1. Before you Begin

Make sure that you have the following information decided.

  • The name of your domain. See the Selecting a Name below.
  • The names and IP addresses of the servers that will run the DNS service. Generally these will be your domain controllers; it's preferable to have two or more if you can. Similar rules for server NetBIOS names apply as for domain names.

1.1. Selecting a Name

The first thing that you need to do is to choose a name (or names) for your domain(s).

For this option to work, you must use a name that doesn't exist in the public DNS (in the whole world) and is never likely to exist (or if it ever does, it will belong to your unit).

There are two main ways to do this.
  • use a subdomain of your DNS name (e.g. oucs-ad.oucs.ox.ac.uk)
  • Use a subdomain of a top level domain that isn't registered and is never likely to be (.local is a popular choice, e.g. oucs-ad.local); the other candidate is .internal.

The former is strongly recommended by Microsoft. Using the latter might cause problems for Bonjour which also uses .local (it's unknown how likely this is, but bear in mind that Bonjour is no longer just a Mac package; Adobe CS3 installs it, for example). The latter may also be a problem if you need to obtain certificates and you don't have your own certificate authority.

We would recommend using the former if you can, but if you are already successfully using a .local domain (as some units are), this configuration will usually work fine. When considering which name to choose, also bear in mind the following.

  • Do not use any made-up top level domain names apart from .local or .internal as these cause unnecessary traffic for the root name servers.
  • Do not make up a new subdomain of ox.ac.uk as this might be registered as a real subdomain in the future.
  • If you are using the central WINS service also make sure the first part of the name (oucs-ad in the example above) isn't going to clash with another unit's choice of name (either domain or server or client in fact). In other words, include some part of your unit name to make it unique. If you don't use the central WINS service you only need to ensure that the name is unique within your unit.
  • If you use a subdomain of your existing domain, make sure that the name you choose is not, and will never be registered as a hostname in the central DNS, or you may cause name resolution problems.

If you need more than one domain you can pick another subdomain (e.g. oucs-ad2.oucs.ox.ac.uk) or you could make a tree, e.g. use oucs-ad.oucs.ox.ac.uk and oucs-ad2.oucs-ad.ox.ac.uk. Again, take care if using the central WINS service.

For further information refer to the Background section.

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