Networking / Beginners

Obtaining DNS Service

If you want to host an Internet accessible server on your own network, you will probably want to set up Domain Name service so that your servers can be reached by sensible names like, rather than by your IP address or the hostname provided with your broadband line-this will look something along the lines of, a rather unfriendly name. DNS service is usually something you have to arrange independently of registering your domain name. Registering just establishes ownership. You must then provide, or pay someone to provide, domain name servers to turn names in your domain into your servers' IP addresses.

It will be difficult to do this with a standard dial-up Internet account as your connection's IP address-and the IP address that outside users need to use to connect to you-will be different every time a dial-up session is established. There are service providers that offer dynamic DNS service (DDNS); these providers set up domain name information that you can update when you go online. For a list of DDNS providers, check out the Google Web Directory page Computers > Software > Internet > Servers > Address Management > Dynamic DNS Services. For occasional use, you can just find your connection's current IP address and give it to an outside user. For the duration of the connection they can then connect to your Web server with a URL that uses this number, along the lines of

If you have cable Internet service, you may be prohibited by your terms of service from hosting a server on your connection. But it seems only fair to use the connection to reach your own computer via Remote Desktop or Web Folder sharing. If the service uses DHCP addressing, your IP address may change from time to time, and a DDNS provider will again be needed if you want to reach your network using a standard domain name.

If you use DSL service and want to host servers on your network, your ISP may be able to give you a static (fixed) IP address. This makes it possible for you to use any type of DNS service. Your ISP probably offers it for a fee, but there are also free DNS services; check out for instance. If you plan on running a serious although small-volume server, you may want to investigate getting Symmetric DSL (SDSL) service, which uses the same data rate for both incoming and outgoing connections. A higher outgoing data rate will help speed up transfers made to Web visitors.

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