- DNS servers are an essential part of your network
- 3 good reasons to monitor your DNS
- An introduction to DNS monitoring with PRTG
- Be notified immediately in the event of problems
- 3 good reasons to choose PRTG as your DNS monitoring tool
- Monitoring other servers with PRTG
- DNS monitoring: Two sensors to get started at once
- DNS traffic monitoring: Optimize the performance of your DNS
- DNS monitoring and PRTG
- Case study: How network administrators use PRTG
- Using PRTG as a DNS monitoring tool (Video)
- FAQ: DNS servers and name servers
DNS servers and records are critical for your business
DNS servers are also referred to as “name servers.” They assign the right IP address to a URL, and vice versa. On the web, they assign the right IP address to a domain name such as www.paessler.com so you don’t have to memorize a string of numbers. In the local network, the DNS server translates the names of computers and network devices into “real addresses.” It ensures that you can access all your devices without having to enter their IP addresses.
Active Directory also relies on information provided by the DNS. And if you wish to use the name resolution service in your own network, then you’ll need a DNS server.
Without the correct DNS records, people cannot find your website or send you email. It's extremely important to know that those public records are pointing to the right addresses.
3 good reasons to monitor your DNS
Prevent downtime in your company network
Considering the vital role your DNS server plays in the company network, your DNS infrastructure should be as stable as possible. It is highly recommended that companies invest in a backup solution for their DNS server which they can fall back on in the event of an emergency. By monitoring your DNS servers with PRTG, you will be constantly informed of their availability and performance. In the event of downtime or lengthy response times, you can quickly intervene before errors and bottlenecks arise in your local network.
Stay up-to-date on performance
PRTG keeps you updated on the goings-on of your DNS servers. If a DNS server resolves a domain name incorrectly, you'll know so at once. PRTG also comes with the DNS sensor which measures the response time of a DNS server. If the response time is too high, then the entire network suffers.
Find out if your network or records have been compromised
Just like everything else behind your firewall, your DNS server should be protected against attacks from the Internet. While monitoring the various components of your LAN, don’t forget to include your DNS server. When crashes loom or traffic goes through the roof, time is of the essence. With PRTG, you can also monitor your security devices to ensure that in addition to your LAN, your DNS server – in particular – is safe and sound.
Also with the DNS v2 sensor you can be assured that nobody has poisoned a DNS cache to mislead or redirect your customer's to nefarious websites where your customer's information can be hijacked.
Your DNS servers at a glance – even while on the go
PRTG is set up in a matter of minutes and can be used on a wide variety of mobile devices.
Be notified immediately in the event of problems
PRTG DNS monitoring runs automatically in the background. If you wish to verify the status of the DNS Sensor, you can do so via an easy-to-read user interface. PRTG also comes with a handy notification system which means you no longer have to constantly check the DNS server or records yourself.
If a DNS server is slow to react (or no longer reacts at all), or your records are hijacked by someone else, PRTG lets you know at once. PRTG alerts can be sent by push notification, SMS, or email. As a result, you can quickly take action before more serious problems have a chance to arise.
How PRTG defines sensors
In PRTG, “sensors” are the basic monitoring elements. One sensor usually monitors one measured value in your network, e.g. the traffic of a switch port, the CPU load of a server, the free space of a disk drive. On average you need about 5-10 sensors per device or one sensor per switch port.
PRTG not only monitors your DNS servers in real time, but also records all key performance data.
You therefore get detailed information about your DNS servers, whenever you want it.
How high was availability during the last six months? How fast was the average response time?
3 good reasons to choose PRTG as your DNS monitoring tool
PRTG can be customized to meet the needs of any infrastructure, be it a small network or a large server landscape. And when it comes time to expand the server environment, upgrading your PRTG license is easy. PRTG is an invaluable network monitoring tool – not just for the monitoring of your DNS servers. It keeps a constant eye on your entire infrastructure, including computers, routers, switches, operating systems, network performance, and others.
Custom dashboards and maps
PRTG uses easy-to-read maps to illustrate your network. All your IT components can be dragged and dropped into a network map and visualized graphically. Custom dashboards show the statuses of your devices and connections, allowing you to immediately see if everything is OK.
Easy to use
The PRTG dashboard provides a convenient overview of the status of the encryption that is supported by your devices’ ports.
Monitoring other servers with PRTG
PRTG is not only the perfect tool for monitoring DNS servers, but will keep an eye on the other servers in your network as well.
Mail server monitoring
With email being an indispensable form of communication both within and outside the company, mail servers play an important role in the makeup of your network. If the mail server is down, then complaints begin to pour in at once. PRTG keeps a constant eye on your mail servers, and promptly notifies you in the event of a malfunction.
Web server monitoring
For many companies, website performance is vital – especially if products and services are offered via the homepage. PRTG comes with several sensors designed especially for monitoring web servers.
Databases must run smoothly if companies hope to remain productive. PRTG monitors the availability and performance of your databases. It comes with special sensors for MySQL, Microsoft SQL, and Oracle SQL, among others.
DNS monitoring: Two sensors to get started at once
The DNS sensor displays the response time of a DNS server. You can also use this sensor to continually monitor the reachability of DNS servers. What’s more, it will notify you whenever a domain name has not been resolved. You get to decide when the sensor sounds the alarm: immediately after the first failed response up until after the fifth interval. Learn more about the DNS Sensor in the PRTG manual.
DNS v2 sensor
The DNS v2 sensor is an upgraded version of the DNS sensor. It also monitors the performance of DNS servers, i.e. their response times and whether addresses are resolved. The DNS v2 can also be used to monitor the number of DNS records. As a result, you'll immediately notice if someone has made a change that inadvertently causes disruptions or has maybe even accessed the DNS server to do it harm. This sensor also lets you filter by records to ensure they still exist or have been resolved. If something changes, you’ll be notified by the PRTG alarm. With PRTG, you can verify that DNS servers are resolving the content of records correctly.
DNS traffic monitoring: Optimize the performance of your DNS
On the router
DNS server malfunctions are often caused by traffic. It is therefore a good idea to monitor your routers as well. PRTG uses SNMP, NetFlow, WMI, and packet sniffing to analyze your traffic. It comes with a variety of traffic sensors, including preconfigured sensors for all the biggest router manufacturers such as HP, Cisco, and Dell. As a result, you can get started with monitoring at once.
More on router monitoring with PRTG
On the switch
Switches are common sources of bottlenecks and can also cause problems with traffic. Without a monitoring tool, it can take hours to find the switch that is responsible for an error or malfunction. By monitoring your switches, you can identify the culprit at once. PRTG uses SNMP, WMI, Flow sensors, and packet sniffing to monitor your switches.
More on switch monitoring with PRTG
DNS monitoring and PRTG
Free DNS performance monitoring
PRTG comes with 100 free sensors that you can use for as long as you like. In the freeware version, you also get access to the alarm, the reports feature, and all other functions. In other words, if you wish to set up basic DNS monitoring and have no interest in monitoring anything else, then the free version of PRTG makes sense as a long-term solution.
Custom licenses for comprehensive monitoring
On the other hand, if you wish to set up more comprehensive network monitoring, then you’ll want to opt for one of our licenses. All our licenses come with the full range of PRTG features but with varying amounts of sensors. On average, you’ll need 10 sensors for each device you wish to monitor.
Case study: How network administrators use PRTG
“With just 150 monitoring sensors, you get a highly sophisticated overview that makes it easy to identify individual errors.”
Michael Radomski, Uplink Network GmbH. To the case study
FAQ: DNS servers and name servers
What is a DNS?
DNS is short for “Domain Name System.” A DNS resolves IP addresses to computer names and vice versa. When you enter www.paessler.com into the address line of your browser, your browser queries a DNS server to find out which IP address is associated with the name, and then begins the resolution. This information can be found on thousands of DNS servers in the Internet.
What is the role of a DNS server?
For one, DNS servers are used by Internet service providers to ensure their service runs smoothly. Larger companies have their own DNS servers. These servers are responsible for traffic such as the company intranet, VoIP, and internal emails.
Why is DNS monitoring important?
If a DNS server malfunctions or crashes, the IT department is immediately bombarded with calls because email, web applications, and the Internet no longer work. What’s more, network attacks often occur by way of DNS servers. DNS monitoring should therefore be an integral part of your IT security strategy.
How do I monitor my DNS?
PRTG comes with preconfigured sensors for monitoring your DNS. These sensors will monitor the response times and performance of your DNS servers. You can also monitor the number of DNS records and use filters to monitor individual records and see if they are still available. PRTG provides you with the certainty that your DNS server is properly resolving domain names.
What is a name server?
A name server is basically the same thing as a DNS server. A name server also resolves domain names to IP addresses and IP addresses to domain names. When you connect to the Internet, you access the name server of your Internet service provider. You can also set up a name server for your own network. If you do so, be sure to monitor it so you can quickly detect cyberattacks or other unwanted intrusions.
Why is the DNS server not responding?
If a DNS server fails to respond, then the domain name cannot be resolved to an IP address or vice versa. The problem may lie with your own DNS server or with the DNS server of your provider. You may also have a faulty router or switch in your network.
What should I do if the DNS server does not respond?
If a DNS server is unresponsive, try some simple things first. Restart your router. Sometimes the DNS cache is also corrupted. You can flush your DNS cache by using the “ipconfig” command in the command line. If you have a larger network, it makes more sense to use a DNS monitoring or tracking tool to get down to the underlying causes of problems.
How can I check the DNS?
Among other things, DNS checks are useful for finding out how fast your website loads. DNS checks are one-time tests that measure the speed of web pages. DNS monitoring and tracking tools, on the other hand, monitor DNS servers on a continual basis. PRTG comes with sensors that monitor the load times of your website, as well as other DNS server functions, around the clock.
PRTG: The Swiss Army knife for sysadminsAdapt PRTG individually and dynamically to your needs and rely on a strong API:
- HTTP API: Access monitoring data and manipulate monitoring objects via HTTP requests
- Custom sensors: Create your own PRTG sensors for customized monitoring
- Custom notifications: Create your own notifications and send action triggers to external systems
- REST Custom sensor: Monitor almost everything that provides data in XML or JSON format
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