What Is Tertiary DNS Server?


Scott Campbell

A tertiary DNS server is an additional backup server that helps to ensure the availability and reliability of a domain name system (DNS). In this article, we will explore what a tertiary DNS server is, its role in the DNS infrastructure, and why it is important to have one.

Understanding DNS

Before diving into tertiary DNS servers, let’s briefly understand what DNS is. The Domain Name System is a hierarchical naming system that translates domain names into IP addresses. It enables users to access websites and other online services by simply typing in a domain name instead of remembering complex IP addresses.

The Role of Primary and Secondary DNS Servers

In a typical DNS setup, there are primary and secondary (also known as secondary or backup) servers. The primary server holds the authoritative records for a domain, including information about its IP address. The secondary servers act as backups, replicating the data from the primary server to provide redundancy in case the primary server fails or experiences high traffic.

Introducing Tertiary DNS Server

A tertiary DNS server goes one step further by providing an additional layer of redundancy in the event that both the primary and secondary servers become unavailable. It acts as an extra backup option to ensure continuous domain resolution even during unforeseen scenarios.

How Tertiary DNS Works

Tertiary DNS works by replicating data from both the primary and secondary servers. When a user tries to access a domain, their request first reaches the tertiary DNS server.

If this server has the required information in its cache, it provides the IP address for seamless access. However, if it doesn’t have the information cached or if it detects that both primary and secondary servers are unavailable, it will query other authoritative servers higher up in the hierarchy to obtain the necessary records.

The Importance of Tertiary DNS Server

Having a tertiary DNS server offers several benefits:

  • High Availability: By adding an extra layer of redundancy, tertiary DNS servers ensure that domain resolution remains uninterrupted even in the face of primary and secondary server failures.
  • Improved Performance: With multiple servers handling DNS queries, the overall response time can be reduced, leading to faster website access for users.
  • Traffic Distribution: Tertiary DNS servers can help distribute traffic evenly across multiple servers, preventing any single server from becoming overwhelmed during high traffic situations.

Implementing Tertiary DNS

To implement a tertiary DNS setup, you need to select a reliable tertiary DNS provider or set up your own server. Generally, it is recommended to choose a provider that offers global coverage and operates on multiple continents to ensure maximum availability.

Once you have selected a provider or set up your own tertiary DNS server, you need to configure it as an additional backup option in your domain’s DNS settings. This typically involves adding the tertiary server’s IP address alongside the primary and secondary servers.


A tertiary DNS server plays a crucial role in ensuring the availability and reliability of domain name resolution. By providing an extra layer of redundancy beyond primary and secondary servers, it helps maintain uninterrupted access to websites and online services even during unexpected events.

Implementing a tertiary DNS setup can enhance high availability, improve performance, and distribute traffic effectively. Consider incorporating a tertiary DNS server into your infrastructure to strengthen your overall DNS setup.

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