Configuring Conditional Forwarders using DNSCMD

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 5 Nov. 2009 / Last Updated on 3 May 2009]

How to configure a conditional forwarder for your DNS server from the command-line.

If your DNS server is running Windows Server Core, you can configure conditional forwarders on your DNS server from the command-line by using the DNSCMD command. A conditional forwarder is a forwarder that handles queries only for a specified domain name. Conditional forwarding enables a DNS server to forward queries for different domain names to different DNS servers according to the specific domain names that are contained in the queries. This improves conventional forwarding by adding a second condition to the forwarding process. To configure a conditional forwarder, you specify a domain and one or more IP addresses of DNS servers that can resolve queries directed to that domain.

You can use Dnscmd to configure conditional forwarders for your DNS server. For example, to configure a conditional forwarder that forwards all queries for hosts in the domain to the external DNS server, do the following:

dnscmd SEA-SC4 /zoneadd /forwarder

If your DNS server is on a domain controller, use /dsforwarder instead of /forwarder in this command.

For more information on managing DNS servers running on Windows Server Core, see my book Windows Server 2008 Server Core Administrator's Pocket Consultant from Microsoft Press.

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see .

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