First of all, what is dynamic DNS? A Dynamic DNS (DDNS or DynDNS) is a system for mapping domain names to IP addresses. This allows a single web address to point to a changing IP address, which is great for home users as IP addresses don’t always stay the same.
If you want to remotely connect to your PC or set up a home web server, dynamic DNS is one of the easiest ways to set things up.
So what are the best free dynamic DNS options? Is it worth using? Here is all you need to know.
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The best free dynamic DNS providers
DynDNS has always been a major mention for free dynamic DNS services. But now that it’s gone, are there any good alternatives that have emerged? Let’s take a look at five DNS providers that can be worthy of claiming your home network setup.
Dynu’s dynamic DNS service allows both top level domains (using your own domain) and third level domains (entering a subdomain on dynu.com). Top-level domains will work regardless of the country to which the domain belongs. Coupled with its convenient features, Dynu is easily the best free dynamic DNS service today.
The great thing is that Dynu makes setup easy by providing a Dynu client that runs on your computer in the background. Every time your IP address changes, the client will automatically update Dynu so you never have to worry about getting out of sync.
Free accounts can have up to 4 subdomains . Upgrade to a paid account for $ 9.99 per year to unlock 500 total subdomains and advanced Dynu features like unlimited web redirection, unlimited MX records, unlimited custom DNS records, DNSSEC, backup and restore, And much more.
Don’t let the strange name of fear.org scare you. This free dynamic DNS service – they also offer other types of free hosting – is easily one of the best free dynamic DNS services.
You get five free subdomains on the domain options of fear.org . You can also use an unlimited number of your own domains if you wish, plus 20 subdomains for each. Account setup takes less than five minutes, DNS scoring is instant, and there are over 55,000 domains to choose from through their shared domain pool. Free URL forwarding is also available.
Premium accounts, which start at $ 5 per month, get 50 additional subdomains, generic DNS, and three stealth flags to hide your domains from any kind of sharing mechanism through the service. If you pay for the higher premium options ($ 10, $ 25, $ 50), you can increase your subdomain and stealth metrics as well. The $ 25 and $ 50 per month levels also provide professional branding.
DuckDNS is a free DDNS service built using Amazon’s AWS infrastructure. Their website is extremely basic, but that’s good because Dynamic DNS is such a simple service that it doesn’t really call for extravagance. DuckDNS is truly one of the best free dynamic DNS providers.
That being said, the poor design of their website is indicative of what they offer: DuckDNS only does one thing and puts all of its effort into it. It makes sense once you realize that DuckDNS is only run by two software engineers (albeit engineers with extensive industry experience).
What’s great is that they have a bunch of tutorials written which will help you configure DuckDNS on a variety of platforms ranging from Windows, OS X and Linux to DD-WRT, Amazon EC2 and same Raspberry Pi .
Accounts can have up to five subdomains on duckdns.org . Plus, they keep as little of your data as possible and store all the necessary details in a private database that will never be sold.
No-IP has always been one of DynDNS’s biggest competitors in the free dynamic DNS market (DynDNS was launched in 1998, No-IP was launched in 1999), and when DynDNS went down it was well placed to take the crown. Unfortunately, it has slowly evolved into a premium service over the past few years.
Free users get three subdomains on a limited selection of domain name options . But these subdomains will never expire until you confirm activity every 30 days. You also get port forwarding and URL forwarding, which can be useful depending on your use case. It’s a pretty basic but robust package.
For $ 24.95 per year, you can upgrade to 25 subdomains out of over 80 domain name options and eliminate the need to confirm activity to keep your subdomains. If you want to use your own domain, you’ll need to upgrade to the $ 29.95 per year package, which also increases the total of subdomains to 50.
5. Securepoint DynDNS
Although the Securepoint DynDNS website is not easy to navigate, their free dynamic DNS service is well worth it. You will see what they offer right on the first page: Free and Secure Dynamic DNS absolutely free, even if you are not a Securepoint customer.
As a free user you will be able to create up to 5 hosts using Securepoint DynDNS . And you have the option of 10 different domains as the basis for your dynamic DNS addresses. Securepoint DynDNS uses an update token system for security (only the host that knows the update token can update dynamic DNS settings) and supports IPv6 addresses.
Overall, it’s a fairly straightforward service with no bells or whistles. Note that Securepoint is a German company, which will not affect you in terms of dynamic DNS efficiency, but you will still need to browse in basic German.
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Which free dynamic DNS service is right for you?
If you ever want to set up some sort of web server using a home box, chances are you will have to manage a dynamic IP address which could change at any time. Remember that dynamic DNS allows you to use a single address that can point to you, regardless of your IP address. (Need to know more? Consult our introduction to DNS servers .)