Tuesday, February 8, 2011

DNS Tutorial

Introduction to DNS

DNS Domains

Everyone in the world has a first name and a last, or family, name. The same thing is true in the DNS world: A family of Web sites can be loosely described a domain. For example, the domain pankaj-pal3008.blogspot.com  has a number of children, such as www.pankaj-pal3008.blogspot.com and mail.pankaj-pal3008.blogspot.com for the Web and mail servers, respectively.


BIND is an acronym for the Berkeley Internet Name Domain project, which is a group that maintains the DNS-related software suite that runs under Linux.

DNS Clients

A DNS client doesn't store DNS information; it must always refer to a DNS server to get it. The only DNS configuration file for a DNS client is the /etc/resolv.conf file, which defines the IP address of the DNS server it should use.

Authoritative DNS Servers

Authoritative servers provide the definitive information for your DNS domain, such as the names of servers and Web sites in it. They are the last word in information related to your domain.

How DNS Servers Find Out Your Site Information

There are 13 root authoritative DNS servers (super duper authorities) that all DNS servers query first. These root servers know all the authoritative DNS servers for all the main domains - .com, .net, and the rest. This layer of servers keep track of all the DNS servers that Web site systems administrators have assigned for their sub domains.
For example, when you register your domain my-site.com, you are actually inserting a record on the .com DNS servers that point to the authoritative DNS servers you assigned for your domain.

When To Use A DNS Caching Name Server

Most servers don’t ask authoritative servers for DNS directly, they usually ask a caching DNS server to do it on their behalf. These servers, through a process called recursion, sequentially query the authoritative servers at the root, main domain and sub domain levels to get eventually get the specific information requested. The most frequently requested information is then stored (or cached) to reduce the lookup overhead of subsequent queries.
If you want to advertise your Web site www.my-site.com to the rest of the world, then a regular DNS server is what you require. Setting up a caching DNS server is fairly straightforward and works whether or not your ISP provides you with a static or dynamic Internet IP address.
After you set up your caching DNS server, you must configure each of your home network PCs to use it as their DNS server. If your home PCs get their IP addresses using DHCP, then you have to configure your DHCP server to make it aware of the IP address of your new DNS server, so that the DHCP server can advertise the DNS server to its PC clients. Off-the-shelf router/firewall appliances used in most home networks usually can act as both the caching DNS and DHCP server, rendering a separate DNS server is unnecessary.

Basic DNS Testing of DNS Resolution

As you know, DNS resolution maps a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), such as www.pankaj-pal3008.blogspot.com, to an IP address. This is also known as a forward lookup. The reverse is also true: By performing a reverse lookup, DNS can determining the fully qualified domain name associated with an IP address.
Many different Web sites can map to a single IP address, but the reverse isn't true; an IP address can map to only one FQDN. This means that forward and reverse entries frequently don't match. The reverse DNS entries are usually the responsibility of the ISP hosting your site, so it is quite common for the reverse lookup to resolve to the ISP's domain. This isn't an important factor for most small sites, but some e-commerce applications require matching entries to operate correctly.
There are a number of commands you can use do these lookups. Linux uses the host command, for example, but Windows uses nslookup.

The Host Command

The host command accepts arguments that are either the fully qualified domain name or the IP address of the server when providing results. To perform a forward lookup, use the syntax:
host www.pankaj-pal3008.blogspot.com
www.pankaj-pal3008.blogspot.com has address
To perform a reverse lookup
host domain name pointer 65-115-71-34.myisp.net.
As you can see, the forward and reverse entries don't match. The reverse entry matches the entry of the ISP.

The nslookup Command

The nslookup command provides the same results on Windows PCs. To perform forward lookup, use.
C:\> nslookup www.linuxhomenetworking.com
Server:  192-168-1-200.my-site.com

Non-authoritative answer:
Name:    www.pankaj-pal3008.blogspot.com.com

To perform a reverse lookup
C:\> nslookup
Server:  192-168-1-200.my-site.com

Name:    65-115-71-34.my-isp.com


The SOA Record

The first resource record is the Start of Authority (SOA) record, which contains general administrative and control information about the domain. It has the format:
Name Class Type Name-Server Email-Address Serial-No Refresh Retry Expiry Minimum-TTL
The record can be long, and will sometimes wrap around on your screen. For the sake of formatting, you can insert new line characters between the fields as long as you insert parenthesis at the beginning and end of the insertion to alert BIND that part of the record will straddle multiple lines. You can also add comments to the end of each new line separated by a semicolon when you do this. Here is an example:
@ IN SOA ns1.my-site.com. hostmaster.my-site.com. ( 2004100801  ; serial # 4H  ; refresh 1H  ; retry 1W  ; expiry 1D )  ; minimum

The SOA Record Format

Field Description
Name The root name of the zone. The “@” sign is a shorthand reference to the current origin (zone) in the /etc/named.conf file for that particular database file.
Class There are a number of different DNS classes. Home/SOHO will be limited to the IN or Internet class used when defining IP address mapping information for BIND. Other classes exist for non Internet protocols and functions but are very rarely used.
Type The type of DNS resource record. In the example, this is an SOA resource record. Other types of records exist, which I’ll cover later.
Name-server Fully qualified name of your primary name server. Must be followed by a period.
Email-address The e-mail address of the name server administrator. The regular @ in the e-mail address must be replaced with a period instead. The e-mail address must also be followed by a period.
Serial-no A serial number for the current configuration. You can use the date format YYYYMMDD with an incremented single digit number tagged to the end. This will allow you to do multiple edits each day with a serial number that both increments and reflects the date on which the change was made.
Refresh Tells the slave DNS server how often it should check the master DNS server. Slaves aren’t usually used in home / SOHO environments.
Retry The slave’s retry interval to connect the master in the event of a connection failure. Slaves aren’t usually used in home / SOHO environments.
Expiry Total amount of time a slave should retry to contact the master before expiring the data it contains. Future references will be directed towards the root servers. Slaves aren’t usually used in home/SOHO environments.
Minimum-TTL There are times when remote clients will make queries for subdomains that don’t exist. Your DNS server will respond with a no domain or NXDOMAIN response that the remote client caches. This value defines the caching duration your DNS includes in this response.
So in the example, the primary name server is defined as ns1.my-site.com with a contact e-mail address of hostmaster@my-site.com. The serial number is 2004100801 with refresh, retry, expiry, and minimum values of 4 hours, 1 hour, 1 week, and 1 day, respectively.

NS, MX, A And CNAME Records

Like the SOA record, the NS, MX, A, PTR and CNAME records each occupy a single line with a very similar general format. Table 18.5 outlines the way they are laid out.

NS, MX, A, PTR and CNAME Record Formats

Record Type Name Field Class Field2 Type Field Data Field
NS Usually blank1 IN NS IP address or CNAME of the name server
MX Domain to be used for mail. Usually the same as the domain of the zone file itself. IN MX Mail server DNS name
A Name of a server in the domain IN A IP address of server
CNAME Server name alias IN CNAME "A" record name for the server
PTR Last octet of server’s IP address IN PTR Fully qualified server name
  1. If the search key to a DNS resource record is blank it reuses the search key from the previous record which in this case of is the SOA @ sign.
  2. For most home / SOHO scenarios, the Class field will always be IN or Internet. You should also be aware that IN is the default Class, and BIND will assume a record is of this type unless otherwise stated.
If you don't put a period at the end of a host name in a SOA, NS, A, or CNAME record, BIND will automatically tack on the zone file's domain name to the name of the host. So, BIND assumes an A record with www refers to www.my-site.com. This may be acceptable in most cases, but if you forget to put the period after the domain in the MX record for my-site.com, BIND attaches the my-site.com at the end, and you will find your mail server accepting mail only for the domain my-site.com.mysite.com.

TXT Records

There is also a less frequently used DNS TXT record that can be configured to contain additional generic information. The data section of the record typically has the format "name=value", where "name" is the name to be given to the type of data, and "value" is the value assigned to the name as seen in this example.
my-web-site.org. TXT "v=spf1 -all"

Note that this document comes without warranty of any kind. But every effort has been made to provide the information as accurate as possible. I welcome emails from any readers with comments, suggestions, and corrections at webmaster_at admin@linuxhowto.in

Copyright © 2012 LINUXHOWTO.IN


  1. Hello sir thank you for this valuable information as you condemn one and we hope you see owr blogs

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