Did you know I can do more than store data with my Synology NAS? It offers a powerful DNS server package for free. This feature speeds up my internet and lets me access all my internal devices by name. No more trying to remember or deal with changing IP addresses. 

Synology DNS server feature

Join me in setting up my Synology NAS to become a master DNS server.

Synology DNS Server for Local Network

When I first explored my Synology NAS, I discovered a game-changer for my home network: the Synology DNS Server. This tool was a revelation, promising to simplify how I connect to my devices at home or in my small business.”


Understanding the Basics of DNS

To get started, let’s break down what DNS means. DNS stands for Domain Name System. It’s like the phonebook of the internet, translating website names we understand, like google.com, into IP addresses that computers use to identify each other. But DNS domains isn’t just for the internet. Inside my local network, DNS helps me access devices like my computer, printer, or NAS by name instead of by complex IP addresses. This simplicity was exactly what I needed.

Understanding DNS

Why Choose Synology for DNS Services?

Why did I opt for Synology to handle my DNS services? Initially, it boiled down to a standard limitation many of us face: the router provided by my internet service provider (ISP) offered no room to tweak the DNS settings. This restriction meant I couldn’t optimize my network’s performance or enhance its security as I wanted.

Discovering Synology’s DNS server package was a game-changer. The setup was a breeze, empowering me to take control of my DNS settings in ways I hadn’t imagined. With a few clicks, I could dictate how my devices connected to the internet and each other, significantly speeding up my access and adding an extra layer of phishing protection with custom DNS blocklists.

But here’s the real kicker: I could create an A record pointing to the internal IP of my Synology server. This small but mighty tweak meant I could access my Synology using a friendly DNS name, like ‘myhomeNAS.local,’ instead of wrestling with forgettable IP addresses. For me, running a small business and managing a bustling home network, Synology’s DNS server wasn’t just a convenience—it was a necessity.


Synology DNS Server Setup

Getting your Synology DNS Server up and running involves two main steps: installing the DNS package and then setting up zones and records. Here’s how I did it:


Install the DNS Package

  • Log into DSM: First, I logged into the DiskStation Manager (DSM) on my Synology NAS. The DSM is the operating system that runs on Synology NAS devices, where you manage all the settings.
  • Open Package Center: I navigated to the Package Center from the main menu. This is Synology’s app store, where you can find helpful packages to enhance your NAS.
Package Center DNS Server
  • Find DNS Server: In the Package Center, I searched for “DNS Server” in the search bar. It’s a free package provided by Synology.
Synology DNS Server
  • Install: Once I found the DNS Server package, I clicked ‘Install.’ It took a couple of minutes to download and install. After installation, the DNS Server appeared in my main menu, ready to be configured.

Setting Up Zones and Records

  • Open DNS Server: I launched the DNS Server app from the main menu. This opened the DNS Server interface, where I could set up my zones and records.
  • Create a Master Zone: I needed to create a Primary Zone. This is a domain that I control within my network. I clicked ‘Create’ and then ‘Primary Zone.’ I used a domain name I own for the zone name, but you can use any name if it’s just for your local network, like ‘myhome.local.’ For “Primary DNS Server” enter the IP address for your Synology NAS. In my case, it is 192.168.1.11. You can leave all the other options as they are.
create a primary zone
  • Add A Record: With my Primary Zone created, it was time to add records. An A record maps a domain name to an IP address, crucial for accessing devices by name. I clicked on my newly created zone and selected ‘Edit, Resource records’ and ‘A Record.’ Here, I entered the hostname (like ‘nas’) and the IP address of my Synology NAS. This enabled me to access my NAS using ‘nas.myhome.local’ instead of its IP address.
Add a resource record

The picture above shows that the Synology DNS Server automatically added two records. NS stands for Nameserver and there is an A records for ns.myhome.local too.

Add an A record

I added another A record for the same IP with another name, ‘nas’. Adding more than one A record for the same IP is possible.

Now, you can add more A records for your devices in the local network.


Configure the Synology DNS Server: Setting Up DNS Forwarding

After installing the DNS package and setting up zones and records, there’s one more critical step to ensure your Synology DNS Server manages your local network efficiently and provides seamless internet access: DNS forwarding. Here’s how I configured DNS forwarding on my Synology NAS, using the example where the DNS server IP is 192.168.1.11:


Understanding DNS Forwarding

DNS forwarding is like having a personal assistant for your network. When a device asks for the address of a website, the Synology DNS Server checks if it’s something within your local network. If not, it forwards the DNS requests to another DNS server on the internet, which knows how to find all those websites you and your network want to access.


How to Set Up DNS Forwarding

  1. Open DNS Server Application: Log into your Synology DSM and open the DNS Server application from the main menu.
  2. Navigate to the Resolution Settings: Look for the ‘Resolution’ tab in the DNS Server application. This is where you’ll set up forwarding.
  3. Enable Forwarding: There should be an option to enable forwarding. Check this option to turn it on.
  4. Specify Forwarder IP Address: Enter the IP addresses of the DNS servers you want to forward queries to. These can be public DNS servers like Google’s 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4, Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1, or any other DNS servers provided by your ISP. It’s a good practice to use at least two for redundancy.
  5. Apply and Save: After entering the forwarder IP addresses, apply and save your settings.
DNS forwarding

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Synology DS723+, 2GB Memory – Good Choice for Small Business

How to Point Devices to the New DNS Server

Now that you’ve set up the Synology DNS Server let’s ensure your devices use it for DNS resolution. We’ll use the example where your Synology DNS Server has the IP address 192.168.1.11.

For Individual Devices (example Windows 11)

  1. Access Network Settings: Open ‘Settings, Network & Internet” on your device.
  2. Select the Connected Device, in my case it is Ethernet.
  3. Click DNS server assignment:  change to manual from ‘Automatic DHCP’
  4. Enter DNS Server Address: In the DNS server settings, replace any existing addresses with 192.168.1.11, the IP of your Synology NAS.
  5. Save and Restart Device: Save your settings and restart your device to apply the new DNS configuration.
change DNS server in Windows 11

For Your Entire Network via the Router

To make sure all devices on your network automatically use the Synology DNS Server, you’ll need to update the DNS settings in your router’s DHCP configuration:

  1. Log into Your Router: Open a web browser and type your router’s IP address into the address bar to access the router’s interface. You’ll need to log in with your username and password.
  2. Locate DHCP/DNS Settings: Find the DHCP settings, which might be under ‘Internet,’ ‘LAN,’ or ‘Network Settings.’ Within the DHCP settings, look for an option to specify DNS servers.
  3. Update DNS Server to 192.168.1.11: In the DNS server fields provided by the DHCP settings, enter 192.168.1.11 as the primary DNS server to direct all connected devices to use your Synology NAS for DNS queries. It’s a good idea to add a secondary DNS server, such as 1.1.1.1 or 8.8.8.8, for redundancy and to ensure uninterrupted internet access if the primary server becomes unreachable.
  4. Apply Changes and Reboot Router: Save your changes after entering the new DNS server address. It’s often recommended to reboot your router to ensure all changes take effect properly. This action will cause the router to assign the new DNS server address to all devices connecting to the network moving forward.

I recommend changing DNS settings at your router and not on your device.


Testing your Setup

To verify that your DHCP settings, specifically the DNS server change to your Synology NAS (192.168.1.11), have been successfully applied across your network, you can use the ipconfig /all command on a Windows machine. This command provides detailed information about your network configuration, including the DNS servers your device is using. Here’s how you can test your DHCP settings:

  1. Open Command Prompt: On your Windows computer, press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type cmd and press Enter to launch the Command Prompt.
  2. Run ipconfig /all: In the Command Prompt window, type ipconfig /all and press Enter. This command displays all your network configuration details.
  3. Review the Output: Look for the output section corresponding to your active network connection. This might be labeled as “Ethernet adapter,” “Wireless LAN adapter Wi-Fi,” or something similar, depending on how you’re connected to your network.
  4. Check the DNS Servers Listing: Within this section, find the line that reads “DNS Servers.” If your DHCP settings update was successful, you should see the IP address of your Synology NAS (192.168.1.11) listed as one of the DNS servers. It should also be listed if you entered a secondary DNS server, such as 1.1.1.1 or 8.8.8.8.
  5. Verify Changes: If you see the correct DNS server addresses listed, your device is now using your Synology NAS as its DNS server, thanks to the updated DHCP settings on your router. If the expected DNS server IP addresses are not listed, you may need to disconnect and reconnect your device to the network or restart it to force it to request new DHCP information from the router.
ipconfig

This test is a straightforward way to confirm that your network devices are correctly using the new DNS settings provided by your router’s DHCP configuration. It ensures that all DNS queries from your device are being routed through your Synology NAS, leveraging its DNS server capabilities for name resolution.


Final Thoughts and Practical Tips for Your Synology DNS Journey

I hope you’ve found the insights and step-by-step guidance throughout this article helpful as we wrap up our exploration of using the Synology DNS Server. Setting up your Synology NAS as your DNS server can significantly improve your network’s efficiency, security, and convenience. 

Understanding the DNS concept opens up a lot of possibilities. You could use your Synology as a public DNS server and your registered domain name as the primary zone in the Synology DNS server. 

I have authored additional articles on the Synology NAS, showcasing its efficient utilization as a DNS server. If you intend to implement Active Directory within your environment, I recommend reading my comprehensive article on the Synology Directory Server.

Another use case is to use your Synology as a Web Server with WordPress.

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featured WordPress on Synology NAS

WordPress on Synology

How to install and run

I would love to get some feedback from you. Was this article helpful? Please share your opinion with me in the comment section below. Or, if you prefer a more personal touch, feel free to email me directly at [email protected]. Your thoughts and insights are always appreciated.

Before you go …

After diving into the intricacies of setting up a DNS server on your Synology device, you might wonder which Synology NAS model fits your needs. Whether you’re looking for more power, storage capacity, or specific features, my next suggestion will help guide your decision. Take a moment to explore Which Synology NAS?, where I delve into the various models and their distinct advantages, ensuring you make an informed choice that aligns with your requirements. This article is particularly useful for those considering an upgrade or new users planning their first Synology NAS investment.


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Tech Expert & Blogger


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