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2004/12/30 dns

Some material is very old and may be incorrect today

© December 2004 Tony Lawrence

Domain Name Service: how names like www.xyz.com are translated to ip addresses so that your packets and theirs can find one another.

For many of us, DNS is simple. If we are using DHCP, we may get everything we need for DNS from the dhcp server. Even if not, all it may take is a simple resolv.conf file pointing at a DNS server. Windows users not using dhcp just stick server info into their network tcp/ip configuration tool.

But DNS can be much darker and more complicated. There are several files that must be set up, with seemingly arbitrary and ill-documented rules. Whole books have been written on how to configure these files. This is so because DNS does have to do a lot at the high end where companies have multiple domains, multiple lan segments, and redundant servers. But what of the in-between folks, those who need more than just pointing at another server, but aren't United Mega-Corp?

Well, there are less complicated DNS servers. For example, "tinydns" is a simple DNS server, part of Dan Bernsteins djbdns package http://cr.yp.to/djbdns.html

Tinydns is certainly easier than Bind, as Dan demonstrates at http://cr.yp.to/djbdns/blurb/easeofuse.html, but I have yet to see a DNS implementation that is as simple as it should be.

Why should a human being have to create all the complicated files that Bind or even tinydns need? Actually there are tools available to simplify that. http://www.dns.net/dnsrd/tools.html lists quite a few. Here are two that just read from /etc/hosts:


I guess you can't get much easier than that.

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Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Photos for Mac: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Numbers

Photos: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Pages

Digital Sharing Crash Course

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