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What's the difference between DNS and WINS?

In this response, our expert, Chris Partsenidis, explains the differences between DNS and WINS.

What's the difference between DNS and WINS?

DNS refers to the Domain Name System -- a widely used service in networks all over the world. DNS was created to serve the Internet Network, but also our LAN (Local Area Network).

WINS, on the other hand, refers to Windows Internet Naming Service created by Microsoft and was used in the older Windows NT4 networks as the services provided by the domain, were heavily depended on it. Today, WINS servers are not that common except in specific applications and network conditions where they must exist.

Because the majority of networks use DNS these days, Windows 2000 and 2003 have migrated away from WINS and use DNS mainly.

While both services do identical jobs, that is, translate domains and hostnames into IP addresses, DNS has become the number one standard for name resolution and it surely won't change for a long time!

Hope that helps.


This was last published in September 2006

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