Win 2k3 Server DNS - Offsite Website

compsol1993 used Ask the Experts™

We have several clients who have SBS 2003 servers, with names like

In order to properly find the mail server inside of the office, we've setup a DNS entry in the SBS servers DNS tool.  There are usually two Host entries there resolves internally, to the internal IP of the mail server.  The second is, which resolves to the external IP of the company's website.  

In each case the site is hosted offsite.  In the past, all we've dealt with are websites with dedicated IPs, and this has always worked.  Our latest server has a website hosted on a shared IP.  

Thus a client inside the network cannot reach the site, instead of going to the site, it does not find anything, in the same way it wouldn't find anything if I entered the "Shared IP" directly into my browser.

Is there something more I need to add to the Win 2k3 DNS tool aside from creating a host for "www"?  
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If I understand correctly, a client has a website hosted offsite on a server with other sites.  this usually means that the web server is using host headers to direct traffic to the correct directory.  Let's say that the domain is  If you have a record for and the web server does not have host headers set for WWW, you will not be able to see the site.

Try this:

Add a blank Host A record in the forward lookup zone that points to the web server address.  Then browse to only (without the WWW).  Let me know if that works.

If it does, you should ask the hosting company to configure host headers for www as well on the site.


Thanks for your input.

Unfortunately that doesn't work either.

To make sure nothing else was going on, I temporarily removed that Forward Lookup Zone from my DNS server, allowing the domain to resolve using our ISP's servers, and the site works fine.

Aside form the concept of host headers, what else would need to be done from our end.   I've double checked that I have the correct Shared Hosting IP.

After you added the blank A record, did you check on the machine where you were browinsg to make sure it was resolving correctly?  You can use the "nslookup" function form a command prompt to see how the domain is resolving from the client computer.

(Also, in the future, you can simply point a client machine to a DNS server on the outside without having to remove forward look up zones.  IN an Active Directory environment, you would never want to delete that forward zone).
DrDave242Principal Support Engineer
Assuming is the public domain name and not the internal (AD) domain name, is there a reason why you even need that extra forward lookup zone on the internal DNS server?  I mean, if it's working when the external server provides resolution, why not just remove that zone from the internal server and let the public server do its thing?

Of course, if is the internal domain name as well, that's obviously not going to work.


Well, the reason for the lookup zone was when people with smartphones were inside of the office, and connected to internal wifi,  they would lose their connection to the server, as the wasn't resolving inside.  

But you are correct, this is our public name, not the name of our internal domain or active directory.  

I'll have to setup a time to test with the nslookup, thanks for that input.

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