What Is Authoritative Name Server?

by Mr. DNS on August 17, 2009 · 3 comments

in whatis

An authoritative name server provides actual answer to your DNS queries such as – mail server IP address or web site IP address (A resource record). It provides original and definitive answers to DNS queries. It does not provides just cached answers that were obtained from another name server. Therefore it only returns answers to queries about domain names that are installed in its configuration system. There are two types of Authoritative Name Servers:

  1. Master server (primary name server) – A master server stores the original master copies of all zone records. A hostmaster only make changes to master server zone records. Each slave server gets updates via special automatic updating mechanism of the DNS protocol. All slave servers maintain an identical copy of the master records.
  2. Slave server (secondary name server) – A slave server is exact replica of master server. It is used to share DNS server load and to improve DNS zone availability in case master server fails. It is recommend that you should at least have 2 slave servers and one master server for each domain name.

How Do I View Authoritative Name Server Names and IP Address?

The multiple name servers make sure that the domain still functional even if one name server becomes inaccessible or inoperable due to security or overloading issues. On the internet each domain name assigned a set of authoritative name servers. You can find out authoritative name servers by typing the following command at shell prompt (works with UNIX / Linux and Mac OS X):
host -t ns dnsknowledge.com
Sample Outputs:

dnsknowledge.com name server ns2.nixcraft.net.
dnsknowledge.com name server ns3.nixcraft.net.
dnsknowledge.com name server ns1.nixcraft.net.

You can also use nslookup command under MS-Windows or UNIX like operating systems. Type the command:
nslookup
Now set query type to ns at > prompt:
> set query=ns
Now enter domain name such as google.com or dnsknowledge.com:
> dnsknowledge.com
Sample Outputs:

Server:		127.0.0.1
Address:	127.0.0.1#53
Non-authoritative answer:
dnsknowledge.com	nameserver = ns3.nixcraft.net.
dnsknowledge.com	nameserver = ns2.nixcraft.net.
dnsknowledge.com	nameserver = ns1.nixcraft.net.
Authoritative answers can be found from:
ns1.nixcraft.net	internet address = 208.43.138.52
ns2.nixcraft.net	internet address = 75.126.168.152
ns3.nixcraft.net	internet address = 208.43.78.162
> 

How Do I Register Authoritative Name Server?

  1. First, you need to register a domain name with your domain name registrar.
  2. Each domain name registrar allows you to set a primary name server (master server) and at least one secondary name server (slave server).

For example, DNSKnowledge.com domain name is registered with GoDaddy domain name registrar. GoDaddy (or any other domain name registrar) allows you to change the DNS authoritative name server at the time of registration or later any time.

Fig.01: Setting Up Authoritative DNS Name Server

Fig.01: Setting Up Authoritative DNS Name Server

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Patrick September 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Thank you for a helpful tut… I knew about dig and nslookup, but not host with the -t flag.

I just wanted to suggest not using GoDaddy any longer is your tuts… now that the owner has posted a video of himself proudly shooting and endangered animal, and elephant, in Africa I’m not using him any longer. In addition, he’s on record for violating some basic DNS rules to make money. So I don’t think we should use him any more.

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mebobj November 22, 2013 at 8:28 am

Yeah, I agree. Boycott GoDaddy!

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pratik February 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I still confused with name server,dedicated I.P address(which is provide by hosting company) and domain name or website I.P address.I want to understand what godaddy do & how they that(just overview).I want to know that if my hosting provider suspended my account, can I restart my website by changing my new name server from domain name service provider without losing SEO importances(in this case I have different company for domain name and hosting and I have my backup files)

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