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If your company already has a DNS server, then there is no need to read this page – instead, see the Network Configuration page for information on how to set up your Linux system as a DNS client.

The domain name system is divided into zones (also called domains), each of which has a name like or au.

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Slave servers can request a copy of all the records in a zone at once by doing a zone transfer.

This is done a secondary DNS server when a zone is first added to it, and periodically when it detects that the zone has changed or the records in it have expired.

This is most often used for finding the hostname of a client that is connecting to a server, such as a webserver or SSH daemon.

DNS can also be used to look up the address of a mail server for a domain, and additional information about a host such as its location, operating system or owner.

A master server can also be configured to notify slaves when a zone changes so that they can perform a zone transfer immediately, ensuring that they are always up to date.

Every zone has a serial number, which is simply a counter that must be incremented each time any record in the zone is changed.

A normal system is only a DNS client, and never has to answer requests from servers.

Almost all companies, organizations and ISPs will already have one or more DNS servers on their network that all the other hosts can use.

Other types include the NS or name server record which specifies the DNS server for the zone or a sub-domain, and the MX or mail server record type which defines a host that should receive mail for the zone.

Every zone should have at least one secondary server in case the primary is down or un-contactable for some reason.

However, by far its most common application is converting hostnames to IP addresses.

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