Local Primary & Secondary DNS Settings

Posted on 2008-11-13
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I am currently running a Windows 2003 server and have the DHCP server send out the Windows server as the primary DNS.  But, with this setup the internet goes down everytime I reboot the machine or if it goes down even though the secondary DNS is the primary WAN DNS.  Would it be better to setup the Primary WAN DNS as the Primary LAN DNS and the Secondary DNS as the Windows 2003 DNS?  If that makes sense.

Thank You,
Question by:SNUEngineer
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    If you are often rebooting the current primary DNS server then yes I would set the WAN DNS as the primary (presuming this has more uptime) but ONLY as long as it holds a replica of the DNS Zone(s) you are using. Active Directory relies very heavily on DNS, and things will start to break almost immediately if the secondary DNS server does not have an up-to-date copy of the Zone.
    However, you could check your DHCP Scope options to ensure the secondary DNS servers IP is being pushed out correctly as the clients *should* fall back to the secondary DNS server if they fail to get a response form the primary one.
    Is the secondary DNS server running OK and responding to lookups?

    Author Comment

    Yes the secondary DNS server is running correctly.  It is the one I am getting from the ISP.  The network always seems more stable when the primary DNS is the A/D server.  So if I put the A/D as the secondary you think it would could cause intermittent connections?

    Author Comment

    here is my example:

    DNS1: (A/D)
    DNS2: (ISP DNS1)
    DNS3:  (ISP DNS2)
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    You won't be able to do that on a domain, or at least it is not advisable- you need the Active Directory DNS server to be the first point of call to ensure speedy domain related functionality (on a domain controller ideally). Your ISP's DNS server will not have any AD related records on it (SRV records etc) so your domain will very likely start to fall apart.
    Do you have a second server you can install a DNS server on (preferably a domain controller) and use this as the primary one?
    Unfortunately DNS in the most integral part of Active Directory so what you are trying to do would probably lead to a massive headache for yourself.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    You may be better off addressing the issue(s) that results in frequent reboots of your AD DNS server, instead of trying to change DNS servers.

    Featured Post

    Top 6 Sources for Identifying Threat Actor TTPs

    Understanding your enemy is essential. These six sources will help you identify the most popular threat actor tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).

    Join & Write a Comment

    Most DNS problems are VERY easily troubleshot and identifiable if you can follow the steps a DNS query takes. I would like to share the step-by-step a DNS query takes from the origin to the destination. _____________________________________________…
    I wrote this article to explain some important DNS concepts that should be known to avoid some typical configuration errors I often see in forums. I assume that what is described here is the typical behavior of Microsoft DNS client. I don't know …
    Here's a very brief overview of the methods PRTG Network Monitor ( offers for monitoring bandwidth, to help you decide which methods you´d like to investigate in more detail.  The methods are covered in more detail in o…
    In this tutorial you'll learn about bandwidth monitoring with flows and packet sniffing with our network monitoring solution PRTG Network Monitor ( If you're interested in additional methods for monitoring bandwidt…

    729 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    19 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now