Dynamic DNS with Custom Domains

Oct 13

Dynamic DNS with Custom Domains

I’ve always loved the DynDNS service. They provide a Dynamic DNS service which is handy for home power users. It allows you to have a domain name and subdomain combo tied to your IP, even if it changes from day to day you can still access your newly updated IP address via your dynamic DNS name. The only problem with the free DynDNS service is you are severely limited on choices for domain names. If you want to use a custom domain name, you have to pay upwards of $30 per year, on top of the price you pay for your domain name, which most are roughly $10 per year. That means to use a custom domain name with DynDNS you’d need to shell out $40 per year for the service.

I’ve found a way around that. You’ll obviously need to have your own domain name, and on top of that you’ll need to have access to edit your DNS zones. Most hosts provide this through their cPanel installation, but if not you can likely contact customer support to set this up.

First thing is first, you’ll need to sign yourself up for a free DynDNS account. Click their logo below to get started.

After you sign up for an account you’ll want to follow their directions to get the auto-updater working, this is required for when your IP address changes, it allows you to still have your DynDNS service uninterrupted. If you’re a power user and have a Linksys WRT54GL router, or other router capable of running custom firmware, Tomato supports updating your DynDNS account whenever your IP changes and/or at a set interval. I run with the Tomato method so there is no extra software running on my home PC.

After you can successfully use your DynDNS account, you’ll want to set up your DNS zones on your domain. As stated before, you’ll want to check to see if you have access to this in your administration interface (cPanel) and if not contact customer support.

You’ll need to add a subdomain as a CNAME record in DNS. This will basically alias your new custom subdomain to your DynDNS account. For example:

custom.yourdomain.com          CNAME          your.dyndns.org

After that is set you will want to allow it time to propagate across the internet. Your best bet might be to actually leave it alone and not try it for a day or two.

Once you see that it works, open up your ports in your router for what you’re trying to accomplish with DynDNS and start using it with your custom domain instead!

Some of you might be asking what the point to this would be… but I constantly see people giving away their IP address as a TeamSpeak server or game server, which you could be dishing out your custom domain name instead. Things like this are what made me wonder if it was possible to accomplish this without paying DynDNS the huge fee they want, and I succeeded. I hope this helps someone else do the same down the road.

UPDATE: However I must point out, that if you’re not as savvy with DNS and don’t really follow this post, then I should point out that DynDNS offers the custom DNS which should be much more user-friendly and they’re much more than willing to offer support on any issues you have. I’ll be trying their service out over the next year, so look for new posts about how it works. I’m looking forward to it!


7 comments

  1. Nice use for our free services. However, I did want to point out that for $15/yr you can use our Dynamic DNS Pro service which lets you have up to 32 hostnames in your account. Also, you can select hostnames from over 170 different domains. It’s a perfect solution if you don’t feel like paying for Custom DNS and a domain name.

    • Thanks for the heads up. I didn’t mean any harm by the post, it was just something I was experimenting with and it worked. If this is in any way damaging to the company or you wish that I take it down you have my full cooperation, please just let me know!

  2. I was just looking for this info for a while. After couple of hours searching the net I finally discovered your website, thanks 🙂

  3. Instead of using CNAME, wouldn’t it be nice if it updates the A record whenever your IP changes.

    If your hosting company is using cpanel, then you don’t need a dyndns account, which is not free anymore anyway.

    I just wrote a Java program that serves this purpose. Check it out and let me know if it works for you. 😉

    http://download.sleepingdumpling.com/bluejay/BlueJay-1.2.zip

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