In a Windows based network, you’ll almost definitely have Windows Server with the DNS service installed. DNS can get complicated very fast if you’re just starting to learn it but you only need to know a few things to get you started. Here I’ll be covering how to do 3 very basic things:
- Verify that DHCP is setup to point computers to your Windows DNS Server
- Basic trouble shooting steps
- Mapping names to IP addresses
Adding DNS Servers to DHCP
Adding your Windows Server in to the DHCP entry was covered in part 001 during the setup process however I’ll go over how to add it to an existing scope here.
- In Server Manager go to Tools > DHCP
- Expand down Your Domain > IPv4 > Scope > Scope Options
- On the right, Right click 006 DNS Servers and go Properties
- Add your Windows Server IP, click OK and Make sure the Windows Server IP address is on top
DHCP should now be setup to assign the Windows DNS Server to any clients that request a DHCP lease.
Basic DNS Troubleshooting Steps
The first thing we want to do here is open the DNS Manager MMC. Go to the Server Manager and open Tools > DNS. Here we can right click on the Server to get a list of things we can do.
Scavenge Stale Resource Records
The first option I’ve pointed to is Scavenge Stale Resource Records. This may be useful in an environment where you have lots of devices coming on and off the network. If a device is uncleanly removed from the network it’s DNS records may not be removed. Basically, your DNS Server may remember some clients forever until this is ran.
To automate running this, you can right go to Properties in the menu above and go to the Advanced tab. Here you can tick the Enable automatic scavenging of stale records checkbox. Weekly is fine for most cases.
The Clear Cache option may be used if you’re having trouble resolving names of websites that have changed their IP recently, It’ll be rare that you need this.
If you’re having issues, you may want to try simply restarting the service. The DNS service is generally very reliable.
Mapping Names to IP Addresses
If you have a NAS, Printer or some other device on your network that doesn’t support having or changing it’s domain name you may want to map a name to it’s IP manually.
In DNS Manager, expand down Your Server > Forward Lookup Zones, Right Click on your domain name and go to New Host (A or AAAA)….
In this Window you can enter the name and below that we can enter the IP. Then click Add Host and you’re done.
Now if I go to a client computer on the domain I can ping nas-01 and it’ll hit that IP Address.
This is a very basic introduction to the DNS Server on Windows Server 2016. It has far more capability than what I’ve talked about here and I may cover it in the future as needed. Feel free to point out any flaws in the comments section, I’m learning too as I make these so it’s highly likely mistakes will creep in at some point.