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TOPIC: NS vs DNS vs WINS on a DHCP server

NS vs DNS vs WINS on a DHCP server 15 years 4 months ago #1079

First of all: This site rocks!

Second: Can anybody tell me what the precise difference is between a "name server" and a DNS/WINS server. There should be a dfference, cause when you go to the setup of a DHCP server, you can set up a WINS/DSN and a NS server for your clients...

Thanx already,

Re: NS vs DNS vs WINS on a DHCP server 15 years 4 months ago #1082

  • tfs
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Actually, they are both named servers. DNS (Bind) converts domain (and I mean internet domains not Windows domains) to IP Addresses.

Wins converts Netbios names (Windows hosts names) to IP Addresses.

Here is a pretty good article on DNS and Wins.


DNS ver NS server 15 years 4 months ago #1171

Hai there,

Thanx for the help, but I think I need to rephrase my question:

What is the difference between a NS server and a DNS server?

When I go to my windows 2003 DHCP server, it let's me setup a WINS, NS and DNS server. Now I know perfectly the difference between WINS and DNS. And I also know how to use both of them. But what the **** is a NS server? Most of the sites say it is just a DNS server. But if that's true, why can I give my clients an DNS and a NS server?

I hope this makes things clear...

Thanx Already,

Re: NS vs DNS vs WINS on a DHCP server 15 years 4 months ago #1172

That really makes no sense... firstly, an 'NS server' sounds wierd becase the full form of NS is name server... think you could chuck us a screenshot as I'm not familiar with Windows 2003.

If its just a typo in the server config dialog box it'll be quite amusing..

Sahir Hidayatullah. Staff - Associate Editor & Security Advisor

Re: NS vs DNS vs WINS on a DHCP server 15 years 4 months ago #1174

  • Chris
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There is a lot of confusion regarding DNS and NameServers as both terms can be used interchangeably.

They are basically the same, but the naming (DNS or NameServer) helps us distinguish the role they play.

We use the term "DNS server" when the server contains all the information about the domain or when it is the first point of contact for everyone (the Internet) trying to obtain information about the domain.

If the domain is a complex one, containing multiple DNS servers, the other DNS servers are refered to as NameServers, indicating that they contain information that is specific for that part of the domain.

To explain, I'll use a small example.

Every active domain requires a DNS server.

Each DNS server contains information about that particular domain. This information includes, mail server, canonical names (aliases - e.g www) and most importantly the domains 2 Name Servers (primary and secondary).

When a domain has a simple structure, like's, then the DNS server in charge for the domain will also act as a NameServer for it, containing ALL information about the domain.

On the other hand, if the domain is quite complex, meaning it has subdomains, then the DNS server will most probably not contain all information for that domain, but a part of it. So it will be a name server for part of the domain.

Let's take a look at

[code:1] (Top Level)(*)
| (ns1, ns2)
/ \
/ \
/ \
/ \
(ns1, ns2) (ns1,ns2)

*=Zone 1 -
**=Zone 2 -
***=Zone 3 -

As you can see, in this example, microsoft's domain is split into 3 different partitions (the proper term is zone)

Each zone has its own Name Server(s) that contain information about it. This also helps distribute the load and also make it easier to manage.

Zone 1, the top level of the domain will have these mappings (I've used random IP's for illustrative purposes):
Primary NameServer for
Secondary NameServer for

Primary NameServer for
Secondary NameServer for

Primary NameServer for
Secondary NameServer for

From there on, each Zone's name server(s) will contain further information like www,ftp, mail or what ever else they might have.

This way, if you typed " " your query will firstly go to the DNS server, (either or

The DNS server will figure out you are referring to a zone within the domain that it doesn’t have much information about, and will then do one of the two following:

1) Contact the nameserver with your query and return the answer to you (this is called a recursive query)


2) The DNS server will tell you to go get it yourself by providing you the nameserver in charge of the zone (in this case, ns1 or ns2 (non-recursive query)

Your PC will then automatically ask the nameserver that was provided to it, which will then respond with the answer!

Confused ?

If yes, I wouldn't blame you. I'd suggest you read the DNS section covered on the site and then come back here and read my reply!
Chris Partsenidis.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Re: NS vs DNS vs WINS on a DHCP server 15 years 4 months ago #1178


I found something on the internet about the difference between a name server and a DNS server:

> " 005 Name Servers 031 Perform Router Discover "
> " 006 DNS Servers 032 Router Solicitation Address "

And for the screenshot, I don't have a ftp, but you can find the picture inside the mail on the following mail account o this server:

Thanx Already,
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