First off, what is a Dynamic DNS? A Dynamic DNS (DDNS or DynDNS) is a system to map 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 remotely 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 six 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.
For more account security, Dynu allows you to set up two-factor authentication via a TOTP app. If you want to try different TOTP options, check out the best alternatives to Google Authenticator.
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–which offers 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 50,000 domains to choose from thanks to the tool’s shared domain pool. Free URL redirection is available as well.
Premium accounts, which start at $5 per month, get an additional 50 subdomains, unlimited 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.
After a period of inactivity, afraid.org accounts will be marked as dormant. However, after logging back in, users are given the option to restore their account to active.
DuckDNS is a free DDNS service built using Amazon’s AWS infrastructure. Its 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 this website is indicative of what it offers. DuckDNS only does one thing, and it focuses all of its 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 it has a bunch of written tutorials that will help you get DuckDNS set up on a variety of platforms. The tool supports Windows, OS X, Linux, DD-WRT, Amazon EC2, and even the single-board Raspberry Pi.
Accounts can have up to five subdomains on DuckDNS. Plus, it keeps as little of your data as possible and stores 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, 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. To keep your hostname, click on the hostname confirmation link sent to your email seven days before its expiration. If you don’t catch this in time, No-IP will also send a second confirmation email after thirty days if no response occurs to the first email.
No-IP also offers port forwarding and URL forwarding, which can be useful depending on your use case. To help you get started with Dynamic DNS, No-IP also walks the user through configuration via its device configuration assistant. To keep your hostname updated to the most current IP address, No-IP also offers a Dynamic Update Client that checks for any IP changes.
For $5.99 per month, 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, its free dynamic DNS service is worth the effort. You’ll see what it offers right on the front page–a secure dynamic DNS for absolutely free.
However, you need to be a Securepoint Reseller to create a new account. If you had an account previously, your functionality isn’t restricted.
As a free user, you’ll be able to create up to 5 hosts (with the option to request more) 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.
Of the many free DDNS services, Dynv6 is one of the most direct in functionality. After registering and confirming your email, you can get started creating your own zones. Rather than prompt the user with explanations or membership options, Dynv6 offers application and API instructions only after creating a zone.
Like other options, Dynv6 supports both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. While you can choose between the six pre-available domains, there’s also the option to add your delegated domain name to its nameservers.
For any follow-up questions, reach out in the community section of DynV6, but expect a mix of English and German. If you need to brush up on DNS, check out what is a DNS server.
Which Free Dynamic DNS Service Is Right for You?
If you ever want to set up a 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.
For those after the best free dynamic DNS, there’s an ever-growing list of options that offer DDNS and more. If you stay flexible and take advantage of different free accounts, you can find a service that fits your needs with limited constraints.