The Internet Domain Name System (DNS) is big news these days, both because of the hotly contested changes in DNS policies and because it’s turned out to be the linchpin of the Internetwithout DNS, you can leave your surfboard at home. Men & Mice brought server-caliber DNS to the Macintosh with its original QuickDNS Pro, which offered Internet domain-name lookup robust enough even for heavily trafficked Web sites. Version 2.2 builds on that base by improving ease of use, performance, and security, boosting the Mac’s credibility as a self-contained Internet server.
QuickDNS Pro is easy to install and includes an excellent online (PDF) user’s manual. This version retains its predecessor’s user-friendly interface, with wizards that lead you through the process of creating various DNS records. Alternatively, you can use the supplied batch-conversion tool to translate DNS records from a text-based DNS server, such as those bundled with Unix and Windows. The product also offers secondary DNS service and dynamic load balancing, two features that enhance a Web-server farm’s reliability.
New in this version is the ability to import records directly into the server via the administration application, streamlining the process of converting from another platform. Also new is a wizard that automates the creation of classless reverse domain files, a time-consuming and tedious manual process with traditional DNS servers.
This version adds an important security feature that prevents DNS spoofing, a technique for redirecting e-mail or other traffic from its intended destination to a hacker’s server. You can also restrict zone transfers to specific secondary servers to further protect domain information.
Other new features give you control over the amount of detail in DNS activity logs and add performance improvements that take advantage of fast G3 processors. In tests against Apple’s MacDNS (part of AppleShare IP 6.1), QuickDNS Pro delivered 150 times as many cached and noncached responses per minute as MacDNS. On a Power Mac G3/300 running OS 8.5, QuickDNS Pro easily kept up with Sun’s Solaris Unix DNS server running on a 300MHz Intel box.
QuickDNS Pro still can’t display the contents of the secondary domains it’s serving, but it now includes a debugging tool, DNS Expert, which checks for consistency of DNS information across domains.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
If you want to avoid the tedium of Unix DNS administration, QuickDNS Pro 2.2 delivers all the performance you could want, plus a feature set that goes far beyond the DNS servers bundled with Unix and Windows.