3.1 Which Name Server?
If you plan to set up your own domain and run name servers for it, you'll need name server software first. Even if you're planning on having someone else run your domain, it's helpful to have the software around. For example, you can use your local name server to test your data files before giving them to your remote domain administrator.
Microsoft ships a name server on the Windows 2000 Server CD-ROM, but you have to install it separately. This server, which we call the Microsoft DNS Server, is the server we cover in this book. It's notable because it sports a nice graphical frontend for configuring the server. This isn't the only name server available for Windows 2000, however. There are several others. Most are ports of BIND, which has traditionally been a Unix-based name server. If you're more comfortable configuring BIND than learning to configure a new name server (even with a GUI), you might consider these options:
If you decide to use one of these ports of BIND to Windows 2000, we suggest you pick up a copy of DNS and BIND . That book concentrates on the BIND implementation; this book emphasizes the Microsoft DNS Server.
3.1.1 Getting the DNS Server
If you've read to this section, we'll assume you've decided to use the Microsoft DNS Server. Before proceeding, you'll need to install the DNS server and its configuration frontend from the Windows 2000 Server CD-ROM. For detailed instructions on this process, see Appendix B.
3.1.2 Handy Mailing Lists and Usenet Newsgroups
Now that you've installed your name server, it's important to keep abreast of DNS and name server developments. Two Usenet newsgroups are helpful for this: microsoft.public.win2000.dns and comp.protocols.dns.bind . microsoft.public.win2000.dns concentrates on the Microsoft DNS Server and is a good place to find out about new bugs . comp.protocols.dns.bind is more BIND-centric (as the name indicates) but is an excellent source of information about the art and practice of running domains and name servers. It arguably has a better signal-to-noise ratio than the Microsoft newsgroup and is also available as a mailing list, email@example.com.  A searchable archive of the list can be found at http://www.isc.org/ml-archives/bind-users/.
Microsoft's online support site, at http://support.microsoft.com/support/,is a valuable source of information about known bugs in the DNS server and updates to the code. Also, be sure to check Andras Salamon's "DNS Resource Directory" at http://www.dns.net/dnsrd/for pointers to online DNS resources and documentation.
Another mailing list you might be interested in is the namedroppers list. Folks on the namedroppers mailing list are involved in the IETF working group that develops extensions to the DNS specifications, DNSEXT. For example, the discussion of a new, proposed DNS record type would probably take place on namedroppers instead of the BIND users mailing list. For more information on DNSEXT's charter, see http://www.ietf.org/html. charters /dnsext-charter.html.
The address for the namedroppers mailing list is firstname.lastname@example.org, and it is gatewayed into the Internet newsgroup comp.protocols.dns.std . To join the namedroppers mailing list, send mail to email@example.com with the text "subscribe namedroppers" as the body of the message.
3.1.3 Finding IP Addresses
You'll notice that we gave you a number of domain names of hosts that have ftp able software, and the mailing lists we mentioned include domain names. This should underscore the importance of DNS: see what valuable software and advice you can get with the help of DNS? Unfortunately, it's also something of a chicken-and-egg problem: you can't send email to an address with a domain name in it unless you've got DNS set up, so how can you ask someone on the list how to set up DNS?
Well, we could give you the IP addresses for all the hosts we mentioned, but since IP addresses change often (in publishing timescales, anyway), we'll show you how you can temporarily use someone else's name server to find the information instead. As long as your host has Internet connectivity and the nslookup program, you can retrieve information from the Internet namespace.
To look up the IP address for ftp.microsoft.com , for example, you could use:
C:\> nslookup ftp.microsoft.com. 18.104.22.168
This instructs nslookup to query the name server running on the host at the IP address 22.214.171.124 to find the IP address for ftp.microsoft.com and should produce output like:
Server: ns1.mindspring.com Address: 126.96.36.199 Name: ftp.microsoft.com Address: 188.8.131.52
Now you can ftp to ftp.microsoft.com 's IP address, 184.108.40.206.
How did we know that the host at IP address 220.127.116.11 runs a name server? Our ISP, Mindspring, told usit's one of their name servers. If your ISP provides name servers for its customers' use (and most do), use one of them. If your ISP doesn't provide name servers (shame on them!), you can temporarily use one of the name servers listed in this book. As long as you only use it to look up a few IP addresses or other data, the administrators probably won't mind. It's considered very rude, however, to point your resolver or query tool at someone else's name server permanently.
Of course, if you already have access to a host with Internet connectivity and have DNS configured, you can use it to ftp what you need.
Once you've got a working version of the Microsoft DNS Server, you're ready to start thinking about your domain name.