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dyndnsHave you ever found yourself at a friend’s house, wishing you could access the music on your computer? Or maybe you wish it was easier to connect to your VNC share from web cafes or your office? Maybe you’ve even tried writing down your IP address before leaving home specifically so you could connect?

The main problem with that approach is that most ISPs change your IP on a regular basis. Some ISPs will give you a static IP – typically for a monthly premium – and such an IP can give you access from anywhere.

Alternatively, you can use DynDNS. This company specializes in solving exactly the problem you’re thinking of with a free Dynamic DNS setup – giving you a web address that will consistently point to your computer, even when your ISP changes your IP.

And if you just want one URL, it’s a free service.

How Free Dynamic DNS Works

Here’s the deal: you get an account at DynDNS, which provides you with a free URL. Then you set up your home network to inform DynDNS of your current IP on a regular basis – this can be done using the firmware in your router How Does a Router Work? How Does a Router Work? Routers may seem complicated and beyond your understanding, but they're actually quite simple. Read More – most routers support such a free Dynamic DNS by default – or by installing free Dynamic DNS software on a computer on your network designed for this purpose.

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Once everything is set up you’ll be able to access your home network from anywhere, using the URL provided to you by DynDNS.

Getting Started

Setting up DynDNS is easy. All you need to do is create a free Dynamic DNS account at their website, selecting a subdomain from their wide variety of domains.


Being the Linux enthusiast that I am, I choose “,” but the choice is largely aesthetic – just pick something you can remember easily.

Once your account is set up you’ll have a username and password you can use in order to use the service. What you need to do now is set up your home network to regularly report your IP to DynDNS.

Configure Your Router

The simplest way to do this is to configure your router to do so. How to do this varies depending on your brand and model of router, but for the most part the process goes something like this:

1. Type your router’s internal IP address into a web browser and hit “enter.” This will bring up your router’s web-based configuration.

2. Find the dynamic DNS option, and enter your settings.

On my Linksys router, this configuration looks something like this:

dyndns home network

Typically all your router needs is your DynDNS username and password, so enter those and you’re good to go.

3. Apply your changes. This may shut down your router temporarily, but just start it up again.

Obviously configuring your router is the simplest way to do this, but if don’t have a router, or if your router doesn’t support DynDNS directly, you can download software here that can report your current IP to DynDNS.

Port Forwarding

Okay, so you’ve got your fancy URL now but attempting to use it to connect to your computer from elsewhere won’t help much unless you set up your router properly.

Your router essentially acts as a firewall, as all incoming requests are directed to it. Unless your router is specifically aware of what requests are going to come in, it will continue to block everything you try to connect to from outside your network. That’s where the magic of port forwarding comes in.

If you don’t know what a port Open Router Ports & Their Security Implications [Technology Explained] Open Router Ports & Their Security Implications [Technology Explained] Read More is, the best analogy is that of an apartment number: if your IP address is like your street address, your port number is like your apartment number.

If your friend knows your street address, but not your apartment address, they’re not going to have much luck finding you. In the same way, if you’re connecting to your computer from somewhere else on the Internet you can’t just type your IP address: you need to specify which port you’re trying to access.

For example, popular remote-desktop software VNC uses 5900 as it’s default port. If I want to connect to one of my computers using VNC from outside my network – for example, from a web cafe – I need to make sure my router knows to forward all incoming requests to port 5900 to the computer I want to control.

Setting this up isn’t that difficult: it’s almost always possible from your router’s web-based configuration. On my Netgear router the setting screen looks something like this:


In the above example I’m setting up VNC to forward to my media center computer. Like setting up your router with DynDNS, be sure to apply your settings after you’ve added your new configuration.

If you’re not sure what port a particular program uses, you can either search that program’s configuration for the option to change it or search the program’s documentation.

There’s still more: the firewall on your computer may also block incoming requests, unless you set up your firewall to allow for connections on that port. Check your firewall’s documentation if you’re not sure how to do this.


VNC’s only one example of a program you can use this method to set up, of course. If you set up an FTP server on your computer you’ll be able to access your documents from everywhere. You could use this method to connect to any program’s WebUI, including the bittorrent client Deluge Deluge - An Awesome But Unappreciated Cross-Platform BitTorrent Client Deluge - An Awesome But Unappreciated Cross-Platform BitTorrent Client Read More .

Basically anything you can connect to from within your network can be made to work Internet-wide with DynDNS, if you’re willing to set it up.


Testing your setup is easy: call a friend and see if they can connect to your computer using the programs you’ve set up.

Alternatively you could use a proxy service to connect to your computer. If you can connect through a proxy, after all, you’re connecting from outside your network.

Configure Modem

Some ISPs – such as Qwest in the Western United States – provide modems that are intended to function as wireless routers as well as modems. If you have such a modem you might find that DynDNS doesn’t work for you. If this is the case you need to configure your modem to forward all requests to your router, from where port forwarding can properly happen.

If you think this is happening to you, check out the website of your ISP or give them a call. More likely than not they’ll be able to help you.


I use DynDNS to connect to my home network from elsewhere, and it works like a charm. Sure, setting it all up requires you learn some networking skills in the process, but if you’re reading MakeUseOf you probably love learning stuff anyway. And you never know when such skills might come in handy.

What about you guys? Do you use DynDNS or a similar service to connect to your computer remotely? Do you have any questions about setting this all up? As always, feel free to discuss everything in the comments below.

    October 2, 2016 at 11:06 am


    my face book account is suddenly infected with Malware and i am not able to Login to my account as when i try to login it directs me to few steps and it doesn't works....My friends are sending me emails asking me that they are getting some weird postures or videos from my account which i cant see even..Pls help me to resolve this.

  2. David
    August 20, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Hello, to my fastweb router I would like to attach an USB pen drive to remotely store documents in it using FTP, I assume is possible as the router has USB ports. Do I need a NAS to get that successfully done? thank youo


  3. Jwguy
    August 9, 2016 at 7:55 am

    This article only seems to explain how to setup a DynDns on your router, not how to access your home PCs behind it: A bait and switch for clicks.

  4. Soubhik
    January 16, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Can i connect internet anywhere frm it?

    • Justin Pot
      January 17, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      You'll need Internet access to use this, so no sadly.

  5. ak
    April 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    To remotely connect using RDP from work (corporate network) to home network, does anything different is needed to be done. Do corporate network has firewall or protocol that stops going out connection as well?

    • Justin Pot
      April 7, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      It really depends on the corporate network, the only way to know for sure is to ask the IT department. If that's not possible, you could try using different ports I guess.

  6. confi999
    March 9, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    I need to access to my collaborator's pc using 'remote desktop connection' on windows 8.1. The collaborator's network administrator created an user for me and requires my fixed IP address in order for me to access. I noticed my ip address changes everytime start using internet. Can you please advise me how can I keep my ip address fixed? Does dyndns or such sites provide such services? Thank you.

    • Justin Pot
      March 9, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      DynDNS doesn't provide you with a fixed IP – you have to ask your ISP to set that up, and it usually won't be free. DynDNS is an alternative to a static IP, which gives you a URL you can use instead of an IP.

  7. Tovo
    February 11, 2010 at 8:21 am

    A great add-on to this article would be to use HFS for file and HTTP support. You get password protection too.

  8. scooter
    February 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Great article!
    I just recently set up an internet webcam that I can check remotely. I'm using another free service...
    It works nicely also. Just another option to

  9. Josh
    February 10, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Cool, I've been thinking about how to do the last part for a while.

    I've been running DynDNS on my DD-WRT router (so it updates my IP when ever it changes)

    But I need to access my FreeNas server for a presentation for school. I thought about VPNing in, but I guess I could just forward port 80 to my FreeNas box. I'll just need a stronger password then I have now.

    Thanks guys :)

  10. JK III
    February 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I am in a LAN (and I am not the Admin). So I guess I cant use this, right?

    • Justin Pot
      February 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

      Unless the admin is willing to help you out, probably not.

  11. Ideas de Negocios
    February 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

    This is a silly question: For access to my documents by DynDNS my computer should be on?

    • Justin Pot
      February 10, 2010 at 10:16 am

      There's no such thing as a silly question.

      Not only does the computer need to be on, but you'll have to set up a FTP server or similar service, then configure the port forwarding as explained above. DynDNS is amazing, but it's only useful if you're willing to put in the time to set up a home network.

    • Chris McQ.
      February 15, 2010 at 7:31 am

      Yes, if your computer isn't on already you can configure it to be woken up using "Wake On Lan" where you send your system a magic packet, it wakes the system up from a powered off state and powers it on.

      Or, another option is keep some of your more needed docs accessible via Dropbox (

      Hope this helps.

  12. interested
    February 10, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Would this give me full access to my computer? How would
    I set what can be accessed and what can't?

    • Justin Pot
      February 10, 2010 at 9:59 am

      You'll only have access to what you specifically set your router up to forward and your firewall to allow. Experiment with individual programs such as VNC to learn how it works.

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