I have a DNS server running on Windows Server 2003 that is configured as the primary DNS server for my intranet. I have several DNS entries for our QA server and other local addresses set up there. The secondary DNS server we use is the first DNS server from our hosting provider. All computers are some flavor of windows (mostly WinXP and Win7) and use DHCP to get their IP addresses and DNS information from our router. All local domains end in the prefix .local.

With this setup, we're having an issue where sometimes browsers will not resolve local addresses correctly. For example, if I try to bring up www.somesite.myqaserver.local, sometimes the DNS will resolve correctly and give me the local address I'm looking for, and other times I'll get the hosting provider's error page. However, if I do an nslookup I'll always be able to resolve the expected local IP address from the DNS server.

Usually, when we get this error, we can fix it by restarting the dnscache (net stop dnscache/net start dnscache) but we're having to resort to that solution way more often than I'd like. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can fix this problem permanently?


Configure all clients and servers to use the internal DNS server only. If you want to use the ISP DNS servers as forwarders for your DNS server you can.

  • If I do that and my local DNS server goes down, then I'll loose DNS resolution for the whole network, right? – rsbarro Apr 19 '11 at 20:55
  • 1
    @rsbarro Yes, which is why it's important to have multiple dns servers and, ideally, have them on different subnets. DNS is a critical service, you want redundancy. Forwarders are the key to ensuring that you have consistency in your resolution between internal and external zones. – squillman Apr 19 '11 at 20:58
  • OK, thanks guys. I see where this is failing now, and also that I have my forwarders configured improperly. Thanks for the help! – rsbarro Apr 19 '11 at 21:11

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