WiscNet's DNS Service

When it comes to DNS, WiscNet wears two hats:


  • We are the delegated Top-Level Domain Administrator and Registrar to some .US subdomains and
  • we also host DNS records in our Authoritative DNS servers



Domain Registration vs Domain Hosting

Most of the commercial DNS Registrars sell domain registration and DNS hosting as one service. WiscNet is different. We treat Domain Registration and Domain Hosting as two separate services. One is free, the other is not.

WiscNet Domain Registration

WiscNet is the Top Level Domain (TLD) name server and registrar for a few .US subdomains, which are called Locality domains. This means the world comes to WiscNet to register these domains. WiscNet does not charge for domain registration.

WiscNet is the registrar for following .US Locality domains:

  • k12.wi.us
  • tec.wi.us
  • lib.wi.us

When an entity wants any of the domains above, they must contact WiscNet and fill out a support request.  An entity does not need to be a WiscNet member to register any of these domains. Neither does WiscNet charge registration fees for any of these domains.

WiscNet does not have the authority to register .com, .edu, .org, or .info, or any other domain besides the domains listed above. 

WiscNet DNS Hosting Service

WiscNet offers a DNS zone hosting service for WiscNet members only. The cost for hosting your DNS records is part of the Membership fee.

DNS Hosting Documentation:

DNS Zone Transfers

These steps do not include other network changes that may need to happen as part of the reason for the zone transfer.

A zone transfer is the process of moving the contents of the DNS zone file from an Authoritative DNS Server to another. The descriptions below give you an idea of the steps involved in zone transfers in different scenarios.

The steps to transfer the DNS zone to our DNS server vary according to your existing domain.

When Joining WiscNet

k12.wi.us / tec.wi.us / lib.wi.us

All other domains


WiscNet is the official registrar for these domains. Our techs will take care of updating the registration records.We will work with you to ensure your current DNS records are properly configured in our DNS Authoritative Servers.

Zone Hosting

Contact the existing registrar of your domain and find out the procedure to point your domain to our DNS Authoritative Servers

We will work with you to ensure your current DNS records are properly configured in our DNS Authoritative Servers.

When Leaving WiscNet

RegistrationWiscNet will ask you to fill out the WiscNet Domain Registration Form. The form will ask you for the new DNS Authoritative host name and IP address. WiscNet will update our DNS authoritative files to point the world to your new DNS authoritative server.You will work with your Domain Registrar to provide them with the new DNS Authoritative Server hostname and IP address.
Zone HostingYou will provide you with a copy of your DNS zone so that you can configure your new DNS host to resolve your DNS records accordingly.WiscNet will remove your DNS zone upon the date that you leave the Membership. Please make sure that your new DNS Hosting server has your updated DNS records to avoid service interruption.

Go Deeper

What is DNS

It stands for Domain Name System. DNS is like a phone directory to the Internet.

We humans access information online thought domain names, like www.google.com. But the web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc), find the content through IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. DNS translates domain names into IP addresses so the browsers can load the content on your computer, or phone, screens.

If DNS is not working, the Internet doesn’t work.

What is a DNS Zone?

A DNS zone where information is stored about a domain that is managed by by an Authoritative DNS Server. It contains all the DNS records for a particular domain. Any name that translates to an IP for a particular domain is hosted in a DNS Zone for that domain.

How does DNS work?

 Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes when you type www.google.com in your browser?

  1. You enter www.example.com in your browser
  2. Your browser and the operating system in your computer first determine if they already know what the IP address for www.example.com is. Here is where it can be “cached”
  3. If not known, the operating system of your computer is configured with a the IP address of a *resolving nameserver*  . The resolving nameserver may or may not have the resolution cached.
  4. If the resolving nameserver does not have the resolution cached, it queries the Root name servers.
  5. The Root name server will send the query to the TLD (Top Level Domain) name server, or the .com name server
  6. The TLD servers will point the request to the authoritative name servers. The example.com name servers

How does the TLD servers know who the Authoritative Name Servers to Use?

They do with the help of the Domain Registrars. WiscNet is a Domain Registrar for the k12.wi.us domain. The difference between WiscNet and other registrars is that WiscNet does not charge for registration. Any entity that wants to register a k12.wi.us domain can fill out a DNS registration form in our website free of charge.

Another difference between WiscNet and other registrars is that WiscNet only hosts DNS zones for WiscNet members.