Run a Home OS X Server with Dynamic DNS

Ever thought about starting up your own website? Need to access your home computers from the outside world? Set up a security camera system and want to view it remotely? Since most internet service plans have a dynamic or changing IP address, any reason you can think of to contact your home network has to work with an IP address that could change at any moment.

You can solve this problem with Dynamic DNS. Here’s how it works:

What are Dynamic IP addresses?

Most home internet packages include a dynamic IP. What this means is that when your address is renewed or you power cycle your DSL / Cable modem, your IP may change. ISPs do this to keep addresses from becoming assigned and used up – not everyone is connected at the same time. You can pay a little extra for an assigned or static IP which doesn’t change. Most people have a dynamic IP by default.

What Dynamic DNS does:

DNS, as your know, is the translation of a site (www.interrupt19.com) to an IP address. When you run a site or handle a server with a domain name, you have to point that name to an IP. With a changing or dynamic IP and a server, when that address changes your clients (visitors) will be lost and your site inaccessible You can monitor and update this to keep it from happening but I think you’ve got better things to do. Besides, DNS records take time to propagate and your site could be down for a while.

Dynamic DNS seamlessly automates and updates its DNS/IP records for you. Just sign up for the service, point your site to the Dynamic DNS provider’s name servers, install their updating application / service / daemon on your server and whenever the IP changes, it will notify the provider and the records will instantly change. IP changing downtime is now measured in the seconds rather than minutes or hours.

Dynamic DNS Providers:

If you want to run a server yourself, or easily contact your home network, here are some recommended Dynamic DNS providers that are Mac friendly and domain registration is not required:

DynDNS
No-IP

ChangeIP is another Dynamic DNS provider but they’re very Windows focused.

Also, many Routers / APs support Dynamic DNS. You can set them up to be your updating client and not worry about OS X client support. Log into your Router / AP and look for a Dynamic DNS section, most likely under an Advanced menu.

Please Note:

This article is intended for personal or small sites / traffic needs only. If you expect or begin to receive a large amount of traffic, either transfer your site to a web hosting provider or get a business class internet connection that allows this. Many home / personal internet service agreements do not allow you to run a server from home and you may run afoul of your agreement if you push too much traffic.

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