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I'm currently running Server 2003 Standard in my home network. I use its DHCP and DNS services for my home network.

I just signed up for the Microsoft Website Spark program where I get a free copy of Windows Server 2008 Web Edition (does not support DNS or DHCP out of the box afaik)

I really want to upgrade to Server 2008 simply because I'm now developing solely in IIS7, which renders my 2003 server useless.

Can anyone suggest a free DNS server and a free DHCP server that's worth looking at?

PS: I'm currently considering Power DNS unless anyone has suggestions otherwise.

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I've been running MS DNS for a number of years on my production servers as I host a couple hundred domains. I'm just looking for something to do the .LOCAL zone in my home along with my DHCP – Chase Florell Jan 25 '10 at 4:06
If you're already familiar and comfortable with Windows DNS and DHCP why not also use that for your local domain, or am I missing something? – John Gardeniers Jan 25 '10 at 4:31
Yup. I'm currently running Server 2003 in my home. It is working perfectly. However, my business qualifies for the Website Spark program whereby I get a FREE copy of Windows 2008 Web Edition. Web Edition does not support DNS or DHCP. I want to upgrade to 2008 so that I can use IIS7 – Chase Florell Jan 25 '10 at 4:58
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Do you have a valid license for Windows Server 2003? If so, why not keep using it for DNS and DHCP? You could run it inside a VM on Windows Serve 2008 WE?

As long as the VM host has a static IP and does not depend on the DHCP services offered by the VM you should be good to go.

As an aside: is there anything in particular you require to run customised versions of DHCP and DNS that your router couldn't provide?

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My router "could" do DHCP for me, I just wanted it all in one nice area where I can open up MMC and see my DHCP and DNS together. The router will NOT do DNS as I'm resolving local IP's to names... Server.local PBX.local XBMC.local, etc. – Chase Florell Jan 25 '10 at 5:00
Also, I could use the VM I suppose, just seems like a lot of hassle. – Chase Florell Jan 25 '10 at 5:00
Are you running Active Directory with that .local prefix? If not you could always do the poor man's DNS infrastructure with the hosts file. – Jan 25 '10 at 5:02
I am not running an AD... could you elaborate on your "poor mans DNS?" – Chase Florell Jan 25 '10 at 5:15
You can add hostname/ip pairs to your PC's hosts file. If you're happy to give all your computers static DHCP leases, you could add entries like "server.local" to your hosts file and it will always resolve as such. Check out "C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts" in notepad. Note this is only locally. If you were using your DNS server as a nameserver for the internet you may want to consider free DNS hosting. – Jan 25 '10 at 5:33

I'm going to go way out on a limb here but if you need a "free" dns and dhcp server and you have an extra computer you should try Ubuntu Server. Set up Bind as the DNS server and a dhcp server by running the following commands:

sudo apt-get install dhcp3-server
sudo apt-get install bind9

Of course you'll also need to do a little work installing Ubuntu Server but it's really very straight forward. Burn an install disk and boot your computer. It'll walk you through all the steps.

Set your server up with a static address by editing the following file:

sudo nano /etc/network/interface

Put something like this in the file (remove everything else)

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
auto eth0

address some.ip.add.ress
gateway you.r.gate.way

Note that the DNS server listed above is for opendns. Replace it with your own once you have bind set up.

We use a Windows 2008 server for both DHCP and DNS but our Ubuntu servers work great as secondaries and could really work as primaries if we needed them to.

See this site for help on DHCP:

And this one for DNS:

So it's free as in no cash for licenses but you'll pay for it in a bit of well spent time.

You have three basic tasks listed above plus two config files. Five items. Nothing more.

Hope I've talked you into it.

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If the op has never use *nix before, I don't know if bind is "easy to manage" – Mark Henderson Jan 25 '10 at 3:20
Thanks for the advice, but I have enough "linux" to deal with with my Trixbox PBX and my XBMC Home Theater PC. I'm sort of against having yet another PC running in my house using power to do such a simple task. – Chase Florell Jan 25 '10 at 3:23
Okay, thought I'd try. It's second nature so I can't help but suggest it. – Patrick R Jan 25 '10 at 3:30
@rockingthesixstring By the way, I run trixbox too as our business VOIP solution. Talk about learning curve! Bind is nothing if you've masted that. – Patrick R Jan 25 '10 at 3:32
Nope, no nice gui for DHCP and Bind. But it is a short config file That reminds me why we use 2008 as our primary. It's so easy and reliable. – Patrick R Jan 25 '10 at 3:52

It's not free but I really love simpledns. We've been using it for years and it's easy to use, stable and reasonably priced. Starts at 79 bucks. (We have a lot of sites so I use the unlimited version.)

I havent had any hacking problems unlike my bind friends (tho they are mostly slackers who rarely update :) )

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Yup, Looked at that one. I have a copy of SimpleFailOver that I'm not using. I just wish that they had a single zone version... this is for my home. – Chase Florell Jan 25 '10 at 4:05

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