In Domain Name System (DNS), you can divide a DNS namespace into zones that store name information about one or more DNS domains. For each DNS domain name that is included in a zone, the zone becomes the authoritative source for information about that domain.

A zone starts as a storage database for a single DNS domain name. If other domains are added below the domain that is used to create the zone, these domains can either be part of the same zone or belong to another zone. After a subdomain is added, it can then either be:

  • Managed and included as part of the original zone records.

  • Delegated away to another zone that is created to support the subdomain.

You can configure a DNS server to host a zone as one of three zone types:

  • A primary zone, for which the DNS server is the primary authority

  • A secondary zone, for which the DNS server maintains a copy of the zone that is transferred from a primary server

  • A stub zone, for which the DNS server provides only the name servers that are authoritative for the zone

You can also configure a zone to use Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) to resolve names, and you can determine how an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)–integrated zone is replicated.

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