Primary DNS zone vs. Secondary DNS zone

The comparison Primary DNS zone vs Secondary DNS zone often raises questions in the inexperienced and those just entering in the Domain Name System world. Can we use only the Primary DNS zone, or do we need to implement the Secondary DNS zone? Today in our article, we will take a detailed look at these zone types and how they function. So, let’s bring it on.

What exactly is a DNS zone?

The DNS server you’re using can handle many zones to manage the DNS namespace better. The DNS zone is a part of the domain namespace. In most cases, DNS or web hosting companies delegate it, which are responsible for managing the DNS. A DNS zone is also an administrative function, it allows control over the most important DNS components, such as the authoritative name servers.

It would be best to direct your domain to numerous servers, such as web servers, mail servers, and so on, to function effectively. You can do it by adding different DNS records to the DNS zone.

The DNS zone is the storage location for all DNS records. It is also the only component accountable for the Domain Name System’s existence (DNS). Furthermore, the DNS zone contains information about DNS records and administrative contact information for the DNS zone and zone parameters.

A DNS zone, for example, can be relevant for .uk,, and so on. However, examining a subdomain as a standalone website will necessitate dedicated administration. As a result, the subdomain will require its zone.

What is the definition of the Primary DNS Zone?

A Master DNS Zone is another name for the Primary DNS Zone. You have control over that specific area of the namespace. There, you can remove and add DNS records and manage your domain name to your preference. If you’re going to administer the domain, every component of it, that is, every host you want to manage, might be a separate Primary DNS Zone. In addition, a domain name can only have one Primary DNS Zone.

The Primary DNS zone is a DNS administrative unit that allows authority over the section (zone) permitted by the DNS hierarchy’s higher levels. 

What does a Secondary DNS zone mean?

The DNS Secondary Zone is a read-only copy of the primary (Master) DNS zone records. It is also known as the Backup DNS zone or the Slave DNS zone. It is critical to understand that DNS records such as A or AAAA, MX, and others cannot be directly added to the Secondary DNS zone. The only way for the records you’ve refreshed to reach your Backup zone is through а transfer from the Primary DNS server/s  (Master DNS zone).  So, if you need to keep your DNS records in the Backup zone up to date, you must first update them on your primary server.

Primary DNS zone vs Secondary DNS zone – the difference

You may be a little confused about what exactly is the difference between these two areas, as they contain the same thing from what has been explained above. Yes, they do. But in fact, the Backup DNS zone cannot exist on its own. The only significant distinction is how the resources are stored on the server. The original zone files are kept in the primary, while a copy is in the secondary. That is, updates to record configurations appear differently.