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I have a local server that I'd like to link to a domain without setting it up through DNS.

Is this possible?

Sorry if I sound dumb, but what does a DNS server do exactly? Why not just link the domain directly to my IP address, even if it's static?

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Just to clarify: Are you talking about a domain name or a AD domain ? – Hennes Sep 9 '13 at 11:55
This question appears to be off-topic because it belongs on ServerFault – Shevek Sep 9 '13 at 11:57

To answer your questions:

  1. You can do that, by modifying the hosts file on every computer you're going to use to access your local server from, by adding the correspondence ip <-> domain-name. It can be a perfectly valid solution if you plan to access your server from your laptop, for instance.

  2. What a DNS brings is a world-wide registration of this correspondence, so that you'll be able to access your local server from any computer without having to manually change your host file.

  3. I don't really understand what you mean by that, and how you would "link the domain directly to your ip". What do you have in mind, technically, to do that? I think you could get a better understanding of the problem by reading how DNS work in general.

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The Windows join domain process from sysdm.cpl uses DNS then WINS to find an Active Directory domain controller and you can't change that. If the domain controller you want is using WINS, then I guess it'll work without DNS.

In researching this I found this utility though:

Looks like in Windows 7 there's a command called djoin.exe that can configure a system to be joined to a domain without contacting a AD domain controller first. Not terribly familiar with this tool. I'm under the impression you still have to make changes on the server end for it to be really joined.

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This answer is great.. Exactly what I need.. I love you man :D – amyassin Oct 2 '13 at 19:03

To be short, the DNS is what makes it possible to type something like and take you to the site, instead of having to type in the IP address to take you to the site.

It's also thanks to the DNS you can simply google something to find it's site.

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The first part of your answer is correct. (Also concise and clear.) But the second part just isn't true. Google is perfectly capable of finding sites that are accessible only by IP numbers. – Isaac Rabinovitch Sep 30 '12 at 1:31
I meant that google would not simply list a site by IP address in its search listings. – user88311 Sep 30 '12 at 14:08

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