There was a time when it wasn't necessary to resolve an IP address from a host name. Systems administrators shared a text file that contained the name-to-address mapping of all the servers anyone could possibly want to
access. Today, with millions of computers connected to the Internet, that simple method doesn't cut it anymore. That's where Domain Name Service (DNS) comes into play.

A DNS server accepts name resolution requests and returns the associated IP address. Windows NT Server, Windows 2000 Server, and Windows Server 2003 all have DNS services that allow them to act as DNS servers. However, Windows 2000 Professional does not.

If you're setting up your own Web server or need to delegate a portion of your domain, and you don't want the expense of setting up Windows 2000 Server, there are a handful of third-party DNS server applications that can run on Windows 2000 Professional (and even Windows 9x). JH Software's Simple DNS Plus is one option. A search of your favorite download site will likely turn up others.

In addition to choosing a DNS server application for Windows 2000 Professional, you also need to consider potential changes to your firewall to accommodate the DNS server. Specifically, if the DNS server sits on a private subnet and the firewall uses port mapping to direct traffic, you should configure the firewall to forward port 53 to your DNS server.