A Guide for Remote Workers, Small Businesses, Enterprises, and Gaming Enthusiasts
If your IP address is your phone number listing in the phone book, then Dynamic DNS (DDNS) is the call forwarding mechanism to ensure that if someone calls you at your old number, they can still reach you.
Though the process of DDNS may sound straightforward, there are many variables and considerations that go into selecting a provider for your unique needs. For example, do you use a VPN for work? Do you host a personal server for gaming with friends?
You’ll need to assess various features and characteristics of a DDNS provider based on how you responded to those questions in order to ensure a dependable, secure, and user-friendly experience with the provider you choose.
Home Users and Remote Workers
Most home internet providers have a dynamic IP address, which means that it rotates periodically, and can take time for the updated address to register with the DHCP server.
This can be burdensome while trying to utilize remote access to your home devices, file servers and VPN. If your IP address rotated on you without you knowing, you will not be able to access the information you’re seeking. People need to access their devices remotely for a variety of critical reasons: from checking in on home automation to overseeing connected devices like security cameras, which makes dynamic, inaccessible IPs troublesome.
By using a DDNS provider, you can create a hostname that points to your Dynamic IP address and ensures access to your devices and files when you need to most.
We see most home users needing three features from their DDNS provider:
- Ease of use: Setting up a DDNS can be a bit complicated. You need to update your router settings, which requires a fair amount of technical acumen. That’s why, from setup to working within the interface post-launch, good customer service is key. Look for a DDNS provider that has materials to guide you when you prefer doing self-service tactics, and the option for white glove premium support.
- Reliability: If you’re tapping into your home network, odds are you’re doing so for a reason that needs to be tended to quickly. Look for a DDNS provider who can guarantee uptime, and access so you’re not stuck without visibility.
- Security: It’s important that you have not only a reliable configuration, but a secure one as well. This wards off adversaries from tapping into your network when you’re not looking. Look for a DDNS provider who offers added security features like encryption, such as SSL or TLS, and two-factor authentication.
We see many small business owners and resellers, like camera installers, DVR installers and domain/hosting platforms that need a robust, reliable and secure DNS solution for their customers. They know that with dynamic IP addresses, they need a DDNS solution to keep DNS records up to date.
And sometimes, these business owners opt for either way-too-expensive technology or try to spin up a DDNS server on their own to save money.
Unfortunately, this process isn’t fool-proof and can lead to security mishaps, or reliability issues that wind up costing businesses more in the long-run. Unless you have specific experience in spinning up a DDNS server, it’s typically more cost-effective to leverage a DDNS provider with a full suite of offerings that can scale your business needs efficiently.
For those reasons, small business owners should consider a DDNS provider with features like:
- Scalability: Without a scalable validation engine for Dynamic DNS, which checks configured host names and resolves to the correct value, you cannot maintain resiliency, performance, or security across your networks. Look for scalable DDNS providers that have robust security and uptime processes and infrastructure to protect your files, devices and applications.
- Customization: Just because you’re outsourcing a service for DDNS doesn’t mean your customers need to know. Some DDNS providers have premium offerings like branded integrations and domains which acts as a white glove partnership, giving you the protection and credentials you need, but without the costs of managing it yourself.
- Integration: Look for a provider that uses open format protocols to make it easier for system integrators to deploy DDNS in products without having to manage different update methods.
Imagine running a major website like Amazon.com but your IP address kept changing. Consumers, who aren’t used to typing in IP addresses in number format, or don’t know the number format of Amazon’s dynamic IP, could not access the information they needed as the address rotates. That would be detrimental to Amazon’s revenue, every moment of downtime is money.
That’s why enterprises opt for DDNS providers in certain scenarios: to keep their business running.
Mature organizations oftentimes have fully developed tech stacks and infrastructure which makes it important to evaluate DDNS providers carefully. Will it work on, for example, a Windows environment? Can both servers and desktops register hostnames and IP addresses? Will the DDNS provider support IPv6?
If you’re looking for a DDNS provider at the enterprise level, consider the following features in your evaluation process:
- Security: The larger the organization, the more data you need to protect. Look for a DDNS provider that offers security features like encryption, such as SSL or TLS, to secure data or two-factor authentication. SSL is especially important when hosting your own content or exposing your devices to the internet. When using nonstandard ports the end-user has the responsibility to uphold the best security practices, making SSL a good idea for a secure connection.
- Reliability: Gauging the footprint of your DDNS provider is important. Some services have a limited footprint creating unexpected downtime, while others have a global presence that enables them to guarantee 100% uptime.
- Advanced customization: Some DDNS providers have limited customization tools and supporting products for organizations as they scale their business. Others provide options like hostnames that can be created on customers’ own domains, and advanced DNS records like A, AAAA, CNAME, Web Redirect, Port 80 Redirect, and MXTXT, SPF, DKIM, SRV, CAA.
- Integration with existing infrastructure: Look for a provider that uses open format protocols to make it easier for system integrators to deploy DDNS in their products without having to manage different update methods.
Gamers and Streaming Enthusiasts
Many gamers and streaming enthusiasts who have private servers for Minecraft, or share media streaming platforms like Plex need to ensure that not only do they have access to their systems when needed, but fellow gamers and entertainment seekers can also get into the servers when it’s time to play.
When an IP lease ends, it’s annoying to reach out to everyone you’ve invited to your server to give them the updated credits, and with a dynamic IP address, that happens frequently.
Take for example this story from Reddit, where this very topic became fodder for discussion, and resolution:
Instead, with a DDNS provider, all you need to do is give your gaming buds the domain name, and IP changes will not matter.
When looking for a DDNS provider to keep pace with your entertainment, look for one that can guarantee:
- Low latency: Lag while streaming media or playing a game can be frustrating (and kill your chances of winning.) In addition to looking for a provider with uptime guarantees, also considering asking if they deploy the Anycast methodology to provide higher availability, help reduce DDNS latency and increase resilience to internet based attacks.
- Fast response times: Providers with more PoPs (points of presence) to serve DNS queries, which are strategically located across the world, means faster response times and a network more resilient to failures.
- Support for gaming and streaming devices: Not all DDNS providers offer support like resource libraries, communities, configuration assistants, and live agents. So, one of the first things to check when evaluating a provider is how comprehensive their resource library is, what agent availability looks like (if it exists) and when you can expect answers to your most pressing questions about security, reliability and access to your systems.
Work With a DDNS Leader
No matter what you need from your DDNS provider – from security and reliability, to flexibility, scalability and customer support to low latency gaming – No-IP has a product option for you, and the infrastructure to support your needs.
No-IP is a leader in domain name services (DNS) for 20+ years, with a focus on Dynamic DNS, along with Managed DNS services and other solutions for more than 30 million internet users — from home users to small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.
Check out our extensive Knowledge Base with easy-to-comprehend setup instructions, as well as these helpful assets:
Then sign up for your Free Dynamic DNS account to get started immediately.