Register a FREE Domain Name for your Home Web Server
This Tutorial Shows You How to Register a Free Domain Name for Your Home Webserver
This will give your home web server site an easy to remember name and a more professional character.
How can a domain name help you? It can save you money if you want to host a website, blog or content management system like moodle at home instead of paying monthly webhosting fees.
Many homes have DSL or Cable service and the Internet Service Provider gives the home router or computer an IP address that changes periodically. Without a domain name, users would have to know the updated IP address before they could access your site. A dynamic DNS service will update their nameservers with your new IP address automatically when it changes. So no matter what your IP address is, users can still access your website using your domain name.
What you will need:
- A home webserver.
- A fast DSL or Cable internet connection. (No dialup, too slow)
- Access to your router's admin panel.
What you will do:
- Sign up for FREE DYNDNS service.
- Set a static IP address on your webserver.
- Open port 80 on your router for your webserver's IP address.
Step One: Create a DYNDNS account (link)
Go to DynDNS.com and create new account. Be sure to use a real email account as you will need to click a confirmation link to verify your account. Once you've confirmed your account, login with your username and password and click on the "My Services" button on the left hand side. Find and click "Host Services. then click "Add New Hostname." (link).
Step Two: Choose Hostname
Choose a hostname. Here I've chosen "mrmosshart.dynalias.org."
For Service Type choose "Host with IP address."
For IP address click "Use auto detected IP address."
Click the "Add to Cart" to continue.
Step Three: Review your choices
Notice that your cart contains free services only and that there will be no charges. If you want to make changes you can remove the item in your cart, otherwise click Next >>.
Step Four: Activate Services
Click "Activate Services" and you are all done configuring your account.
Step Five: Configure Your Home Server's Static IP Address
By default home computers are set to get their private IP address dynamically from your gateway device (router). Using DHCP, the router gives your computer a temporary IP address. Your router needs your computer to have an IP address, so it knows where to send your traffic. That address can change each time you reboot.
For non-servers dhcp is great, requiring no configuration at all. But if you want to run servers, you'll create port forwarding rules on your router to direct incoming traffic to a particular computer (your server). If you want those rules to work after your next reboot, you'll need to assign a static IP on your server computer, so that the incoming data traffic can still find it.
Take note of your current IP configurations and write them down:
In Windows go to Start > Run. Type: command in the Run box. At the command prompt blinking cursor type: ipconfig /all
This will display your current IP address, subnet mask, gateway address and DNS servers. Write this information down as you will reuse some of it in your static configurations.
To set a static IP address:
- Open Windows Start menu.
- Open Control Panel.
- Classic view: Open Network Connections
Category view: Select Network and Internet Connections > Network Connections.
- Double-click on the active LAN or Internet connection.
- Click Properties.
In the General tab, select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click Properties.
On the General tab, click 'Use the following IP address and enter a static IP address for your server. Here I've set it to 192.168.1.3. For the rest of the settings, use the numbers you got from your ipconfig /all command. You DID write those down didn't you?
Configure Your Router for Your Home Server
When you type "http:/mrmosshart.dynalias.org/" in the browser, the dynalias service says "oh, that name belongs to the public address of http://168. 102.100.1" and sends the request to your home router. (Your IP is assigned to you by your ISP and will be different).
Common home router by Linksys:
Your webserver is actually listening on a special channel for web requests. That channel is called a "port." Port 80 is the channel that is open and waiting for web requests.
Your router says "hey, somebody wants to see the website, who's listening on Port 80 ?" Your home web server responds "My address is 192.168.1.3 and I am listening on Port 80." The router then directs the web request to to 192.168.1.3 and you can see your wonderful website.
What you need to do next is open port 80 on your router for your web server's IP address.
How to Logon to your router and Forward (open) Port 80 for your server:
Open your web browser and type the IP Address of your router in the address window (192.168.1.1 is the default IP of Linksys routers). Enter your username and your password.
Click on the Advanced button and then click Forwarding. Your menu may vary, but the concept is the same for all routers. In this menu, I've labeled the forwarded port "web". The external port is "80". The protocols allowed through the router from the internet (traffic types) are TCP and UDP. The machine that will listen for this traffic on port 80 is 192.168.1.3. Be sure to enable the setting. Click "Apply" and you are done configuring your router. Exit the router configuration page.
Test your connection to the webserver by typing your domain name address in a browser. Example "http://mrmosshart.dynalias.org"
Note: You may have to check your software firewall on your server if you have one. Be sure incoming traffic is permitted through port 80.