Friday, February 27, 2015

Understanding Microsoft Windows DNS

If you are unfamiliar with managing Microsoft DNS, it is a bit of a learning curve to get up to speed on exactly what DNS accomplishes and how to use it appropriately in the management of your Microsoft networks.

First of all, a DNS Zone is a set of DNS records used to resolve domain name resources related to a domain (such as or

The types of DNS Records are the following:

  • SOA - Start of Authority:  Holds information about the nameservers that are authoritative for a zone as well as how long the records are cached (the TTL).
  • NS - Name Server: Identifies all the servers that hold records for a specific zone
  • A - Host: Provides Host name to IPv4 address resolution
  • PT - Pointer: Resolves IP Address to Host Name
  • CNAME - Alias: Creates an Alias or alternate DNS for a specified host name
  • SRV - Service Locator:  Points to specific services that are needed within Active Directory
  • MX - Mail Exchanger: Allow mail servers to be able to identify servers that are responsible for handling mail for a remote domain.

In most instances, you will either be creating either A or CNAME records for your Active Directory instances.

If you have a computer/server that has more than IP Address, you will probably need to create an A record to point to that specific IP Address.  This will most likely be needed in scenarios where you are hosting multiple web sites on a single web server and you have a requirement for SSL certificates which require unique IP Addresses.

If you have a computer/server that only has a single IP Address and you simply want to be able to access content on the server from a variety of friendly domain name entries, then you will likely need to create a CNAME record.  For example, if the name of your web server is called DEV, but you want to specify a more user friendly Url to access the website, you might provide a CNAME record such as or  This will allow your end users to understand what type of server they are accessing without having to physically change the name of the server to accommodate this.

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