5 Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using DNS In Networking

A DNS server usually refers to a computer server which contains all the database of public IP addresses and their associated host names (You can find more information about DNS servers here). This hierarchical naming system makes it easier for users to access other devices or computers on the same network or access sites on the internet.

Generally, DNS server management, hold the whole internet as it is and has been touted as one of the most significant discoveries that has driven the world wide web for over three decades.

DNS has a number of advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of them.

Advantages

  1. Generally DNS is the only system in the entire world that can help you browse the internet. With the internet becoming an integral part of the society, it has increasingly become important that DNS Servers remain maintained. Without them, then the internet would not exist.
  2. No need for memorizing IP addresses -DNS servers provide a nifty solution of converting domain or sub domain names to IP addresses. Imagine how it would feel having to memorize the IP addresses of twitter, Facebook, Google or any other site that you normally frequent on a daily basis. It would definitely be horrific. Its system also makes it easy for search engines to be able to categorize and archive information.
  3. Security enhancement -DNS servers are an important component for the security of your home or work connections. DNS servers that have been designed for security purposes usually ensure that attempts to hack your server environment are thwarted before entry into your machines. However, it’s important to note that the word used is enhanced. This means that you will need other security measures put in place to protect your data, especially if it’s a large organization with tons of sensitive data.
  4. DNS servers have fast internet connections -People and organizations that use DNS servers can be able to take advantage of high connection speeds that are a key feature in some of these servers.

DNS servers also have primary and secondary connections. This allows you to have internet uptime even when one of the servers is down for maintenance.

Disadvantages

  1. One of the main disadvantages of the DNS is the fact that its registry can only be controlled ICANN, a non-profit organisation with roots tied in one country. This challenges the concept of net neutrality and has been a widely propagated argument over the last three decades.
  2. DNS queries usually don’t carry any information about the clients who initiated it. This is one of the reasons why DNS has been popular among hackers. This is because the server side will only see the IP address from where the query came from and which can at times be manipulated by hackers.
  3. DNS servers are based on the principle of a slave-master relationship. This means that if the master server is broken or manipulated in any way, then it will be hard to access the web page or database that was hosted on the server. Hackers have also used this to their advantage. By targeting the server machine and making redirects to other pages, they have been able to find ways of phishing information.

Popular Misconceptions About DNS

Many people and businesses are increasingly becoming aware of the huge role that DNS plays when it comes to web security. However, the main problem with DNS servers is the lack of proper information about it. Many people get information about DNS security from vendors who are trying to sell them their services.

As a result, this has led to a number of misconceptions which are still regarded as truths by some people.

Here are 3 popular misconceptions about DNS that you should shun from.

DNS Proactively Protects My Entire IT Environment And Detects Incoming Threats

We list this as a misconception because DNS servers can only protect your IT environment from external attacks that are being propagated via your DNS server. Whenever hackers realise that are facing a challenge while trying to access your environment via DNS, they usually resort to the use of IP addresses. DNS can’t be able to detect this. This means that they can use malicious code directly through your IP address without being bogged down by your DNS’s security.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should not trust DNS servers for your work environment. Most hacking attempts occur via DNS servers. This means that securing your DNS server should still remain as a priority (especially for businesses). You should also make use of other alternate technologies like Unified Threat Management (UTM) as well as proxy level filtering to secure your entire IT environment.

Higher Number Of Queries Served Out Equals To A High Performing DNS Server

Many people also assume that the number of queries that a DNS server can serve out is an indication of how safe and secure it is and that it will virtually protect you from having any down times on your server. The reality is that, any malicious person who wants to bog down your DNS server can do so by serving out millions of queries to your DNS which will saturate your bitpipe (regardless of the number of queries that your DNS server can serve out).

Note: Realistically, it’s hard to get such high numbers of queries remotely.

This means that you don’t need to look for DNS servers that perform a high number of queries per second. Even large service providers don’t get as much as 50,000 queries on the servers (on a per second analysis).

Service Quality Is Determined By A High Performing Server

Many people also assume that high performing servers lead to a higher quality of service. There are very many instances where this does not apply. For example, if your servers are located far from the location where your clients are, then they will still experience slow internet problems. A better solution to this is by investing in a large number virtual DNS servers scattered around.

By doing so, you will be able to bring your server closer to your customers and in the process reduce latency which is an important factor as far as your DNS quality is concerned.

Check out the role of DNS in your business.

The Role Of Reliable DNS To Your Business

Small and large businesses alike are becoming susceptible to malware attacks. Some of the high profile attacks of this decade include those on JP Morgan and Community Health. Hackers are increasingly taking advantage of the lax security measures that most businesses and organizations have when it comes to internet security.

While most of these attacks are performed by the use of a DNS, most companies are still oblivious of the measures that they can take to prevent such attacks.

Most of which can be countered by instigating measures on the same DNS servers.

Use Of DNS In Your Business

For the past 30 years, DNS has evolved to become one of the most important components of the internet. In order for your business to function you’ll have to make use of DNS in one way or the other. Services such as email and VOIP which are integral for enterprise communications are some common examples of business DNS usage.

This means that if your DNS server was to be compromised, then it would greatly affect your business’ capability of handling its communication channels. Furthermore, a DNS breach might also lead to some of your clients’ sensitive data being compromised. The effects of such a breach can be tremendous. It might negatively affect your reputation and bottom line.

It’s therefore critical for any business or organization to ensure that they’ve secured their DNS in order to maintain the overall security of their network.

DNS Client Server Relationships

DNS servers are becoming increasingly necessary for businesses, especially when your business happens to handle databases that are necessary for use by each workstation. It is easier for everyone on the network to be able to access the same network at fast speeds. By doing so, your business will be able to function seamlessly across all points.

DNS servers can also be secured to prevent any external access to the main server. This is by the use of firewall rules. You can also prevent users from being able to access certain parts of the internet by ensuring that all IP related queries are passed through the main server in your organization. This will prevent your employees from accessing non-work related sites, some of which can be harmful to your organization’s IT security. Large organizations also limit sites deemed illegal like torrenting ones. This is because the user who accesses the site via the company’s internet connection may make illegal downloads that will lead to unnecessary suits that the company will have to settle.

Faster Internet Connections

DNS servers are crucial when it comes to internet speeds for your company. Many businesses nowadays rely on the internet in order for them to make business and your internet speeds can make the difference between you and your competitors. If you feel that your ISP’s internet connection is slow, then before you even think of changing ISPs, you should first consider making configurations to your DNS server. These configurations are much easier and in many cases result to faster speeds. You can even make use of public DNS servers without incurring any cost.

Conclusion

Given that the internet has become a necessary social need in the 21st century, it’s important for businesses to be able to leverage on the power of the internet to increase their bottom line. DNS servers can also be managed within your business or organization to the custom requirements.

It might be hard to configure DNS servers, hence the need for experts, but it will be worth the investment at the end.

A List Of Software Suggested By Google

There are a number of DNS server software that you can use; however, not so many people are conversant with the features that each of them offers. Furthermore, many people are nowadays becoming more interested with open source software which are almost similar to their commercial counterparts or even better.

Here’s our list of open source DNS server software and their differentiating features.

BIND

If there is a DNS server that can do anything, it’s definitely BIND. It also has an easy to manage web interface though you can also manage it from the command line. We would suggest that you use BIND if you have considerable experience in configuring DNS servers. This is because BIND can at times be difficult to configure.

It supports DNSSEC and can work as either an authoritative server or a recursive one.

NSD And Unbound

These two servers usually work together and have been developed by the same company. The main functionality of NSD is to allow you to set up a web page online whereas Unbound is used for searching pages on the internet.

Knot DNS

It’s usually accompanied by Knot Resolver in the same suite. These two servers were developed in 2010. One of them is an authoritative component whereas the other is a recursive name resolver. The main functionality of Knot DNS is to allow you to set up a web page online whereas Knot Resolver is used for searching pages on the internet.

They also support DNSSEC.

PowerDNS

This is another powerful DNS server. It has a lot of features including CVE and DNSSEC support. It is also quite flexible when it comes to connecting to databases.

DjbDNS

It’s similar to NSD and Unbound when it comes to functionality. The only problem (which is quite fatal sadly to say) is that it hasn’t been updated since 2001. There are already reported security issues with the system.

However, there is a more recent version of DJbDNS known as the N-DjbDNS. This version has more updates than its predecessor and has patched up the security loop holes that are known in DJbDNS. These patches have been instrumental in giving the authoritative server DNSSEC support.

MaraDNS

It’s a tiny DNS project suitable for use in embedded systems. It was developed as a single system at first but later on evolved to a two program server (similar NSD and Unbound). The best thing about MaraDNS is that it is quite easy to configure. However, it does not support DNSSEC.

Conclusion

There are several other DNS servers that have not been covered in the list but which you can also decide to use. We generally recommend that you look for server software that can be able to scale with your requirements. One other important feature for a DNS server software is that it should have an active community around it. Whichever server you choose, you will definitely run into problems with it. An active community will ensure that you can resolve any issues as quickly as possible.

Check out our walkthrough on configuring your Window’s and Mac’s DNS.