What Is Forwarding Only DNS Server?


Larry Thompson

A forwarding only DNS server, also known as a DNS resolver, is a type of DNS server that is responsible for resolving domain names to their corresponding IP addresses. Unlike other types of DNS servers, such as authoritative DNS servers that store and provide information about specific domains, a forwarding only DNS server does not store any domain information itself. Instead, it works by forwarding DNS lookup requests to other DNS servers for resolution.

How Does a Forwarding Only DNS Server Work?

When a user enters a domain name into their web browser or any other application that requires an internet connection, the request is sent to the local forwarding only DNS server. This server acts as an intermediary between the user and the internet’s vast network of DNS servers.

The forwarding only DNS server receives the request and checks its cache first. If it has previously resolved the domain name, it retrieves the corresponding IP address from its cache and returns it to the user, saving time by avoiding further lookups.

If the requested domain name is not found in its cache, the forwarding only DNS server will forward the request to one or more predefined upstream or recursive DNS servers. These upstream servers are typically provided by an internet service provider (ISP) or third-party providers like Google Public DNS or OpenDNS.

Advantages of Using Forwarding Only DNS Servers

There are several advantages to using a forwarding only DNS server:

  • Improved Performance: By caching resolved domain names, a forwarding only DNS server can provide faster responses to subsequent requests for those domains.
  • Reduced Network Traffic: By relying on upstream or recursive servers for lookups, a single forwarding only DNS server can serve multiple clients without having to individually query authoritative servers for every request.
  • Enhanced Security: Some forwarding only DNS servers offer additional security features, such as filtering out malicious or unwanted websites based on predefined rules or blacklists.

Configuring Forwarding Only DNS Servers

To configure a forwarding only DNS server, you need to specify the IP addresses of the upstream or recursive servers in its configuration settings. This can typically be done through the server’s administrative interface or by modifying its configuration file.

It is recommended to choose reliable and fast upstream DNS servers to ensure optimal performance. Many ISPs provide their own DNS servers, but using public DNS services like Google Public DNS or OpenDNS can also be a good option.

Once configured, the forwarding only DNS server will start forwarding DNS lookup requests to the specified upstream servers, providing efficient resolution of domain names for users on its network.


A forwarding only DNS server plays a crucial role in resolving domain names to their corresponding IP addresses. By caching resolved domains and forwarding lookup requests to upstream servers, it improves performance, reduces network traffic, and can enhance security.

Configuring a forwarding only DNS server involves specifying the IP addresses of reliable upstream servers. With this setup in place, users can enjoy fast and efficient resolution of domain names.

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