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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP Internet
The process below describes how to use an "always on" connection like cable or DSL to create your own server with a fully qualified domain name -- like you would purchase from a registrar (e.g. .com, .org, etc). In most cases, running any type of server on these type of connections goes completely against your ISP's service agreement. I have found, though, that if you are simply serving a few pages to your family and friends, and not eating tremendous amounts of bandwidth, they won't really care. You have been warned.

By following the procedure below, you can purchase your own domain name (usually for less than $10) and have it always pointing to your dynamically assigned cable/DSL connection. As an aside, I prefer to stay away from the larger Registrars like GoDaddy, in favour of a smaller Registrar I have used for years named IntuitiveISP. Their service is better and fast, and domains start at about $10.

These instructions are written for and, but they could certainly apply to other similar services.
  1. Purchase a domain name, and verify your account at the registrar. You will need to be able to login to your account to change the nameserver ip addresses. For our example, we will use the name
  2. Login to your account at your registrar (where you bought your domain name) and locate info on changing the nameservers. You will need to access this information and change your nameservers to:
  3. Set up an account at (free).
  4. Set up an account at (free)
  5. Login to your account at and set up a dynamic hostname. It makes no difference what the name is, as long as you remember it. For our example, we will setup a host named
  6. Login to your account at and click the link in the left-hand column under Domain Tools labeled Manage forwarding services
  7. Click the Add Domains button at the bottom of the page. Enter your purchased domain name ( in the field and click the Add button.
  8. Access the My Domains page of your account at and you should see your new domain name listed. Click on the domain name, and you should be sent to the page that starts with "URL Forwarding" somewhere near the top. Set it up as follows:
    • URL Forwarding - leave everything blank, except the Disable Forwarding checkbox - it should be checked.
    • E-mail Forwarding - enter an address if desired. This can be a catch-all address such that any wildcard address sent to your domain will be forwarded to this address. Make sure to click the Update button if you make changes.
    • DNS Management - this is the meat and potatoes and what actually does the work pointing to your domain, and finally your machine/host. Under canonical name - enter the hostname you chose at ( and click the Update button. If you have a mailserver, enter the hostname you chose at ( and 0 in the priority field and click the Update button again. You should now see something like this under DNS Management (using our example hostnames):       CNAME       MX 0
      MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT HAVE AN "A" NAME LISTED. If you do,then you should delete it.
  9. At this point, you have done everything necessary to use your purchased domain name, but it may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days before your registrar changes the nameservers (step two above) and the changes propgate throughout the other internet nameservers. When you can do a whois lookup and the nameservers are listed as in step two above, then you are all set and your domain name is now active.
  10. Set up some facility that watches your dynamic IP (that of your modem/router) and then updates the address at as appropriate. There are plenty of GUI applications at MacUpdate that can do this for you, or if you feel adventurous, try the UNIX/PERL option ddclient -- ddclient Project Page at FreshMeat ... Some useful ddclient setup info
Hope you find this useful...
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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP | 21 comments | Create New Account
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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: Maserati on Jun 29, '04 11:55:48AM

IntuitiveISP seems to be having security certificate issues with Safari. Mention them again when that's been fixed.

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That's a very complicated process...
Authored by: mustang_dvs on Jun 29, '04 12:07:35PM

...Considering that for about $35, you can have a registered domain, complete & powerful DNS, dynamic IP support and email handling, from a single source.

EasyDNS offers a DNS+Registration service for $35 that includes support for dynamic IPs. (Using the free DNSupdate client.)

This essentially reduces the process to three steps:

  1. Register the domain.
  2. Click the link to enable dynamic IP support on the domain setup page.
  3. Enter the server name in DNSupdate and select "external" IP.

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That's a very complicated process...
Authored by: stevec on Jun 29, '04 12:34:49PM

One other thing that he left out is that you may not have to set up a "fake" domain (under number 5 above) as (at least Comcast) has already assigned you a hostname. For example mine is Granted it is about as easy to pronounce as the Dramatis Personae from Larry Niven's Known Space series but it is a valid hostname.

BTW he is correct about the terms of service. I have been running a small vanity web site off my cable modem for years with nary a peep from Comcast.

This seems like an interesting hack but I find it easier if not cheaper to just get DNS from an ISP, I use My IP changes (maybe) once a year, more if I rebuild the o/s or have to reboot often but is easy enough to send an email to the ISP and have them update my DNS. YMMV!

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That's a very complicated process...
Authored by: timcrawf on Jun 29, '04 04:30:23PM

How did you determine your hostname?

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Determine hostname
Authored by: mustang_dvs on Jun 29, '04 06:03:48PM

Visit, then take that address, plug it into the Lookup tab of Network Utility (found in /Applications/Utilities/) and click "lookup."

You'll see something that says:

Non-authoritative answer:
[]   name = [hostname.domain.tld].

What follows "name =" is your fully-qualified hostname, as determined by a reverse lookup.

Nice ISP's (particularly those that allow hosting on DSL, like Covad, Speakeasy or Megapath), will be more than willing to to change the reverse entry to reflect your server name (and they also have static IPs for a low premium).

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Determine hostname
Authored by: guppylegs on Jun 30, '04 11:06:57AM

Alternatively, your fully qualified domain name can be viewed in the Services tab of the Sharing Preference Pane:

Other Macintosh users can access your computer at afp:// or browse for "G4" by choosing Network from the Go menu in the Finder.

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Determine hostname
Authored by: mustang_dvs on Jul 01, '04 01:43:22AM
Yes, but that only works if your machine a) is running OS X client, not server, and b) is directly connected to the PPP server (or PPPoE in the case of most DSL).

If your machine is behind a firewall or router using NAT, it will only provide the non-routing IP (10.x.x.x, 192.168.x.x, 172.16.x.x, etc) and the hostname as specified in the Sharing panel. In such a case, a reverse-lookup hostname would only be provided if you have a DNS server set up on the same subnet.

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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: xSmurf on Jun 29, '04 01:24:35PM
I have been using since a while now, works great with DNSUpdate, completely free (up to five domains) allows web forwards, mail forwards, unlimited subdomains, etc. I would recommand to all. My 2 cents

PM G4 DP 800 / 768Mb / 120Gb+80Gb /SuperDrive / SCSI: AGFA SnapScan 1236s / Jaz 1Gb / Zip 100Mb
- The only APP Smurf ;P

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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: mustang_dvs on Jun 29, '04 06:13:49PM
As in everything else, you get what you pay for, (read through the fine print)...
  • $35 at EasyDNS gets you DNS servers that restart every 12 minutes,
  • $0 at ZoneEdit (for the first five domains that do not exceed their visitor limits) gets you DNS servers that refresh every 2-3 days.
Basically, this means you won't pay a thing, but it looks like you'll have to wait 72-96 hours after you've had an IP switch, before everyone can see your server.

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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: stetner on Jun 30, '04 02:15:11AM

As far as Zoneedit is concerned I have had no problem with them. I run BIND on my machine and have it as the primary nameserver. If I make a change, a quick stop/start of named contacts the zonedit nameservers which then call back to load the new info. I have not seen it take more than a minute to update.


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another free dynamic DNS service...
Authored by: bentucker on Jun 29, '04 03:36:07PM
I really like IMMV.

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Authored by: risc_abacus on Jun 29, '04 06:40:31PM

Is IntuitiveISP ICANN approved? If not your buying from a middle man... not only that but GoDaddy has some of the best prices around, and yes they are ICANN approved.

IntuitiveISP does everything thru tucows... so I can't see how the service faster than buying thru tuxcows, but I'm sure a smaller company could provide real-time human support.

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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: Jwink3101 on Jun 29, '04 08:10:20PM

If you do use Godaddy then offer full DNS for free. All you need to do it create the dynamic dns name and then enter that as a Cname in the enterprise dns section of the GoDaddy control panel

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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: PeterDie on Jun 29, '04 09:23:37PM

I'm perfectly happy with my redirect service I have for about 4 dollars per year. Easy to set up. It redirects to an indexpage on the webserver of my ISP, but from there points to several things on my own webserver. Sure, my mac often sleeps, but instructions on how to wake it up via telephone are included. It simply works... is easy enough to remember.

Cheerio, PeterD.

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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: mhorn on Jul 03, '04 11:02:18PM has worked well for me. $8.88 a year with Dynamic DNS included.

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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: grossman on Jul 09, '04 04:30:11PM seems too good to be true -- they aren't ICANN accredited, though, are they? What does this mean, exactly? (The list of ICANN-accredited services can be seen at Jeff

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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: grossman on Jul 09, '04 04:40:41PM

Oh, I'm sorry. Reading the Registration Agreement more carefully, I see that:

Namecheap is a reseller to a registrar with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") for Top Level Domain Names (TLDs), currently .com, .net and .org. ICANN oversees registrations and other aspects of the TLDs. As a domain name reseller, Namecheap is, upon accepting your domain name registration application, your sponsor for that application. All domain name registrations we register for TLDs are not effective until we have delivered the domain name registration information you provide us to the registry administrator for the TLDs, as applicable, and the registry administrator puts into effect your domain name registration. Currently, the registry administrator for the .com, .net and .org TLDs is Network Solutions, Inc.

So is just a reseller? How are they able to register for only $8.88, wwhen Network Solutions, Inc. is charging more like $35?

Thanks for your help. . .

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NameCheap & dynamic DNS
Authored by: sjk on Jul 09, '04 10:14:05PM

Anyone know of a good dynamic DNS client for OS X that works with NameCheap?

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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: ExUser1 on Jul 12, '04 08:34:34PM

Another cheap registrar is Names4Ever ( $8/year for just the domain. Sure, that doesn't include dynamic DNS, but there are tons of other free providers. I use both Zoneedit and I have not had any problems with either. Only thing that I don't like about ZoneEdit is that they have a 200mb/year bandwidth limit. For email, I use a service called Their servers receive the email for your domain and then send it to you comp to do whatever. I'll eventually write the instructions on getting uucpssh working with OS X.

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Unable to view page (connection refused)
Authored by: jhave on Jul 27, '04 10:22:41AM
I can't view the page from the outside. I'm getting a "connection refused message". G4 serving the site is sitting behind an Airport Snow Base Station. It has as internal address. What do I do wrong? -jhave

Viva X

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Use a commercial domain name with a dynamic IP
Authored by: geniusj on Aug 03, '05 03:35:59PM
It should be noted that mixing a CNAME and an MX record will *not* work. It is a violation of the RFCs and the MX record will be ignored. What will happen instead, is that the MTA will resolve the CNAME, seeing that it's an alias to It will then look for an MX record for, see that there is none, and fallback to using the A record instead.

Basically, the MX record doing nothing by being there.

Additional note: I've run an Dynamic DNS/DNS Hosting provider for a long time (since 1998)


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