Poor man’s dedicated server

I thought about the idea of creating a dedicated server at home.  Unfortunately, since the IP address can change at any time, the home server that is hosting the website may no longer be available after an IP address change.

Therefore, one must consider the other options available.

  1. Map a domain name to a third-party IP address resolution company using CName.
  2. Purchase a static IP address.
  3. Create a program that will automatically update the domain name with the new IP address if it changed.
  4. See if the domain name provider has a plan that allows a customer to map the domain name to their own IP address.  This is commonly referred to as A Record.

Option 1 – http://www.no-ip.com/ is one that can do this.  There are probably many others available, but like Google.com, I have known about no-ip.com for a long time.  An article that talks about this can be found at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1813378,00.asp

Option 2 – This is usually a very expensive option.  Furthermore, it seems that with a static IP, there is no guarantee that it will not change when the connection to the Internet is dropped.  Therefore, one needs to complain to the provider when the IP address changes.

Option 3 – Creating a program is an option that should be considered.  The question most people will ask me is how will it work?  For those people, I give the following:

  1. Detect what is the current IP address assigned to this server every 5 minutes
  2. Compare the current IP address found with the IP address stored in an index.HTML file.
  3. If the IP addresses are the same, go to step 1.
  4. If the IP addresses are different, replace the IP address in the index.HTML file with the current IP address found.
  5. Send the HTML file to the server through FTP to the proper location and replace the existing index.HTML.
  6. Return to step 1.

In order to make this work, the index.HTML file must be a HTML redirect.  Therefore, when someone goes to http://aprivatebeach.com, the index.HTML file in that directory will redirect the user to say 111.111.111.111, which is the IP address for your home.

The problem that many will face with this is that if the page one is requesting is at 111.111.111.111/anotherPage, will the redirect work or will it just go straight to 111.111.111.111.  Editing the .htaccess is an option, but I will leave that to the readers to look into.

Option 4 – Similar to option 3, a program will be set up to update the IP address stored at the domain name registrar.  Whether the domain name registrar offers this or even provides this software or not is unknown.  Furthermore, it seems that the change can take up to a week to fully propagate through all the servers.

Therefore, manually updating maybe the only option.

Leave a Reply