How to Setup DNS Application Load Balancing on Windows Server

How to Setup DNS Application Load Balancing on Windows Server. As an organization grows, its applications often become more complex. So, it’s necessary to ensure that the applications are available, scalable, and performant. One way to achieve this is by using DNS (Domain Name Server) Application Load Balancing to distribute network traffic across multiple servers. By doing so, incoming requests are efficiently assigned to the most appropriate resource, optimizing overall system performance.

If you’re running applications on Windows Server, use DNS Manager tool to set up DNS Application Load Balancing. In this blog post, we explore how to set up DNS Application Load Balancing on Windows Server.  

Let us start this article blog about How to Setup DNS Application Load Balancing on Windows Server.

What is DNS Application Load Balancing?

To improve the performance, scalability, and availability of your network resources DNS Application Load Balancing is the way to go. It distributes incoming network traffic across multiple servers using the Domain Name System (DNS) to direct client requests to the most appropriate server. In other words, the DNS server maps a single domain name to multiple IP addresses, each representing a server in a pool of servers. Consequently, when a client sends a request, the DNS server responds by providing the IP address of the most optimal server for that particular request. This intelligent routing ensures efficient utilization of network resources and guarantees uninterrupted access to your services for users.

How DNS Application Load Balancing Works

Well, DNS Application Load Balancing harnesses the capabilities of the Domain Name System (DNS) to effectively route client requests to the most suitable server within a server pool. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

  • Firstly, configure a DNS server with a single domain name that maps to multiple IP addresses, each representing a server in a pool of servers.
  • Secondly, when a client sends a request for a resource, such as a web page, the DNS server responds with the IP address of the best-suited server with availability, server load, and network latency in mind.
  • Thirdly, the client then connects to the server using the provided IP address and receives the requested resource.
  • Finally, as requests continue to come in, the DNS server continues to distribute the load across the servers to ensure that no single server becomes overloaded and that the service remains available to clients.

Setting Up DNS Application Load Balancing on Windows Server

To set up DNS based application load balancing on a Windows Server, follow these steps:


  • Operating System: A server operating system such as Windows Server 2012R2, 2016, 2019, or 2022 is needed to host the DNS Server Roles.
  • Hardware Resources: The server should meet minimum hardware requirements (4 GB of RAM, 2-core CPU) and sufficient disk space, based on the expected workload and the size of the DNS infrastructure.
  • Network Connectivity: The server must be connected to the network, with a stable and reliable connection to allow DNS communication with servers and clients.
  • Administrative Privileges: The user account should have appropriate admin privileges to manage DNS settings and perform administrative tasks.
  • DNS Zone Information: Domain names, IP addresses, and hostnames, before configuring the DNS Server Roles.

Install the DNS Server Role

Setting up the DNS Server Role on Windows Server is straightforward and enables you to manage and configure a DNS server for your network. Ensure you are logged in as an admin on your Windows Server environment, and follow the steps:

1.Open the Run box by pressing Windows key + R. Type “Server Manager” and press Enter to Launch Server Manager.

2. Click on Manage at the top right-hand side.

3. Next, select Add Roles and Features from the dropdown menu.

4. The Add Roles and Features Wizard will launch. Before You Begin page appears.  Review the information and click Next.

5. Now choose Role based or feature based installation and click Next.

6. Choose the server from the available server pool option, select a server and click Next.

7. On the Select server roles page, select the DNS server checkbox and click Next

8. Review installation summary and click Install. Monitor the progress of installation by viewing the status bar at the bottom of the window. 

9. Once the installation is complete, you see a confirmation message. Verify that the DNS server role is now listed in the Server Manager under Server Roles.

Configure DNS zones

Configuration of DNS zones is an essential step in setting up DNS application load balancing on your Windows Server. With DNS zones they help define your domain and determine the servers responsible for resolving DNS queries. By configuring DNS zones correctly, you are able to evenly distribute incoming traffic across multiple servers, ensuring a balanced and efficient load balancing solution. 

Create Forward Lookup Zones

A) Open the DNS Manager by navigating to Tools > DNS. 

Open DNS manager

B) In the DNS Manager, you see your server name listed. Expand it by clicking on the arrow next to it. Next, right-click on Forward Lookup Zones and select New Zone

C) The New Zone Wizard launches. Click Next. 

D) Select the zone type. Choose primary zone, secondary zone, or stub zone. In most cases, a primary zone is the suitable choice for hosting and managing the DNS records for your domain. Select Primary Zone (the default option) and click Next

E) Enter the zone name for your domain. For example, if your domain is, enter “” as the zone name. Click Next.

F) Choose whether you want to store the zone information in a file or in Active Directory. The default option is Create a new file with this file name. Leave the default option and click Next.

G) Decide whether you want to allow dynamic updates to the zone. Dynamic updates allow DNS records to be added, modified, or deleted automatically by authorized clients. If you’re not sure about this, go with the default option and click Next.

H) Finish to complete setting up the forward lookup zone. 

You have successfully created the forward lookup zone for your DNS server. 

Configure DNS Host Records

Now that you’ve configured your DNS zones, it’s time to add host records to ensure proper DNS resolution and effectively direct incoming traffic to the right servers. Host records, also known as resource records, establish the connection between specific hostnames and their corresponding IP addresses. By adding these records, you optimize your DNS infrastructure for efficient load balancing and ensure smooth traffic distribution. 

1). In the DNS Manager, locate the specific zone you created ( on the left menu under Forward Lookup Zones and right click on it. Select New Host (A or AAAA)… from the context menu. This opens “New Host” dialog box.

2). In the New Host dialog box, enter hostname or subdomain for which you want to add a record. For example, if you want to create a record for, enter “www” in the Name field. Also, enter the corresponding IP address for the host or server. This is  IPv4 address (A record) or the IPv6 address (AAAA record) associated with the hostname. Finally, select Create associated pointer record and click Add Host.

3). To achieve DNS load balancing, create multiple A records for a single hostname and assign distinct IP addresses to each record. For example, we create an A record similar to what we have above and have it point to a different IP address. As a result, incoming traffic is distributed across multiple servers. 

Test the DNS Application Load Balancing Setup

Finally, test the load balancing configuration by sending client requests to the domain name associated with the load-balanced servers. Monitor the distribution of traffic across the servers and verify that the load is being evenly balanced.

Thank you for reading this blog about How to Setup DNS Application Load Balancing on Windows Server. We shall conclude.

How to Setup DNS Application Load Balancing on Windows Server Conclusion

In conclusion, we have covered the importance of ensuring application availability, scalability, and performance as your organization grows. 

Importantly, we know now that if someone tries to access your website, their request is directed to the DNS server, which holds the A records. By having multiple A records associated with the same hostname, the DNS server responds with different IP addresses in a rotation or based on a smart load balancing algorithm.

Why does this matter? Well, distributing the traffic across multiple servers serves 2 purposes. Firstly, it ensures that no single server gets overwhelmed by the incoming load, thereby improving the overall performance of your network. Secondly, in the unfortunate event that one server becomes unavailable, the remaining servers seamlessly handle the traffic, thus enhancing the reliability of our network.

As a result, it optimizes the utilization of server resources, prevents bottlenecks, and guarantees that your network handles a significant volume of traffic without compromising speed or stability. In essence, it’s a powerful strategy that elevates the performance and dependability of our network infrastructure

Avatar for Richard Kanyoro
Richard Kanyoro

The world’s biggest problems can be solved by progressively solving the little ones. I write to help people solve the “little” tech problems they face.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x