Unless you are paying a premium, often, ISPs only provide you with dynamic IPs. This is understandable because the number of IPv4 addresses is very limited. In case you don’t know, a dynamic IP is nothing but an IP that changes every time you connect to your ISP network or when your ISP decides it’s time to rotate the IP.
If you have any sort of home server or connected devices, dynamic IPs make it almost impossible to access them via the Internet. This is because the IP address is constantly changing. That is where the Dynamic DNS comes into play. A Dynamic DNS syncs your dynamic IP address with a static hostname so that you can access your home server from a static address without worrying about the changing IP address.
For a long time, DynDNS is the choice from many users. DynDNS is pretty good at what it does and has almost every feature you’ll ever need like awesome premium domain names, multiple hostnames, rapid propagation, etc., as a home user. However, as good as it is if you want to use DynDNS you need to pay $55 per year. Depending on where you live and what you use dynamic DNS for, $55 pricey. Moreover, DynDNS is constantly increasing the prices year over year.
So, here are some of the DynDNS alternatives you can try for free.
I know the domain name is a bit strange but don’t underestimate the free dynamic DNS service provided by Afraid.org. In fact, compared to DynDNS or any other dynamic DNS service listed here, Afraid.org is far more customizable and a ton of options to choose from.
For starters, as a free user, you can have 5 hostnames and choose from 60,000 plus domains. If you already have a domain name, you can use that as your address. Additionally, you’ll also be able to create sub-domains for your domain, reverse IPv6 DNS hosting, support multiple IP addresses for one hostname, URL cloaking, URL redirection, custom vanity nameservers, fast domain propagation, etc. All this for free.
If you are looking for a feature filled free dynamic DNS service, then do give Afraid.org a try. You’ll not be disappointed.
2. Duck DNS
If you are looking for a simple and free service that allows you to access your home server no matter where you are then Duck DNS is for you. Duck DNS uses Amazon EC2 instances so there will be no downtime whatsoever. Additionally, Duck DNS will give you your own Duck DNS subdomain to the IP address of your choice. The best thing about Duck DNS is that there are detailed instructions on their site to almost all the major operating systems and router manufacturers to help set up Duck DNS as quickly as possible.
As good as it is, when compared to DynDNS, Duck DNS lacks some features like rapid propagation and access to multiple premium sub-domains. It also has no support for custom domain names. If you are looking for a completely free service and don’t mind fiddling a bit, then you should try Duck DNS.
When it comes to Dynamic DNS services, No-IP not only offers free tier but is also one of the most popular and has all the features you’ll need as a home user. When you sign up as a free user, you get to create up to three different hostnames to link with your dynamic IP address. Once linked, you can use their client to keep the hostname up-to-date. Just like Duck DNS, No-IP supports all major operating systems and router manufactures for easy configuration.
No-IP is good at what it does and is better integrated and easy to use. However, one thing I don’t like about No-IP is that as a free user you need to confirm your account every 30 days by clicking on the link sent by No-IP to your registered email address. Otherwise, the service might be interrupted.
Securepoint Dynamic DNS is specifically created for Securepoint products like their firewall. However, even if you don’t use any of the Securepoint products, you can still use their dynamic DNS without any problems for free. One of the best things about Securepoint is its support for IPv6 addresses.
As a free user, you will get to create up to 5 hostnames and from nearly 10 domains. After creating the hostname, you can protect it using update tokens so that only the authorized users can update the IP address. Do keep in mind that though Securepoint has their own client, there is no official support for routers. Depending on what router you are using, you may need to put in some work if you want your router to use Securepoint.
EntryDNS has a few more features over DynDNS. Namely, EntryDNS gives you access to their REST API so that power users can change or update DNS records as and when needed from their own applications. Additionally, EntryDNS supports 25 hostnames, 25 domain names, multiple record types, DNSSEC, has rapid propagation, and has built-in support for anycast and hybrid unicast.
Though the basic service is free, you need to pay a one-time registration fee of $10. For advanced features like support for IPv6, custom vanity nameservers, VPN support, etc., you need to subscribe to their pro version which costs you $10 per year. Compared to DynDNS, $10 per year is reasonable considering you’ll get access to DNSSEC, VPN, etc., which are not available in DynDNS.
Dynu dynamic DNS is another free service that gives you access to multiple hostnames and domains to link your IP addresses. Just like Afriad.org, you can add your own custom domain names, if you already have. Additionally, for power users, Dynu gives access to their API so that you can control the whole process via your custom applications. Other features for free users include offline mode and URL or web redirects. Most of all, setting up Dynu is easy.
If you are willing to pay $9.99 per month, you can host an unlimited number of domains and have access to other advanced features like DNSSEC, vanity name servers, detailed logs, email notifications, and zone transfers. That being said, if your needs are simple, the free tier is plenty enough.
DNSExit is a straightforward and simple dynamic DNS service. Just signup for a free account, either select their free secondary domain name or add your own domain, link it to DNSExit and you are good to go. Of course, you need to install the DNS client and/or update the router settings. Since the service is simple and there are no confusing options to deal with, it is a good choice to beginner users who are simply looking for a static address for their dynamic IP address in order access their home server or other devices from the internet.
All in all, compared to DynDNS, DNSExit lacks in terms of features but makes it up with its ease of use. So, if you don’t mind the lack of advanced features the give DNSExit a try.
8. DUIA DNS
DUIA DNS is another free dynamic DNS service that lets you 2 hostnames. DUIA DNS has rapid propagation and supports multiple domain records to add your own custom domain. Compared to DynDNS or other dynamic DNS services in this list, one unique thing about DUIA DNS is that it supports IPv6 for LAN communication between devices in your home network. Of course, DUIA has its own DNS client to sync IP addresses and has detailed instructions if you want to configure your router to work with DUIA.
One thing to keep in mind is that free users are limited to 12 DNS updates per day. Which simply means that the IP address is only synced with DUIA once every 2 hours. For unlimited DNS updates and advanced features like support for Apple Airport, additional DNS records, etc., you need to upgrade to their pro plan.
Hope that helps. Comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above dynamic DNS services. Also, do let me know if you think I missed any of your favorite dynamic DNS services.