There are two nameserver configuration types:
- Authoritative nameservers answer to resource records that are part of their zones only. This category includes both primary (master) and secondary (slave) nameservers.
- Recursive nameservers offer resolution services, but they are not authoritative for any zone. Answers for all resolutions are cached in a memory for a fixed period of time, which is specified by the retrieved resource record.
Although a nameserver can be both authoritative and recursive at the same time, it is recommended not to combine the configuration types. To be able to perform their work, authoritative servers should be available to all clients all the time. On the other hand, since the recursive lookup takes far more time than authoritative responses, recursive servers should be available to a restricted number of clients only, otherwise they are prone to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.