Before explaining how to get a free hostname for Dynamic DNS, I would like to explain what it is as this diagram leaves one feeling lost. Dynamic DNS is a way to update A records when an IP address has changed. Records are simply pointers to an IP address in DNS. An IP address is basically the phone number for your website, your modem, etc. They are similar to this: “126.96.36.199”. If you open a cmd prompt and type in “ping google.com”, it returns the Ip I just mentioned in the previous sentence. Numbers are hard for us to remember but words are much easier. So, DNS is basically a database that stores the related IP address to a URL. DNS knows, that www.google.com is the same as 188.8.131.52.
IP addresses can be static (they do not change) or they can be dynamic (they change from time to time). If you have a dynamic address or one that changes often, then it would be hard to keep up with making a connection to your Ip address. In this case, you can have a domain name that has an A record (or pointer) to the Ip address. In this scenario you would have to pay for the domain name. These are not terribly expensive, and some are rather inexpensive. There is another alternative that I will focus on in this article. No-IP offers a Free Hostname for Dynamic DNS
NO-IP offers 1 free hostname with Dynamic DNS. You will create an account and then choose a hostname along with one of about 80 domain names. For example, you might choose myhome.ddns.net. Creating a hostname is simple. You simply type in a hostname, from the dropdown under Domain pick a domain name, choose DNS Host (A) and enter your public IP address.
Don’t know how to get your public IP address? Simply open a browser and go to What Is My IP Address? – ifconfig.me
Once you have completed all the steps, then in your router that supports DDNS you will configure this new hostname in the DDNS section. If you do not have a router that supports DDNS, then NO-IP has an application for windows computers that monitors your IP address changes and modifies it on NO-IP to point to the new one.
If you are hosting something from your home computer/server/raspberry pi and don’t want to have you or your users remember the IP address, this is a free alternative to doing that. Keep in mind that if someone has this hostname.domain name you created, they will also have your public facing IP address. The last thing worth mentioning is that this is a free service but requires you to confirm once a month to keep it active. Don’t worry they will send you an email. You simply click on the link and confirm.
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