Setting up a home server with a dynamic IP address

It’s something that’s been on my mind for awhile and I haven’t had the time to get it setup but thanks to Adam, who’s continual delving into the technology undergrounds forced me to compete, I have enhanced my previously simplistic home server.

I’d like to run through how to setup your home computer so you can access it from anywhere. One of the big problems for most is the fact that you have a dynamic IP address, which changes regularly and therefore you can’t really point a domain name to the IP address as it will later change and render it useless.

1. Setup your server to use a Dynamic DNS Service

To overcome this you can use a free dynamic DNS service such as no-ip or dyndns . These sites require you to install a simple application on your server which then notifies their DNS when your IP has changed. No-IP is the service I am using and it seems to work well. Basically, you register an account and then under “Hosts/Redirects”, add your IP address of your server (if you are using your server to create the account, this will show automatically) and assign a name to it. Select the first radio button “DNS Host (A)” as per the screen shot below:

Adding a host

2. Installing the Dynamic DNS update tool

After you have done this, you’ll need to install the application on your server from here. After installation open the application and click the edit button to login:

No-IP Application

If your server has been successfully updated to No-IPs DNS, then you’ll see the server appear in the list and a smiley face. At this stage, you have successfully setup your server to be accessed from the domain name you selected but you won’t be able to do anything so now we have to get your server applications going!

2. Allow applications access and forwarding your ports

If you want to run server applications, such as vibeStreamer (to access your music anywhere), an FTP server (to access your files), the uTorrent web interface (for your torrents), or a web server (to run a web applications using IIS), you will need to forward the ports on your router and allow access on any firewall software you may have. All of these applications have certain port numbers that they require to be open to allow communication. It should be easy enough to find these port numbers within the settings of the applications or by googling. To forward your ports on your router, have a read of the guide for your router at portforward . If you’re using Windows Firewall, you will need to make exceptions as well. Read Microsoft’s guide here. You will need to allow the application and also add an exception for the port number (the same as when you port forwarded on your router).

Once this is done, you should be able to access your server apps from your chosen domain name. An example of how you may access vibestreamer for example:

http://myserver.hopto.org:8081/

With any luck, that should work.

Next challenge: ISA Server

7 thoughts on “Setting up a home server with a dynamic IP address”

  1. Thanks for the plug mate,

    Further to this, you might consider using a CNAME on your regular domain name’s DNS server to forward to this dynamic hostname.

    For example:

    server.langley.id.au might have a CNAME pointer to langley.hopto.org

    This way you can keep your external server naming convention consistent with the one you use internally.

  2. Currently i have setup:
    – Vibestreamer
    – uTorrent web interface
    – FTP
    – IIS

    My aim is to be able to access most of the services I use locally, or from my home network, remotely. For example, I want to be able to access my files, listen to my music, download stuff to my file system etc.

    I’ve also been playing around with IIS, and it seems simple enough. I might consider hosting my site myself as I don’t really get that much traffic.

  3. Hey there. Stumbled across this while trying to determine if its feasible to set up a server with a dynamic ip address…what is the typical “refresh” time for a new address to propagate through the DNS servers…(this might be the wrong terminology) basically i’m trying to ask if there is any delay or down time when a new address is assigned…thanks for your help!

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