows Server, you can configure a DNS server role using the built-in Windows Server Manager. This allows you to host your own DNS server and manage various aspects such as zone files, resource records, and forwarders.

To configure a DNS server in Windows Server:

  1. Open Windows Server Manager by clicking on the Start menu and selecting “Windows Administrative Tools” followed by “Server Manager.”
  2. In the Server Manager window, click on “Add Roles and Features” from the Dashboard or Manage menu.
  3. Follow the wizard to select the appropriate server and choose the “DNS Server” role under “Server Roles.”
  4. Complete the remaining steps to install and configure the DNS server role based on your specific requirements.

Once configured, you can manage your DNS server using the DNS Manager console, which provides a graphical interface for creating and managing zones, records, and other DNS-related settings.


A DNS server is a critical component of network infrastructure that translates human-readable domain names into IP addresses. Understanding how DNS works and knowing how to configure a DNS server in Windows Server can greatly enhance your ability to manage and troubleshoot network services effectively.

By ensuring proper domain name resolution, DNS servers play a vital role in enabling seamless communication between computers and services on the internet.

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