Host DNS Server Windows 10: A Complete Guide for Devs

Hello Devs! In this article, we’ll be discussing how to host a DNS server on Windows 10. DNS (Domain Name System) is a crucial element in the internet infrastructure that allows us to access websites through their domain names instead of IP addresses. Hosting your own DNS server can offer various benefits such as privacy, customization, and performance. So, let’s get started!

Understanding DNS Server

Before diving into the hosting process, it’s essential to understand what a DNS server is and how it works. In simple words, a DNS server is a computer that translates domain names into IP addresses. When we type a URL into our browser, the browser sends a request to the DNS server to resolve the domain name into an IP address. The DNS server then returns the IP address to the browser, and the browser establishes a connection to the webserver hosting the website.

There are two types of DNS servers: authoritative and recursive. Authoritative servers are responsible for storing and providing information about a domain name. Recursive servers, on the other hand, are responsible for resolving domain names by querying multiple authoritative servers until they find the correct IP address.

How DNS Server Works

The DNS server works on a hierarchical model. There are root servers at the top of the hierarchy, which store information about top-level domains such as .com, .org, etc. Below the root servers, there are TLD (top-level domain) servers that store information about specific domain extensions such as .com, .org, etc. Below the TLD servers, there are authoritative servers that store information about specific domain names. The recursive server queries these servers until it finds the correct IP address.

Now that we have a basic understanding of DNS servers let’s move on to the hosting process.

Host DNS Server on Windows 10

Step 1: Install the DNS Server Role

Windows 10 comes with a built-in DNS server role, which you can install by following these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “appwiz.cpl” and press Enter.
  3. Click on “Turn Windows features on or off” on the left sidebar.
  4. Find “DNS Server” in the list and select the checkbox next to it.
  5. Click “OK” and wait for the installation process to complete.

Once the installation is complete, you can find the DNS Server Manager under the Server Manager dashboard.

Step 2: Configure DNS Server

Configuring the DNS server involves creating a forward lookup zone, which maps domain names to IP addresses, and a reverse lookup zone, which maps IP addresses to domain names. Here’s how to configure the DNS server:

  1. Open the DNS Server Manager.
  2. Right-click on your server name and select “Configure a DNS Server”.
  3. Select “Create forward and reverse lookup zones” and click “Next”.
  4. Select “Primary zone” and click “Next”.
  5. Enter the name of the zone in the “Zone name” field and click “Next”.
  6. Select “Allow both nonsecure and secure dynamic updates” and click “Next”.
  7. Click “Finish” to create the forward lookup zone.
  8. Repeat the same process to create a reverse lookup zone.
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Now you have successfully configured the DNS server. You can add DNS records such as A, MX, CNAME, etc., to the server to map domain names to IP addresses.

Step 3: Configure DNS Forwarding

Configuring DNS forwarding allows your DNS server to resolve domain names that it doesn’t have information about. Here’s how to configure DNS forwarding:

  1. Open the DNS Server Manager.
  2. Right-click on your server name and select “Properties”.
  3. Click on the “Forwarders” tab.
  4. Click “Edit” and enter the IP address of the DNS server you want to forward your queries to.
  5. Click “OK” to save.

Now your DNS server can forward queries to other DNS servers if it doesn’t have information about the domain name.

Step 4: Test DNS Server

Testing the DNS server involves checking if the DNS server can resolve domain names correctly. Here’s how to test the DNS server:

  1. Open the command prompt.
  2. Type “nslookup domain-name.com” and press Enter.
  3. If the DNS server resolves the domain name into an IP address, it’s working correctly.

FAQs

1. What is a DNS server?

A DNS server is a computer that translates domain names into IP addresses.

2. Why host your own DNS server?

You can host your own DNS server to have more control over your DNS records, better privacy, and faster performance.

3. How to install the DNS server role on Windows 10?

You can install the DNS server role on Windows 10 by going to “Turn Windows features on or off” and selecting the “DNS Server” checkbox.

4. What are forward and reverse lookup zones?

A forward lookup zone maps domain names to IP addresses, while a reverse lookup zone maps IP addresses to domain names.

5. How to test if the DNS server is working?

You can test if the DNS server is working by using the nslookup command in the command prompt.

Term
Definition
DNS
Domain Name System
TLD
Top-Level Domain
A Record
An A record maps a domain name to an IP address.
CNAME Record
A CNAME record is used to map a domain name to another domain name (alias).
MX Record
An MX record is used to specify the mail server responsible for accepting emails on behalf of a domain.

That’s it, Devs! You now have a complete guide on how to host a DNS server on Windows 10. Happy hosting!