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What Is Authoritative Name Server?

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:
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:

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 =
ns2.nixcraft.net	internet address =
ns3.nixcraft.net	internet address =

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

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Patrick September 9, 2011, 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.

  • mebobj November 22, 2013, 8:28 am

    Yeah, I agree. Boycott GoDaddy!

  • pratik February 8, 2014, 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)

  • vicky November 11, 2015, 4:56 am

    when nameservers are set at the domain registrar, do these settings go directly to the root name servers for .com ?


  • nishat July 27, 2016, 6:52 am

    How does domain registrar knows ip of name server?
    we only provide name server url to domain registrar.

    ns1.xyz.com how domain registrar of xyz.com knows on which ip dns server resides.

  • Charles Yarbrough September 20, 2016, 4:26 pm

    So true, Godaddy is scamming business ran by a douche psycho. Check out Web Host Pro or any decent company that is even better as a service. They lock domains and charge convenience fees for bogus reasons forcing you to pay them to release your domain.

  • Sean Harrison November 20, 2017, 7:27 pm

    You’re a couple of idiots. Did you do any research, or did you just look at the pic circulating on FB? Try checking the facts.

  • vipan kumar November 22, 2017, 8:18 am


    could you please let me know Slave server and secondary DNS server both are same or not ???

    i am little bit confused here.

  • Dipankar Mitra November 24, 2017, 1:32 am


    My client is an ISP. They want to put authoritative DNS server at their premises so that they can register domain names including reverse dns of their clients as their clients are facing reverse DNS issues while sending e-mail.

    Please suggest how to proceed.

    Regards/Dipankar Mitra

  • Mr. DNS December 1, 2017, 1:22 pm


  • Julian January 22, 2018, 4:25 am

    the African elephant isn’t as endangered as you might think. There are populations that are endangered but not the species as a whole

  • Timothy Kersnick February 7, 2019, 12:54 am

    Leave it to a couple of liberal morons to bring politics into a technical discussion. It used to be that people cared about learning and that shared knowledge transcended all boundaries no matter your feelings or opinions on religion, race, politics, gender persuasion, etc. But the two completely brain-dead and functionally retarded persons that are concerned about GoDaddy’s CEO killing an elephant just goes to show they will never seriously contribute to society in a meaningful way; let alone advancing technology.

  • Gerard F Barlow October 15, 2020, 6:14 pm

    Hello, I would like to ask for some assistance fixing this problem with my DNS. I wasn’t aware that godaddy was a temporary server. Well, that’s what I understood when I read this site. Could be in accurate. Would you please clarify? I would really appreciate your assistance.

  • C February 9, 2021, 4:33 pm

    I could care less if the CEO of GoDaddy kills an elephant.
    But I will be NO PARTY of the company that shutdown Gab.com for political reasons.
    I have websites that are political in nature and will not subject my web presence to a company that will arbitrarily and capriciously shut me down.

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