I've got a bunch of physical sites: East-1, East-2, Central, West-1 and West-2, they all have domain controllers and have servers that provide DFS services.

Other sites Near-East-1, Near-East2, Near-West-1, Near-West2 have domain controllers but no servers that provide DFS services.

Central is our main data center.

Each site is defined in AD Sites & Services, and a Site Link from each site to Central exists and has a cost of 100 so it winds up being a kind of hub & spoke configuration with Central being the hub.

Users in the sites that have DFS servers are connecting to those on-site servers, that's not an issue. But users in nearby sites are connecting to the DFS server in Central instead of the one nearby. A user in Near-East-1 should connect to East-1 but are instead connecting to Central. I could create a Site Link from Near-East-1 to East-1 with a lower cost than the Near-East-1 to Central link and that should fix that problem but lets say there is a different DFS folder in East-2 that needs to be accessed. I'd need to create another Site Link from Near-East-1 to East-2 with... what cost? The same as the one to East-1?

And what if I add more sites in one of the areas? Would I need to create Site Links from each of those new sites to the sites that have the DFS servers? This can get real messy real fast.

What would be the best way to configure this to ensure that users connect to the actual closest DFS server?

2 Answers 2


You may want to configure DFS to enable Site Costing.


You can also configure AD to use the next closest site for AD authentication. By default a client will try any domain controller if not in the local site.

In Group Policy, "Try next closest site". Computer > System > Net Logon > DC Locator DNS.

  • I already have Site Costing enabled, its set to Lowest cost ordering. Does the "Try next closest site" setting also affect DFS?
    – MB43
    Nov 20 at 18:55
  • Hard to say. Some of this can be normal. You may want to enable netlogon debug logging and review what is present in the current state
    – Greg Askew
    Nov 20 at 21:10

consider creating separate site links for each DFS server location. Assign appropriate costs to prioritize local connections. This way, users in Near-East-1 would connect to East-1, and you can set specific costs for each link based on the network conditions.

  • I assume the cost for a link from Near-East-1 to East-1 should be lower than the cost from either of those sites to Central, is that correct?
    – MB43
    Nov 20 at 18:34

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