Over the years, many people have used DynDNS as a way to get a free domain name that will “track” their actual IP address, even if their ISP changes it. Apparently that free ride has all but come to an end. If you read the instructions that How-To Geek posted in their article How To Easily Access Your Home Network From Anywhere With DDNS, you will note that when you go to the DynDNS site now, it looks nothing like it did then, and the totally free option seems to have disappeared.
Apparently if you have an existing DynDNS account you can keep it as long as you don’t let it expire, but if you do let it expire or if you are trying to set up a new DynDNS account for yourself or someone else, the free option is no longer shown. It appears that now the only way to get a free DynDNS account is to sign up for a 14-day DynDNS Pro Free Trial and then cancel it before the free trial period is up. Then, “You may keep one hostname free of charge for trying the Pro Trial.” The problem with this is that you have to provide a major credit card to sign up for the trial. This will be a show stopper for many users (it definitely takes DynDNS off my list of recommended services).
I had recommended using DynDNS in my article, Using DynDNS to solve the problem of keeping a firewall open to remote users at changeable IP addresses. Now I sort of wish I had recommended someone else.
Some home routers support several Dynamic DNS services, and one of the most popular is No-IP. My guess is that they will be the main beneficiary of the decision by DynDNS to make their free service less accessible. I think they have been around nearly as long as DynDNS (if not longer) and I’ve not heard anything negative about them, so I now recommend you check out No-IP in preference to DynDNS, unless you enjoy having to give up your credit card information and then having to remember to cancel a “free trial” within an allotted timeframe.
To those router manufacturers that only offer DynDNS as a DDNS option, please consider adding No-IP (and maybe a few others) as a DDNS option in your next firmware upgrade. Those that have replaced their router’s firmware with DD-WRT have the option to use DynDNS.org, freedns.afraid.org, ZoneEdit.com, No-IP.com, 3322.org, easyDNS.com, TZO.com, and DynSIP.org (or you can use another “custom” service). I do not know if all of those have a free service offering but I believe that most of them do. So, commercial router manufacturers could offer options other than DynDNS, and I hope they’ll consider doing so.
- DynDNS Cuts Back Free DNS Options (tech.slashdot.org)