Working with the DNS Server in Windows 2016

By Doug Lowe

The procedure for installing and managing a DNS server depends on the network operating system you’re using. This information is specific to working with a DNS server in Windows 2016. Working with a DNS server in a Linux or Unix environment is similar but without the help of a graphical user interface.

You can install the DNS server on Windows Server 2016 from the Server Manager (choose Server Manager on the taskbar). After you install the DNS server, you can manage it from the DNS management console. Here, you can perform common administrative tasks, such as adding additional zones, changing zone settings, or adding new records an existing zone. The DNS management console hides the details of the resource records from you, thus allowing you to work with a friendly graphical user interface instead.

To add a new host (which is defined by a DNS record called an A record) to a zone, right-click the zone in the DNS management console and choose the Add New Host command. This action opens the New Host dialog box.

New Host dialog box
The New Host dialog box.

Here, you specify the following information:

  • Name: The host name for the new host.
  • IP Address: The host’s IP address.
  • Create Associated Pointer (PTR) Record: Automatically creates a PTR record in the reverse lookup zone file. Select this option if you want to allow reverse lookups for the host. (A reverse lookup determines the domain name for a given IP address. It’s called that because the normal type of DNS lookup determines the IP address for a given domain name.)
  • Allow Any Authenticated User to Update: Select this option if you want to allow other users to update this record or other records with the same host name. You should usually leave this option deselected.
  • Time to Live: The TTL value for this record, which indicates how long (in seconds) the data should be cached.

You can add other records, such as MX records, in the same way.

Client computers don’t need much configuration to work properly with DNS. The client must have the address of at least one DNS server. Usually, this address is supplied by DHCP, so if the client is configured to obtain its IP address from a DHCP server, it also obtains the DNS server address from DHCP.

To configure a client computer to obtain the DNS server location from DHCP, open the Network Properties dialog box by choosing Network or Network Connections in the Control Panel (depending on which version of Windows the client is running). Then select the TCP/IP protocol and click the Properties button. This action summons the TCP/IP Properties dialog box. To configure the computer to use DHCP, select the Obtain an IP Address Automatically and the Obtain DNS Server Address Automatically options. Click OK, and you’re done.