Comparison of a DNS Zone and DNS Domain

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Article ID: 164054 - View products that this article applies to.
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This article compares and contrasts Domain Name System (DNS) Zones and Domains.


Domain name servers store information about part of the domain name space called a zone. The name server is authoritative for a particular zone. A single name server can be authoritative for many zones.

Understanding the difference between a zone and a domain is sometimes confusing. A zone is simply a portion of a domain. For example, the Domain may contain all of the data for, and However, the zone contains only information for and references to the authoritative name servers for the subdomains.

The zone can contain the data for subdomains of if they have not been delegated to another server. For example, may manage its own delegated zone. may be managed by the parent,

If there are no subdomains, then the zone and domain are essentially the same. In this case the zone contains all data for the domain.


Article ID: 164054 - Last Review: February 27, 2007 - Revision: 1.2
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
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