How do I fix a DNS issue without administrative priveleges?
December 2, 2004 8:45 AM   Subscribe

How do I fix a DNS problem if I am not the network administrator? [Inside for more, please]

My workplace is an agency of the local (small) municipality; our network is actually part of the municipality’s network. Consequently I’m not the administrator of the network, even though I’m the boss of my part of the network.
Anyway, so we bought a server from a vendor; the server resides inside the municipal network, serves some proprietary Java apps to my part of the network, and serves the agency’s website to the world at large. All of that works but in order to do some other stuff, this server needs to interact with the local DNS server in a way that’s above my head and, if the blank stare and non-answer I got are any indication, over the network administrator’s head, too.
The local DNS server seems to work; it’s the default DNS server on the PC from which I’m typing this. But when the vendor runs nslookup from the server (and when I run it from my PC), the following error message appears:

*** Can't find server name for address [DNS Server’s IP]: Non-existent host/domain
*** Default servers are not available

The fact that I get the same error with my desktop PC suggests that the problem lies in the DNS server (or, if a few fora I found in some cursory googling are to be trusted, with nslookup itself), not in the vendor’s setup; furthermore, his /etc/resolv.conf and /etc/hosts files are set up correctly.

How do I determine what is wrong and explain to the network admin how to fix it?
posted by willpie to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
They did not set up your zone files at all by the sound of it....? What? Hang on, I need a follow-up to grasp this, are they hosting your domain name? Do they have your domain name in their zone-files? What kind of DNS server are you trying to run there (BIND or what?)

(ps use dig instead of nslookup)
posted by dabitch at 9:11 AM on December 2, 2004

My server is sitting on their network, in their domain. The DNS server is theirs and I don't know what kind of server it is; probably whatever came with NT4.
Internal DNS seems to work fine (i.e. if I enter into my browser's address bar, it sends me right to my sever just as if I had entered the actual IP address) from my perspective (essentially an end-user's perspective).
My server in the question is an integrated library system server; basically, it's a Sun box with a bunch of proprietary goodies on top and a huge pricetag.
posted by willpie at 9:51 AM on December 2, 2004

call the admin. I can't guesstimate from this info at all, it's just getting me a lot more confused. sorry.
posted by dabitch at 11:41 AM on December 2, 2004

I've seen this before with Microsoft nslookup. The solution was to have the dns server provide a reverse for its own IP address. So if you DNS server is and maps to, then you need to have a record created to point referring to
posted by quiet at 11:53 AM on December 2, 2004

This may have been one of the pages you found, willpie. The tool nslookup has got some problems...unfortunately, there isn't much else that comes with Windows (i.e. no dig). But there are some other tools available to do proper DNS queries.
posted by bachelor#3 at 1:24 PM on December 2, 2004

try this:
Go to a command prompt (cmd) and type:


It should tell you the Default Server that it is using. Is it in fact pointing to the correct name server? If not, you might just have a problem with DHCP giving out the wrong nameserver, or you have a statically assigned nameserver that is wrong.

If it points to the correct nameserver, try pointing it to a different one. Type:


That should set the server for nslookup to use the server you enter. If there are multiple DNS servers on your network, you might try playing around with them.

We can troubleshoot further from there.
posted by stovenator at 3:53 PM on December 2, 2004

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