Windows Server 2008 R2 networking : Planning and Deploying DNS (part 2) - Installing the DNS Server role, Configuring DNS Servers

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Installing the DNS Server role

Installing DNS can be done the same way as you would install any other server role. To install DNS perform the following steps:

Open Server Manager from Start | Administrative Tools | Server Manager.

Click to highlight the Roles node in the left pane. Then click the Add Roles link in the middle pane. This will launch the Add Roles Wizard.

Click Next to begin the installation process.

Select DNS Server from the list of available roles (see Figure 3). Then click Next.

Figure 3. Select DNS Server role.

The Introduction to DNS Server page will appear. Click Next to continue.

Confirm that DNS was selected on the summary page, and then click Install.

After DNS installation is completed, you will be taken to an installation results page. Verify that the DNS role was installed successfully, and then click Close.

You should now see the DNS role listed under the Roles node in Server Manager as seen in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Server Manager—DNS Server role.

Configuring DNS Servers

After DNS is installed, you will need to configure the service to support name resolution. The primary DNS configuration tool is the DNS console in Server Manager. Let us take a look at DNS Server configuration settings.

You can access the server’s DNS properties by expanding the nodes Roles | DNS Server | DNS, and then right clicking the listed DNS Server and choosing Properties as seen in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Opening DNS Properties.

The properties window will open and you will be presented with a series of configuration tabs as seen in Figure 6.

Figure 6. DNS Server Properties.

We will now take a look at each of the configuration tabs and explore the options that can be set up. The following configuration tabs are displayed in the DNS properties window:

  • Interfaces —The Interfaces tab allows you to select the IP addresses (including IPv6 addresses) that you want to listen for DNS requests on. By default, the option to listen on all interfaces is selected.

  • Forwarders —The Forwarders option allows you to specify the DNS Servers that the current DNS Server can forward the requests to, if it cannot resolve the requested query.

    Best Practices

    Using DNS forwarders

    As a best practice, you should have a set of DNS Servers that use root hints to perform DNS lookups. You should then configure all other DNS Servers on your network to forward Internet-based requests to these servers. Forwarders provide additional security against DNS cache poisoning by limiting which servers pull records from Internet DNS Servers.

  • Advanced —Most DNS installations will not require you to modify the settings on the Advanced tab; however, there may be occasions where changing these options are necessary.

    • Disable recursion —Disabling recursion will prevent the DNS Server from performing a referral lookup of zones not hosted on this DNS Server. If recursion is disabled and a client queries the DNS Server for a zone that is not hosted on the DNS Server, the query will fail.

    • BIND Secondaries —Enabling this option will allow Windows DNS Servers to perform fast zone transfers to compatible BIND DNS Servers. Fast zone transfers use compression to perform a faster transfer of data from a primary DNS Server to secondary DNS Servers.

    • Fail on load if bad zone data —Enabling this option will instruct the DNS Server to not load the zone if there are errors in the zone files.

    • Enable round robin —This feature, enabled by default, allows DNS to use round robin techniques to send traffic to multiple IP addresses for a single host.

    • Enable netmask ordering —This feature, also enabled by default, ensures that a host IP on the client’s local subnet will be returned if multiple IP addresses (host records) are given for a single hostname.

    • Secure cache against pollution —This feature attempts to prevent the local DNS cache from being polluted by discarding records in the cache that could be considered insecure due to the fact that they were received from a DNS Server that is not part of the domain path that the original request was sent to.

  • Root Hints —The root hints tab lists the root DNS Servers that the server will use to resolve a query if it does not host the zone.

  • Debug Logging —Debug Logging allows you to create a very detailed log of DNS packets sent and received by the DNS Server. Debug Logging can create very large logs depending on how many packets are captured. It is only recommended that you turn on Debug Logging when troubleshooting DNS problems.

  • Event Logging —This setting configures what type of DNS events should be written to the DNS Event Log. By default, the All Events option is selected.

  • Trust Anchors —Trust Anchors are part of DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC). Trust Anchors are used to validate responses from remote DNS Servers.

  • Monitoring —The Monitoring tab allows you to perform basic or recursive queries against the DNS Server manually or on a scheduled basis.

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