Basically I want to find out what public DNS Server is being used by my network. For Example I have a workstation, a DNS Server and a router(gateway). The Workstation when a user makes a DNS request via a browser is pointing to the Network's DNS Server. Since my Network DNS Server only resolves internal DNS, is the Gateway's DNS used at that point? That is my assumption.

  1. After the Win-Workstation attempts to resolve via the Primary DNS Server in IP4, does it then resolve based on the gateway setting?
  2. Is there a command that shows what the Public DNS it is using? ipconfig /all or nslookup just shows the Internal DNS Server.

Thanks Jason


The workstation will try to resolve only on the DNS servers configured in it's ip settings and never on the gateway address.

(on many soho routers, there's a DNS proxy so the gateway IP address may also be the DNS server address)

So your workstation will query your server, and this server in turn will query another server for non-local. Which one depend on the server configuration.

The server may configured either to use root hints or with "Forwarders" (term used by Microsoft) In the second case the server will always query one of the forwarders configured (which may in turn query other servers for the answer).

You can refer to this article for example : Forwarders and root hint in Windows DNS server

From the client you have no way to tell which DNS(s) server(s) are queried.

Also note that the DNS server IP configured in the IP settings on the server machine is used by its own DNS client and has nothing to do with how the DNS Server will process requests from the workstations.

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Your workstation used the DNS configured in IP settings. If you get IP via DHCP then the DNS address will be whatever DHCP provides.

You mentioned that you have an internal DNS so I suspect that this is the DNS server that your workstation is configured with. So, ALL dns queries go to your internal DNS.

You said that your internal DNS only resolves internal names, however this only means that it is authoritative DNS for your local zone but it will happily resolve other names for you as well. How it is going to do this depends on configuration but the bottom line is that the address will be resolved.

This is how to check what DNSs server is used: just go to command prompt and type nslookup google.com. You will get list of the google addresses as well as address of DNS server that performed resolution. My bet is that it will be your local DNS.

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