Monday, November 22, 2004

DNS server how-to and what servers are available

Just before i post on how to do the mail setups here what a lot of ppl have been asking me on a how-to on DNS server setup.

A lagre part of the tuto is picked up from silent rage i am too lazy to wirte ;).

We all have heard on bind being the most popular DNS server called bind, we'll lately for testing i have implemeted it on my machine :)

ok so lets go on with the theroy as usual to begin with :

The common choices for the DNS servers are :



BIND is the most popular DNS server software out there. It is free and open source. Its strong point is an excellent implementation of DNS standards. This makes it highly interoperable with other dns servers and provides features not found in any other dns server. Unfortunately, it has a notorious past of being insecure - so make sure you always have the latest version and learn how to secure it. Easy to manage once you get the hang of things, this server has a high learning curve.

It can be downloaded from here

Select the version you wanna install and then go for it.

Microsoft DNS Server

Compared to BIND, MS DNS is a newcomer to the field but growing in popularity quickly since being integrated into Windows 2003 Server. It is a lot more user friendly than other types of DNS servers, and yet has a well rounded feature set as is common with microsoft software. It is commonly used with Active Directory so that AD can do dynamic management your zones. MS DNS + AD is known to cause all sorts of difficult problems to work out. The only exploit I know of in MS DNS's past is a DoS vulnerability. A patch is available if your server is vulnerable.

Simple DNS

In the multitude of the less popular servers, this is the only one that stands out to me. It is designed for easy setup and configuration. This is not free however, but you can try it before you buy. I actually don't know much about it. You should use one of the above servers instead. Free is the way to be.


I might not be exagarrating but whole of internet works on bind implementation on Linux / UNIX or mebe it would be better to say UNIX / Linux

BIND usually comes with linux. See comments about BIND above.

djbdns - tinydns + dnscache

The djbdns suite is in aggressive competition with BIND, but for various reasons will never be as popular. djb software is famous for being ultra secure and having great performance advantages over competitor software. While they say it is easier to setup than BIND, it has a rather cryptic dns file format which isn't meant to be user friendly. Also, while it does have a fair feature set, it just doesn't do as much as BIND. It also ignores the DNS standards wherever it can get away with it - all in the name of efficiency and security. tinydns is the domain hosting server, while dnscache is the caching server.


I always recommend BIND for hosting domains on either windows or linux.

If you are looking to run a caching server only, then I recommend dnscache by djb for the far superior performance benefits. Once, I've been hired to write a resolver application cause BIND was choking on the zillions of requests by a web crawling script. It was choking despite all the BIND configuration optimizations I suggested to the guy. So if you're an ISP, or you otherwise place high demands on your dns resolver, dnscache is the better choice over BIND. Shoot, even if you're just a regular joe user, dnscache is preferred for being an easily configured light-weight resolver.

I have not worked with djbdns but thats what silent rage has got to say on it.

They mebe a lot more DNS server i may have missed out but the listed on are most commonly used but i have not come across an implementation of djbdns (that does not say that it is not used or popular). These are just my views which i express on my blog :)

Soon on how to install DNS server or should i say bind on windows and Linux and then defining zone.

TIll then work hard and take care



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