The 5 Best Free Dynamic DNS Providers
First off, what is a Dynamic DNS? A Dynamic DNS (DDNS or DynDNS) is a system of mapping domain names to IP addresses. This allows a single web address to point to a changing IP address, which is great for home users since IP addresses don’t always stay the same.
If you want to remote connect to your PC or set up a home web server, then a dynamic DNS is one of the easiest ways to set things up.
So what are the best free dynamic DNS options? Are they worth using? Here’s everything you need to know.
The Best Free Dynamic DNS Providers
DynDNS was always a top mention for free dynamic DNS services. But now that it’s gone, are there any good alternatives that have sprung up? Let’s look at five DNS providers who can be worthy contenders for setting up your home network.
Dynu’s dynamic DNS service allows both top-level domains (using your own domain) and third-level domains (grabbing a subdomain on dynu.com). Top-level domains will work no matter which country the domain belongs to. Coupled with its convenience features, Dynu is easily the best free dynamic DNS service today.
The great thing is that Dynu makes setup easy by providing a Dynu Client that runs on your computer in the background. Any time your IP address changes, the client will automatically update Dynu so you don’t ever have to worry about being out of sync.
Free accounts can have up to 4 subdomains. Upgrade to a paid account for $9.99 per year to unlock 500 subdomains total and advanced Dynu features like unlimited web redirect, unlimited MX records, unlimited custom DNS records, DNSSEC, backup and restore, and much more.
Don’t let the strange name of afraid.org scare you away. This free dynamic DNS service—they also offer other kinds of free hosting as well—is easily one of the best free dynamic DNS services out there.
You get five free subdomains on afraid.org’s domain options. You can also use an unlimited number of your own domains if you want, plus 20 subdomains for each one. Account setup takes less than five minutes, DNS pointing is instant, and there are over 55,000 domains to choose from thanks to their shared domain pool. Free URL redirection is available as well.
Premium accounts, which start at $5 per month, get an additional 50 subdomains, a wildcard DNS, and three stealth flags to hide your domains from any kind of sharing mechanism through the service. If you pay for the higher premium options ($10, $25, $50) you can also increase your subdomain and stealth flags further. The $25 and $50 per month tiers offering professional branding too.
DuckDNS is a free DDNS service built using Amazon’s AWS infrastructure. Their website is extremely basic, but that’s fine because dynamic DNS is such a simple service that it doesn’t really call for extravagance. DuckDNS is really one of the best free dynamic DNS providers.
That being said, the weak design of their website is indicative of what they offer: DuckDNS only does one thing and they focus all of their efforts on it. It makes sense once you realize that DuckDNS is only run by two software engineers (albeit engineers with a lot of industry experience).
What’s great is that they have a bunch of written tutorials that will help you get DuckDNS set up on a variety of platforms ranging from Windows, OS X, and Linux all the way to DD-WRT, Amazon EC2, and even Raspberry Pi.
Accounts can have up to five subdomains on duckdns.org. Plus, they keep as little of your data as possible and store all necessary details in a private database that will never be sold.
No-IP was always one of DynDNS’s biggest competitors in the free dynamic DNS market (DynDNS launched 1998, No-IP launched 1999), and when DynDNS went down it was in a good position to take the crown. Unfortunately, it has slowly shifted toward becoming a premium service in the past few years.
Free users get three subdomains on a limited selection of domain name options. But these subdomains will never expire as long as you confirm activity every 30 days. You also get port forwarding and URL forwarding, which can be useful depending on your use case. It’s a pretty basic but robust package.
For $24.95 per year, you can upgrade to 25 subdomains on 80+ domain names options and eliminate the need to confirm activity to keep your subdomains. If you want to use your own domain, you’ll need to upgrade to the $29.95 per year package, which also bumps the subdomains total up to 50.
While the Securepoint DynDNS website isn’t easy to navigate, their free dynamic DNS service is worth the effort. You’ll see what they offer right on the front page: free and secure dynamic DNS for absolutely free, even if you aren’t a Securepoint customer.
As a free user, you’ll be able to create up to 5 hosts using Securepoint DynDNS. And you have the option of 10 different domains as the base for your dynamic DNS addresses. Securepoint DynDNS uses an update token system for security (only the host who knows the update token can update dynamic DNS settings) and supports IPv6 addresses.
All in all, it’s a pretty simple service without any bells or whistles. Note that Securepoint is a German company, which won’t affect you in terms of the efficacy of dynamic DNS, but you’ll still have to navigate around some basic German.
Which Free Dynamic DNS Service Is Right for You?
If you ever want to set up some kind of server on the web using a home box, there’s a good chance you’ll have to deal with a dynamic IP address that could change at any moment. Just remember that a dynamic DNS allows you to use one single address that can point to you regardless of what your IP address actually is. (Need to know more? Check out our intro to DNS servers.)
There are plenty of options out there for a free dynamic DNS, so why not give one of these a try? And if you run into any issues, you may want to check out our guide to diagnosing home network problems .