What Is Dynamic DNS And How Can It Help Me?

Article (PSA-0014)
Submitted by: Billy Joe Long, Owner
Company: PSA Computer Services
Titled: What Is Dynamic DNS And How Can It Help Me?
Original release date: August 14, 2020

What Is Dynamic DNS And How Can It Help Me?

If you are going to be setting up a server to host a service which you plan on offering to the ‘outside world’ (external to your network), a problem you may run into revolves around your ISP (Internet Service Provider) providing you with a dynamic public IP address instead of a static public IP address.

Dynamic IP Addresses

A dynamic IP address is given to you for a designated amount of time. At the end of this designated time your ISP may give you a different IP address or reassign the same IP address to you again. This does not affect any services on your local network, and in most cases is completely transparent to you and your local network users. It does become a significant problem when you are offering external services, such as a website or hosting a game server for instance.

Static IP Addresses

A static IP address, as its name states, does not change. Static IP addresses geerally cost extra – if your ISP even offers the service.

What Is DNS? And Why Is It Necessary?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. Domain names are easier to remember than a bunch of numbers. For example, most people type google.com to visit the search engine instead of typing its IP address – Another example is typing psa-2.com to visit the PSA Computer Services support website instead of typing its IP address – Think of DNS like you would phone numbers stored on your phone. You typically look for a name when you want to make a call. It is the same principal – the name has a phone number associated with it. When you click the name to make a call, your phone converts that action to the phone number and completes your call. DNS services work in a similar fashion – it uses a name, such as psa-2.com, and associates the name with an IP address. When you type psa-2.com into your browser, it is converted to an IP address, and you are then connected to the service using the IP address.

The Dynamic IP Address Issue

This dynamic IP address provided to you by your ISP is a problem because your IP address is how external users can find your network and the service(s) you are hosting on the internet. You can think of your IP address as a street address. It tells people how to get to your webserver, game server or other service you are offering. If this address is constantly changing, then you you would need to contact your users and let them know what your current IP address is every time it changes, if you want them to have access to your hosted service. For most people or businesses hosting public services from their local networks, this is not feasible.

The Dynamic DNS Solution

This is where dynamic DNS comes in. Dynamic DNS is a service that you can setup directly on most routers or on a server directly using a dynamic DNS client application. A dynamic DNS provider, such as DynDns or NoIP, provides you with a custom domain name. The dynamic DNS service then associates your new custom domain name with your current dynamic IP address. Every time your dynamic IP address changes, the service updates your custom domain name with your new IP address. Now all you have to do to allow your users access to your public service is provide them with your custom domain name provided to you by your chosen dynamic DNS service provider. Every time your IP address changes the service will update your custom domain name with the new IP address, and your users will continue to have access to your service.

Problem Solved

If you would like more information about Dynamic DNS and what it can do for you or your business give us a call.