Windows 2012 Essentials DHCP & DNS configuration

I have just deployed a Win 2012 Server Essentials in a small network of about 15 workstations.
Out of the box, it came pre-configured with some common roles and features.
This greatly helped in a quick and smooth deployment.
I work on the principal that if it is not broken, don't fix it.
However, I am bugged by 2 issues for which I would welcome some experts' comments and advice.

1. DHCP server
Default installation comes without DHCP enabled.
Microsoft probably thought that this is non-essential inspite of the server being a domain controller.
I have left it at that, with client computers getting the IPs from a router.
It's working. Should I leave this alone?

2. DNS server
Not surprisingly, it comes enabled.
Clients computers all point to the server for authoritative DNS names resolution.
The server to itself (
Again this seems to be working (although I suspect that computers take a little longer to resolve external host names when browsing on the internet).
Should I add the ISP DNS server IPs as forwarders?
Or should I just leave it to just use root hints?
Would users have a speedier browsing experience?
Or in time, would the server DNS cache build up to such an extent that it will not make any significant difference?

There seems to be a lot of questions. But essentially, it is whether I should let sleeping dogs lie?

Thanks, Experts.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
1 Fine
2. I would add google public dns /
you may want to run the dns speedtest
1) One reason you may want to move it onto the server is if you connect to any of the DHCP clients by hostname. The Windows DHCP service can be set to dynamically update the DNS server's records for each client. This can be useful if you need to remotely control or ping a user's workstation, it's generally a lot easier for a user to tell you their workstation's hostname rather than it's IP.

The server to itself (
Best practice is to set the server's NIC DNS settings to it's own private IP address, then another AD DNS server if available and then loopback. If this is the only DNS server on the network, change the primary DNS server to the server's private IP address ( for example) and then loopback (
Should I add the ISP DNS server IPs as forwarders?
Yes, adding forwarders should significantly speed up the DNS lookup process for your workstations (therefore speeding up the browser experience), as forwarding queries is generally much quicker than resolving via root hints.
Or in time, would the server DNS cache build up to such an extent that it will not make any significant difference?
Bare in mind this cache can expire fairly quickly. Although it will build up over time, it will also deteriorate over time requiring further DNS lookups.
garychuAuthor Commented:
Very interesting and useful feedbacks, Experts.
I will benchmark the dns speed before and after implementing forwarders.
Meanwhile, what and how loopback to implemented?
The server is the not the only DNS server on the network, counting the modem-router as well.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
the modem/router is NOT a DNS server.  it is only a modem/router and a dhcp server it calls other dns servers.

how loopback to implemented  It is part of the networking stack.. Don't worry about it.

1. DHCP server Default installation comes without DHCP enabled.  My philosophy is, don't fix what is not broken.  In your environment it is not a 'required' item.   Forwarders vs root hints (I had problems with some root-hints servers so I classified it as being broken) so I added them.

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garychuAuthor Commented:
Very impressed by the prompt, concise and to the point answers.
As a result, I am now confident enough to
1) Leave DHCP setting as is.
2) Add forwarders to the DNS server configuration.

Thank you, Experts.
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Windows Server 2012

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