Dynamic DNS can be a hard concept to understand. Trust me, I get it. If you had asked me two years ago what Dynamic DNS was, I would have said something like, “Uh Dynamic DN… What?” Dynamic DNS is what we use to help you remotely access devices like routers, cameras, and DVRs. So how exactly do we do this?
Tech Terms You Need to Know
This article will walk you through what DNS and Dynamic DNS are and how they relate to No-IP. However, you need to know a few simple tech terms before proceeding. Knowing these three terms will help the rest of the blog make sense.
IP Address: Every Internet-connected device is assigned an IP address. An IP address is a unique set of numbers that identifies a device. An IP address can be any set of 4 numbers from 0 to 255and looks like this: 126.96.36.199. There are also IPv6 addresses that look like, 2001:db8::1.
Domain Name: A domain name is a unique label attached to one or many IP addresses. For example, noip.com is the domain name that sends users to the IP address 188.8.131.52, which connects them to our website. If it weren’t for DNS, you would need to know the IP address of every website you want to visit. So, you wouldn’t type noip.com into your browser to access our website, you would need to type 184.108.40.206.
Hostname: A hostname is a prefix before a domain name that works to connect you to your network connected device like a computer, router, IP camera or DVR. Common hostnames include www, ftp, and mail, but any name can be used as a hostname. An example of a No-IP hostname may be mycamera.ddns.net. In this example, the domain is ddns.net and the hostname is mycamera.
What is DNS
Before we explain Dynamic DNS, you need to understand how DNS works. DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is the system used to track all the devices connected to the Internet like routers, computers, servers etc. It works by connecting a name to the IP address associated with that device.
DNS works a lot like your cellphone’s contact list does. When you want to call your mom you just click on her name and it dials her phone number. You don’t need to know what her number is because your phone is programmed to associate her name with that number. This also works with websites, meaning you don’t need to remember 220.127.116.11 to find our website, you just need to know noip.com.
What is Dynamic DNS and Why is it Important
Dynamic DNS is most useful when an Internet-connected device is located on a network that has an IP address that is always changing. This type of IP address is called a dynamic IP address and is issued to you by your Internet Service Provider unless you purchase a static IP address. Imagine if your mom’s phone number changed every day. It would be almost impossible to reach her unless she called you, or you got a notification when her number changed.
This is what happens to a device if it is located on a network with a dynamic IP address. A dynamic IP address changes from time to time, making it hard to keep track of. Especially because your ISP doesn’t send a notification when it changes.
To solve this problem, people use Dynamic DNS. Dynamic DNS works by detecting when your IP address changes and sets the dynamic IP address to a static hostname like camera1.ddns.net. Then anytime the IP address changes, an update goes to a server, telling it to change the IP address attached to the hostname. This ensures a device is always reachable by the hostname, no matter how many times the IP address changes.
How Does Dynamic DNS Relate to No-IP
We are a Dynamic DNS provider. This means we allow you to create a free hostname connected to one of our domains. You can then use that hostname to remotely access your router, computer or any other Internet-connected device. Once configured, this hostname connects you to your device and you will never need to remember the IP address again.
It is important to note that for this to work with No-IP you need to install our Dynamic Update Client or have a device that supports No-IP as an integrated Dynamic DNS provider.
So now that you understand how DDNS works, you may want to know what you can use it for.
Here are a few ideas to get you started!
- Host a Minecraft Server
- Remote Access an IP Camera
- Use Remote Desktop
- Connect to Your Tortoise Habitat or Other Pet Cam
- Access a DVR or NVR
- Connect to a File Server or NAS
- Access your Home Automation Devices
- Connect to a Security Panel or Camera