We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

iPad Safari won't use Small Business Server DNS

kfix used Ask the Experts™
Hi all, I have a number of iPhones and iPads that I would like to have access our SharePoint intranet running on MS Small Business Server 2003 SP2, which is also the primary DNS for DHCP devices on the LAN. The secondary DNS server is our Linux firewall.

When I try to browse to any of the servers on our LAN in iPad/iPhone Safari using the host name (with or without full domain name), I get a DNS "Name Error: The domain name does not exist" error message from the Linux box. But when I use other apps (tested with NetTools DNS/ping, iTap RDP, Air Sharing HD) they can all find the servers by hostname/domain name.

Safari will find any of our servers fine by using the IP address, but since our SharePoint site is hosted with a virtual hostname browsing to that server via IP address just gets you the standard "Welcome to SBS" site, not the SharePoint site.

Any ideas?
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®

have you tested it with other names to see if it is this specific dnslookup that fails or all lookups on your network?

I know the iphone has issues with Cname records (points to another name instead of an IP) so if you are using these you're going to struggle to fix it.
Also, the iphone/ipad doesnt failover to a second dns very well. Do you know why you get the error from the linux box as the secondary lookup instead of a message from the SBS srver running as the primary DNS?

probbaly worth turnign logging on so you can see what the iphone is requesting.


Hi tonto

All lookups on the locan network fail. Looking at the DNS logs shows that the NetTools DNS client was hitting the SBS primary DNS server, but Safari wasn't even trying. Further experimentation showed that if I turn off the HTTP Proxy setting for the Wi-Fi connection, Safari finds the internal site fine - so it wasn't a DNS issue, it was a proxy server issue.

Of course, the problem now is that I can't find a way to tell Safari to only use the proxy for external addresses, so I have to change the proxy setting to switch from internal to external sites (our proxy won't work for internal addresses).
So I worked out that the iPad does support .pac files, and set up a simple one to use the proxy for external sites and go direct for internal sites. All good now...