I have Server Essentials 2016. Each client that I connect gets their DNS set to the SE2016 box during connection. My router has it's DNS set to the ISP. I have some weird issues with the internet just not working at times, but it seems it might just be DNS issues.

What should the setup be for the router and the clients?

  1. Should the router have it's DNS set to the SE2016 box?
  2. Should I change my clients to use the router for DNS instead?
  3. Should I add my router as a second DNS to my clients in case the SE2016 box isn't handling the request?
  4. Anything else I should know?

I'm sure there is a correct way of setting this up, but I'm not really finding much info on this. I probably just don't know what to search for to get the answer.

This is a home setup, and the SE2016 box is pretty much only used for backups and a file share.

  • Your question will probably get downvoted or put on hold soon because you have asked some non-specific questions and also admitted that this is a home setup! However I will post an answer to the DNS part below... – Mintra May 18 '18 at 15:50
  • My question is a little loose ended, but I think there is a definite correct answer, and not a discussionable question. It's home setup with a server though. My only reason for mentioning it's home is maybe I don't have to worry as much about some things because it's not in a business. – Josh Close May 18 '18 at 15:52

Your clients should use the SE2016 box for primary DNS, because it is the only thing able to resolve hostnames on your local network (assuming it is actually configured as a DNS server, that is). Resolution of these names is needed for smooth running of many applications, but they will not be in the public DNS which is what your router forwards or recurses to.

You can add the router as secondary DNS for your client as a last resort for internet access if the server is down, but as above in that scenario you will have trouble with things that require local name resolution, e.g. connecting to other hosts on your network by name.

It would be good to have the background on the "weird issues with the internet" that you are attributing to DNS, in order to provide the most useful response.

  • For the internet issues, I get messages about not being able to resolve a host name. Trying to ping google.com will also fail with a message about not being able to resolve the host name. During this time, all other devices that aren't using the SE2016 box for DNS don't have the issue. – Josh Close May 18 '18 at 16:00
  • I think adding the router as a secondary DNS would be fine for me because the only local thing that would need resolution is the SE2016 server itself. – Josh Close May 18 '18 at 16:01
  • My concern is that there might possibly be contention with the router's DNS and the SE2016 DNS. I wasn't sure if the router should use it's own DNS setting or it should be set to the SE2016 as it's DNS server. – Josh Close May 18 '18 at 16:04
  • It's starting to sound like the SE2016 box might not even be running the DNS server role. In which case yes go ahead and use the router as primary; I'd overlooked that you have nothing else on the local network requiring name resolution. So long as the server has NetBIOS enabled you should be able to resolve its name for that file share. As a side note, where you have two DNS servers configured on a client they tend to be active-passive: The primary will be tried and if it doesn't respond after a timeout then the secondary. – Mintra May 18 '18 at 16:13
  • The resolution failures are intermittent. I don't know why the server sometimes doesn't respond. – Josh Close May 18 '18 at 16:39

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