So you’ve created your new all encompassing server, but you’re not sure how to be able to let it loose on the internet. This article is for you.
I’m assuming that you’ve setup any router port forwarding, opened up network ports and have a proper listening server (e.g. a web server) listening on the other end of it.
How do “normal” servers work? Well first we have to get back to basics.
Computers love numbers, so its only logical that every computer connected to the internet has its own unique number (techies: yes I know this can be an oversimplification, but its to give the noobs an idea). This number is called the IP address. Now people are not so good at numbers, we’re better at names so the smart people who invented the ‘net created a system to convert between names and IP addresses. Like a phone book. This system is called the Domain Name Service or DNS system. You can test this by opening a command prompt and typing:
What this does is send a “packet” of information to google, for it to respond back with some diagnostic information. DNS converts www.google.com to 126.96.36.199 (in my case anyway).
Now what does all this technobabble have to do with me?
Well all of the big businesses when they put there web servers, mail servers etc on to the internet they always have the same IP address. Internet Service Providers give home users IP addresses from a set range, and they can change frequently…so if you put up a server and setup DNS to point a name to your current IP address. 5 minutes later the IP address changes and your server disappears from the internet.
A solution to this has been around for years, nick named dynamic DNS. There’s a number of services that offer this, the on I use is http://www.no-ip.com but there’s also dyndns.org and dynip.com. A piece of software runs on your PC which detects when the IP changes and notifies the central service.
Now, I think I’ve said enough for the evening, but if you need a guide through setting the software up let me know…