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BIND DNS - Do I Need It?

Posted on 2009-07-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-07

I'm setting up a remote Apache webserver from scratch and I'm a bit confused about what role DNS plays on a webserver. I have a rudimentary understanding of how the DNS system works but I must be confused somewhere along the line.

1. On my PC I believe that the DNS settings I enter when I setup my broadband service tell my PC where to go to resolve domain names. Is this correct?

2. When I setup a URL it has a DNS control panel where I can set up my name servers and A/C/MX records. This server then communicates with the "Big 14" and tells them where my domain is located. Eventually my ISP's name servers get the info and when I type the url into my browser my PC goes to my allocated name servers and resolves the IP. Is this correct?

3. What does the DNS on an apache webserver do? Is it replacing the one described above (ie 2) or is it working like the PC DNS settings described above (ie 1) or is it doing something else?

Kind Regards,

Question by:lwfuk
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LVL 30

Accepted Solution

Kerem ERSOY earned 1000 total points
ID: 24842759
1) Yeah this is correct your DNS settings are the nameservers which could do recursive queries and could return an IP address resolved from the name you specify. This a a use of DNS in which it queries other name servers and returns back the resolved IP

2) When you setup a DOMAIN it has its DNS infromation. These DNS servers are responsible to memorizing what host occuies what IP address and responds to queries from other name servers. This is another function of DNS servers. In this case it wont respond to cliensts aking it any name but it will only respond to queries for specific names for the domains it is authorized for. So your ISP's nameserver gets the info and asks the "big 14" about your TLD server (such as .com, .uk, .tr). Then contacts the TLD (anc asks about the second level doman DNS (such as .example.com, co.uk, edu.tr). Then it contacts the second level server such as (www.example.com, comapny.co.uk, metu.edu.tr)
If it is all then gets the IP 1nfo and returns the result to you. If not goes further till it gets the response for initial request and returns the address for the query. This operation is called Recursion. Or Reqursive queries. So the info from the DNS is used your browser to make a connection to the IP adress HTTP port (80).

3) The DNS server responding to send your www.example.com is the DNS server responsible for serving queries about the IP names  for the  hosts located in your domain. HTTP server does not have a separate DNS. But for someone to find it the IP address it listens to must be registered to at least one authoritative domain server.

All in all the DNS server in 1 is just running as client and getting results from authoritative servers and serving the clients about this info. But the one in 2 is serving the data it is authoritative for.  Of course a DNS server can do both at the same time. It can server the data it is authoritative for while it runs recursive queries for the internal clients (XP or Linux PC's with DNS server setting pointing to it)
LVL 21

Assisted Solution

by:Julian Matz
Julian Matz earned 1000 total points
ID: 24842762
Hi lwfuk,

No, you do not need a DNS server like Bind on your web server. This is only needed if you actually want it handling DNS requests.

When you register a domain, you need to assign it a minimum of 2 nameserver addresses. These 2 nameservers should ideally be dispersed in different geographic locations. When someone makes a request for the domain, first the root registry is contacted, the registry then returns the list of nameservers, and a request is made to those nameservers, which in turn provide the A records, which tell the browser what IP address to go to. MX and CNAME records are returned by your nameservers also, along with others (SOA, PTR, etc. etc.)

You would install Bind if you wanted to use your remote machine as one of these dispersed nameservers - for primary or secondary DNS.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31602948
Many thanks chaps.

Things are a lot more clear now.

Kind Regards,

Adrian Smith

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