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I am setting up a dedicated server that will be running Windows Server 2012, and hosting about 5 Linux VMs, and 1 Windows VM. All the VMs are independent and do not interact with each other. The server is being used to host several websites and apps on each VM.

A few questions:

  1. I can setup the WS 2012 as a domain or as a workgroup. What is better for this purpose, and what are the advantages/disadvantages? Any reason why I should pick domain? The server will be hosted at a datacenter so I'm afraid a workgroup may not be as secure?

  2. If I go with domain, I suppose I could also setup AD and DNS on the same server. I see the benefit of DNS, but do not think AD is necessary for my purpose. Can I create a domain without having Active Directory?

  3. Instead of running DNS on the host, I could use the name servers from my registrar (Godaddy). Is this better or should I create and use my own DNS?

  4. I want my hosting server to be reachable by an externally resolvable name such as The other VM's, I would like to have reachable by something like, etc. What's the best way to set this up? a. Can I just make my FQDN for my main server instead of like Any drawback to this since the externally resolvable site IS the FQDN of the main server?

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closed as too broad by Falcon Momot, Ward, Dave M, mdpc, Michael Hampton Sep 12 '13 at 22:03

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I think you may want to take a step back and do some reading, and make sure you understand the purpose of AD, and how exactly DNS works (particularly what a resolver does, and how you make a name resolvable), and then make these decisions based on your needs. – Falcon Momot Sep 11 '13 at 8:12
  1. A stand alone Windows Server is just as secure in workgroup mode. If you only have a single Hypervisor and independent VM's, workgroup will suit your needs just fine.

  2. In this context "domain" means "Active Directory domain", so creating "a domain a without having Active Directory" is nonsensical, the two are synonymous

  3. Since you only have a single server (GoDaddy has multiple clusters of Name Servers) and evidently not much experience maintaining and operating your own DNS server, I would recommend that you leave any public DNS domains with your registrar

  4. No way to answer this without knowledge of the network interface configuration on the host. There's no immediate drawback from simply setting up to resolve to the server, but you might want to set up both

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