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Direct all DNS Requests to a local IP address

Mango-Man asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-06

I have created a portable wireless network and server (Windows Server 2003) which members of the public can access.  They are given an IP address via DHCP from the server.  There is no internet access available through this system.

I would like any user that opens up a browser to be directed to the web server of our server.

Essentially I want to capture any DNS requests and rather than performing a query - I want to return the IP address of the server.

I'm hoping there will be a simple way to this using wildcards within the Windows DNS server setup?

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Top Expert 2008

are you talking about a walled garden scenario like for a wifi hotspot login page or something?

That is a job for the wireless access point device - not for windows DNS.

There are lots of solutions around for this - there is the popular freeware 'chillispot', and there is commercial systems like Mikrotik that can handle that sort of thing very well.

PowerShell Developer
Top Expert 2010


If it's nothing more complex than stated above we can certainly do that. But this will really mess things up if you need to use the same DNS server to resolve public requests.

1. Open DNS Manager
2. Expand Forward Lookup Zones
3. Right click and select New Zone
4. Type is Primary
5. Enter the Zone Name as . (just a dot, on its own). That makes the zone a Root Zone, responsible for everything.
6. It will give you a default file name, that can stay as it is
7. Disable Dynamic Updates if it asks

Then you need a Wildcard record to provide the answer:

1. Select the Root Zone (.).
2. Right click and add a New Host (A) Record
3. In Name enter *
4. Enter the IP address of the server you want to respond

That's it, on a connected client run "ipconfig /flushdns". NSLookup or Ping to any name should reply with the IP we've set above.



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Perfect - thanks!
Thanks Chris-Dent!  That works great but what if you want to only direct initial http req to a single splash page, then the wireless hotspot user can go wherever they want on the Internet.  Basically, I am trying to find a way to do this without changing multi-vendor firmware on about 20 disparate hotspots and use a DMZ DNS server to start the user on a splash page and then set them free from there.  Any ideas??
Chris DentPowerShell Developer
Top Expert 2010


Then you need to look beyond DNS at products built to do that for you I'm afraid.

It's something Cisco discuss in their documentation:


We won't be able to take that function away from the network layer though.

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