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epichero22Flag for United States of America

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How does DNS work on a LAN w/no server?

We have a single server with a static IP address that acts as a file server.  No DNS, no DHCP.  We have a DLink DIR-655 router as well that does the DHCP.  All the other clients have dynamic IP.

When pinging the server by IP address, there's a response.  When pinging or trying to reach it by hostname, there isn't a response.  All the dynamic clients are working with both their hostnames and IP addresses.

Manually entering in an entry to the host file of a client alleviates the problem of reaching the server via hostname, but any idea why the computer suddenly can't be reached by hostname?  I thought it was the router.  Isn't my router supposed to have a cache for local DNS?
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John
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A D-Link is a simple consumer router and you do not have DNS working on your server. So you have no option here but to use the HOSTS file to use hostnames. Your D-Link (and most entry level routers) won't do this.

.... Thinkpads_User
If your server is not a domain server, make sure everything is on the same workgroup. Also make sure the server is on the same subnet (it should be).

It occurs to me that if your server *is* a domain server, then you should be able to access it by hostname.

... Thinkpads_User
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Well it worked for several months, then two weeks ago, all the clients couldn't reach the server.  So yes, I updated the Host file, and it worked.

I thought the router managed DNS.  Other host names work when you ping them.  What's up with that?
Perhaps do a TCP/IP repair on your server. Look up Microsoft Support for your particular server for TCP/IP repair and follow the steps.

Also, simply restarting the server may make it accessible again.

The router is managing external DNS and I don't think that has any effect here.

.... Thinkpads_User
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bfason
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Every home based router runs DHCP and DNS by default. You wouldn't be able to access any website without DNS.

To answer your question; you were using DNS assigned to your router by your ISP. DHCP normally would update DNS entries using dynamically. The router also pulls a DNS suffix from your ISP eg (hsd1.ca.comcast.net.)

Check the domain name on your router. Also run ipconfig /all on any workstation and see what the primary DNS suffix is.

Your server most likely is using a FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) eg. if the dns suffix is "hsd1.ca.comcast.net" and your server host name is epichero22, then the FQDN of your server would be epichero22.hsd1.ca.comcast.net..

That most likely is what the router has for your server in its table. Editing LMHost files (LAN Manager Hosts files)  simply bypasses DNS name look up for that entry. Computers check their host files before querying a DNS server.

Hope that helps
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Corrections:   Ignore - "use try" in second sentence.  When accessing the file server....

Sorry, for some of the typos created by me an my iPhone.

bus = via  ...when talking about DNS and DDNS