DNS or Domain Name System is the basic requirement of any kind of network. DNS works in client-server mode, where DNS client may call a computer or domain name string, and DNS server will help the client to perform name-to-IP address mapping so further TCP/IP actions can be performed by the client. Without DNS server, the client has to call the IP address directly instead of the name string. Windows has since long time ago supports the DNS server function and of course we can Install DNS Server Role in Windows Server 2012 R2.
How to Install DNS Server Role in Windows Server 2012 R2
In Windows Server environment, DNS Server role can be installed together or separated with the Active Directory Domain Services. To install a separated DNS Server role in Windows Server 2012 R2, we can either use Server Manager console or PowerShell cmdlets.
DNS Server role installation using Server Manager console
The steps to locally install DNS server role in Windows Server 2012 R2 using Server Manager console are shown below:
1. Open Server Manager console and select Manage > Add Roles and Features.
2. Select Role-based or feature-based installation and click the Next button
3. On the server pool selection, ensure to the local server is selected, then click Next.
4. On the server roles selection, tick the checkbox for DNS Server role.
When you tick the DNS Server checkbox, a prompt to install the DNS Server Tools will be shown. You can tick the checkbox to Include management tools (if applicable) then click the Add Features button.
5. On the features selection, click Next directly if you have added the feature on the previous step. Otherwise you make the feature selection in here.
6. Read the summary about DNS Server role if you want then click Next to continue.
7. Confirm the installation summary then click Install button to proceed. Note that DNS Server role installation does not need server restart by default but if you want you can choose to tick the checkbox to Restart the destination server automatically if required.
8. The progress bar showing the DNS Server role installation will start, click Finish when it is completed.
9. When succeeded, you will see the DNS role status in the Server Manager. You can also see the DNS menu under Tools option in the Server Manager if you install the DNS Server Tools previously.
DNS Server role installation using PowerShell cmdlets
It’s very easy to install DNS Server role using PowerShell cmdlets and the step is straightforward. Simply run the command below in an elevated PowerShell window in the local server:
Install-WindowsFeature -Name DNS
The following screenshots shows how it’s done on the server:
If you want to include the DNS Server Tools as well, you can use this command instead:
Install-WindowsFeature -Name DNS,RSAT-DNS-Server
At the end, the result will be the same as installation done by the Server Manager console.
Using DNS Manager to Configure DNS Zones
After finishing the DNS Server role and the DNS Server Tools installation (either by using Server Manager or PowerShell), you can open Server Manager and go to Tools > DNS to open up the DNS Manager. On the left side of the window, you can see the server name where DNS Server role is being installed, in this case it is the local server itself. On the right side of the window, you can see the configuration items for the DNS such as zones, forwarder, etc.
The Windows DNS Server supports both Forward Lookup Zones and Reverse Lookup Zones (forward lookup means mapping a name string to IP address, while reverse lookup means mapping IP address to a name string). If you correctly follow all the steps to install DNS Server role in Windows Server 2012 R2 and everything goes the right way, you would be able to see and configure the zones in the DNS Manager.