What drives No-IP?
We strive to be at the forefront of technology, using a whole lot of quality hardware and Open Source software everywhere it'll fit.
The Internet is a big place, with many ways to get from where you started to where you want to go. It's also a place where lots of things can go wrong-- a veritable packet graveyard. So it makes sense that No-IP's facilities are located in multiple locations for performance and availability.
We have servers, DNS and monitoring systems in the following locations: Chicago, New Jersey, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose, Ashburn, Miami, Amsterdam, London, Singapore and Tokyo. At all locations, we use only the highest quality equipment, including F5 Networks equipment for application load balancing, Cisco routers and switches for IP connectivity and Supermicro for dependable servers.
As a DNS and mail provider, we need rock solid software to power our services. As a web service, we need to write web pages on the fly and serve them to thousands of viewers. We need to keep databases of customer information--a LOT of it. Finally, we have to perform behind-the-scenes administrative work, which is harder than it looks. A lot of web shops use proprietary solutions for these tasks, but we've felt from the outset that those solutions are the wrong way to go. The Open Source movement has produced tools that do these tasks with lower cost, higher quality and greater freedom. No-IP has always been an advocate for Open Source software. We not only use it, we write it, too.
Our use of Open Source starts at the underpinnings of our systems: the operating system. Early on, we chose Red Hat Linux for its reliability, support and security. 10 million customers later, and we're still a 100% Red Hat shop.
No-IP uses the Apache httpd server software as the basis of our web presence. It's hard to overstate the importance of Apache, as 63% of the world's web servers run it. The server is fast, secure and easy to modify.
Along with Apache, we use MySQL database to store information. MySQL is another cornerstone in the Open Source toolbox. It offers outstanding performance without the heavy system footprint and administrative complexity of commercial offerings. And most importantly, it’s free. No-IP's MySQL databases hold millions of customer configurations, our DNS information and our Email and monitoring settings.
For our core name services, we use the most evolved DNS software around, BIND--the Berkeley Internet Name Daemon. The latest version, BIND 9, is well established as a performance and security bedrock. In fact, the server network that handles the root-level domains (.com, .org, and .net) runs BIND. No-IP uses this same software to answer over four billion DNS queries a month.
Email and Spam Prevention
Another key No-IP service is email. Here we use another open source tool, Qmail, which is so secure that a $500 reward for a found exploit has never been claimed. Since the rise of spam and viruses, a modern email system spends a lot of time figuring out what NOT to send. To help keep your mail spam-free, we use the software and services provided by Spam Cop, SpamHaus, Spam Assassin and DSpam. To ward off viruses, we use Clam AntiVirus (which is a lot less seedy than it sounds).
No-IP uses two different programming languages, each suited to a particular set of tasks. For our web pages, we use PHP, a language designed specifically to be embedded in HTML and executed as the page as being served. PHP is easy to learn, powerful and can be pre-compiled for speed. When you use No-IP's web site, the pages you see are generated right then and there by PHP. It provides our "public" face.
For back end work, we write code in Perl. This language has been around for a long time, with legendary text processing capabilities, only matched by other languages that simply copy it. In a nutshell, Perl is infinitely capable, maddening and simply indispensable. We use it for many tasks that simply can't be done any other way.
Finally, we also produce some Open Source software. Our primary effort is the Dynamic Update Client, which our users run to keep their server's names updated in DNS. This program is available for both UNIX and Windows. The UNIX version is Open Source under the GNU General Public License and will remain so. We also contribute to other Open Source projects hosted at Sorceforge.net.