How to select the best Internal domain name for a new company network?

devshed used Ask the Experts™

I have the task to come up with a proper domain name for our company asap.

We need to build an internal network for our small company (5-10 users), consisting of two Domain Controllers, each running Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition, as well as an application server running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition (it will run a number of Virtual Machines, i.e. a SharePoint installation, an MS SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition, etc).

We currently use MS Outlook 2007 to access all our POP3 e-mail accounts and we wish to install MS Exchange 2007 to receive the POP3 e-mails centrally and then have them distributed to their respective internal users. In addition, it is expected that mobile users will/could use Outlook Web Access to view their e-mails.

Furthermore, we want to setup a VOIP solution, using a PATTON VOIP gateway appliance to route calls to/from company users and the outside world.

Last but not least, we plan to install a VPN solution at the office for remote users to be able to connect securely and use internal network resources (internal web applications, e-mail, etc).

Although the company will mainly be a Microsoft-based network, however, it is anticipated that a few Apple computers will need to connect in the near future.

The two Domain Controllers will have Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) with DNS setup and there will be a replication process between them, so in case any of them goes down, the other server would be able to carry the load and support the internal network.

We have registered an internet domain name ( to advertise the our company services. My problem is that I do NOT know what to name our internal domain, so as to be able to utilise the abovementioned services/applications, is easy to use for everyday needs (i.e. users logging to workstations, servers, etc) and still not have problems with DNS down the road.

Should it be mydomainname.local ??? (I have read various articles that mention this is not a very good idea, especially if we plan to use Apple computers in the internal network / domain)

Should it be ??? (do we have to register the subdomain name with our ISP?)

What would happen when our users connect to our internal network?  Will they have to supply a long domain name \ username, i.e.\myusername  to logon to various workstations/servers ???  We would prefer a user to be able to logon as mydomainname\myusername, however, I am NOT sure how to do this.

Thank you for any help.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

1.  Why aren't you considering Small Business Server - it's perfect for a business of your size wanting to utilize Exchange.

2.  EARLY versions of OS X had issues with .local domain names.  If you use a Mac OS X version 10.3 or later, that should not be a problem.  Nevertheless, if you want to be safe, use .lcl (that's what I do).  Frankly, you can setup the domain to be whatever you want, but in general, it's best to use a domain name that you cannot (currently) use on the internet.  It helps ensure you don't have DNS issues.

3. When you supply a domain name, you supply both a netbios domain name (typically "mydomain") and a dns domain name (typically "mydomain.lcl") - your users should be able to log in with both.

Frankly, with questions like these I would strongly recommend you contact a consultant to do your initial implementation.  At the very least, do some testing and learn how this works.  It's always unwise to setup a production network without experience.  Getting it right the first time is important and will save a lot more money in the long run.


Hi leew,

Actually, it was the consultant that asked me what the internal domain name should be, so I thought I should ask people here based on what we need to achieve now and in the near future.

So, are you saying that I should respond to them that the domain name should be mydomainname.lcl as opposed to, say ?

I will not have any issues later on when I am going to implement MS Exchange 2007, VOIP, VPN and the like?
nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.

Do not use .local as I agree with leew here.

Use .private instead or or corp.domain.private and definitely contact a different consultant.
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Hi leew, nappy_d

The thing is that I would like to setup a couple of internal websites within my internal network in the near future, such as,, etc.

I noticed that if I try to use or (or <anything> for that matter), my web browser redirects me to my ISP's website displaying a customised 404 Error page stating "The page you requested no longer exists or is temporarily unavailable". Of course, I have NOT registered any of these names (sub-domain names).

My question is this:

If I choose to use mydomainname.lcl or mydomainname.private, will I be able to host custom websites in my internal network using names such as,, etc?, or my websites will have to have names such as portal.mydomainname.lcl or portal.mydomainname.private ???

What is the difference between corp.mydomainname.lcl  and  mydomainname.lcl ??? It seems to me that I just need to type more stuff with corp.mydomainname.lcl, right ???

Please respond.
There are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.
You then need to setup what is known as split brain DNS...

Anything that is subdomain of "" will be sent to your public domain registrar.

You will need to setup an internal and private DNS for interanlly hosted sites and then leave the other as it.

As we have suggested do not use .local  Simply use your existing domain name as such or or  BUT DO NOT END IT WITH .LOCAL

I assume you have OD or AD setup internally already


Hi nappy_d,

So, if I go down the route of having, I should ask the consultant to setup a split brain DNS, whereas for specific internal websites (i.e.,, my internal DNS servers will serve such requests, however, for any other subdomain not listed on my internal DNS servers, or the company website, the internal DNS servers will forward the requests to my ISP's DNS servers, right ?

The consultant will install Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and DNS server on *each* of the domain controllers. What is OD ?

Thank you for your help and patience with my questions!
nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.

That is correct.  OD is Open Directory.  Sorry, I had Apple OS on my brain when typing.

Here is a link for some great information on Split Brain DNS

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