This should be a really simple question I hope. I have configured Windows domain servers in my home environment before, and set up the network adapter like so:


Primary DNS:

The gateway is a router. Presumably the domain server gets its "upstream" (i.e., internet) name resolution requests handled by the router. I now have a dedicated server with a commercial provider, but after upgrading it to a domain server, I lost upstream name resolution. I can ping IP addresses just fine.


Primary DNS:

The IP and gateway addresses aren't the real ones, this is just for the sake of example. I figure the problem is that before the upgrade the primary/secondary DNS on the adapter was pointing to their name servers, and the problem now is that the gateway is not a name server. Would the solution be to just change the primary/secondary DNS to their name servers, or do I have to do something more complicated in the server's DNS configuration? Thanks.


You've not mentioned what version of Windows Server you're running, but if it's 2008 or later you should be able to configure the DNS server with a forwarder. This is basically the upstream DNS server that the domain server forwards all requests that it is not authoritative for.

See this technet article for a step-by-step guide.

Changing the DNS settings on the domain server itself is a bad idea. Windows domains rely heavily on DNS records for the domain being both (a) correct and present and (b) updatable by the relavent components so that domain resources can be located. I'd only change the DNS server on the domain controller if I were to move the DNS server role off the DC onto a separate, dedicated box.

  • Yes, 2008. Followed the guide and found that when the vendor set the machine up as a DNS server before I converted it to a domain controller, the forwarders were already set up correctly, but recursion was disabled. Enabling it fixed the problem. Any problems with that? Thx for humoring a newb. – user1258221 Mar 9 '12 at 17:42
  • Shouldn't be an issue enabling recursion - Just make sure you keep control over which clients can actually recurse DNS queries through the server. – growse Mar 9 '12 at 17:44
  • Well, when I went into forwarders, it showed the two vendor name server IPs, but could not resolve them and displayed an error stating it was because recursion was not enabled. Once a I enabled it, internet names were then resolvable, both for the domain server and the VMs that are joined to the domain. Thanks for the security tip. – user1258221 Mar 9 '12 at 18:20

You need to configure your DNS server to go to an upstream dns server if your's cannot resolve the address. Look at this link under the heading How to configure forwarders

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