How to Set Up a DNS Forwarder in Windows Server 2012 R2

In this article, I will demonstrate you how to configure a DNS forwarder in Windows Server 2012 R2. I assume you have already configured DNS on both servers. If you haven't, read my other article on configuring DNS on Windows Server 2012 R2.


Following five are prerequisites:

  1. Ensure that the Administrator account has a strong password.
  2. A static IP is configured.
  3. Latest windows updates are installed.
  4. Firewall is turned off.
  5. DNS is already configured on both machines (primary DNS and secondary DNS servers).

Setting Up a DNS Forwarder in Windows Server 2012 R2

Step 1: Open server manager dashboard and click on Tools. Scroll down the menu and click on DNS .

Open Tools > DNS on the Windows Server

Step 2: In DNS manager, right-click and scroll down the menu. Click Properties

Open properties in DNS manager

Step 3: Click Forwarders tab and then click Edit

Go to the Forwarders tab of the settings

Step 4: Enter the IP address of your secondary DNS server you want to forward DNS queries. Click OK

Enter the IP address

Step 5: Click OK

Confirm settings by clicking on OK


Step 6: Go to your secondary DNS server manager and expand the machine name.  Right-click Forward Look Up Zones and scroll down the menu. Click New Zone

Add a zone in the secondary DNS manager

Step 7: Click Next

Start the New Zone Wizard

Step 8: Choose Primary zone and click Next

Create a Primary DNS Zone

Step 9: Provide the zone name and click Next

Enter the Zone name

Step 10: Choose to create the zone file with the suggested name and click Next.

Click on Next

Step 11: Select "Do not allow Dynamic Updates" and click Next.

Step 12: Click Finish to create the new DNS zone.

Finish the zone creation


Step 13: Right-click the zone you just created and scroll down the menu. Click New Host (A or AAAA)

Add a new A-Record to the DNS zone

Step 14: Provide the name and IP address of this host and click Add Host

Enter the IP address of the A-Record

Step 15: Click OK to create the A-Record in the DNS zone.

Clock OK to create the record

Step 16: Go to your client machine and configure the DNS settings. Provide the IP address of your primary DNS server in Preferred DNS server field

Configure DNS on the client


Step 17: Open Command prompt at your client machine and type nslookup (the host you entered in zone).

Test the DNS zone with the nslookup command.


Great, you have setup a DNS forwarder and tested the configuration. If a domain name is resolved successfully, then the DNS forwarder is working.

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