What Happened to DynDNS
Sometime around November of last year (2011), the popular Dynamic DNS provider, DynDNS severely limited their free account offerings (See reference link #1 at the bottom of the page). They eliminated new free accounts from being created, citing that users could still get the 14 day pro trial. Pre-existing free accounts were grandfathered in, but with 2 very important restrictions placed on them:
- Limited to 2 hostnames
- They will expire if not updated every 30 days
Many existing free users found that they were dropped down to two while some had their accounts expired because they didn’t do the update within a month. Needless to say, this upset quite a few people and sparked much debate (See reference links #2,3,& 4 at the bottom of the page). I understand why they did it; they wanted to increase their profits. However, the problem was that there were many how-to guides out there that referenced DynDNS’s free service; there were many hardware devices such as routers and IP cameras that were hard-wired to use DynDNS.
Today, I’m going to show you a loophole that still allows for you to get a free DynDNS account.
While exploring the options of my D-Link router, I came across Dynamic DNS page. Normally, I skip straight to the credentials portion at the bottom where I’ve already got my pre-existing DynDNS free account setup. However, I see that D-Link offers ‘their own’ Dynamic DNS. See image:
I was curious to see if their service was any good and what limitations hey placed. Their Dynamic DNS is offered at: http://www.dlinkddns.com/
I noticed something very interesting when poking around the FAQ and How-to. They say your credentials are usable at www.dyndns.com. See attached screen shot:
To me, this says that D-Link’s service is merely a reselling of DynDNS’s service.
I created my account and then immediately popped over to DynDNS’s site to see if my credentials actually worked. They did! See image:
In fact, not only did I have a free DynDNS account, I actually have access to ANOTHER free hostname. As you see in the above picture, it says I’m using 0 of 1 hostname, even though I’m already using one. D-Link’s FAQ only has one question/answer and it states that you can only have 1 single hostname. https://www.dlinkddns.com/faq. Well, I’m here to tell you apparently that’s not true. You can use DynDNS’s site interface to create another hostname; simply click on “Add New Hostname” and you’ll be taken to the setup screen. See screenshot:
I can tell you that my legitimate, free, grandfathered-in DynDNS account doesn’t have that option. Also, once I add another hostname, the link for creating more hostnames goes away.
I have a few notes of interest: Using D-Link’s DynamicDNS is probably only for people who purchase and use their D-Link brand routers, though it doesn’t actually state that anywhere. I don’t know if these types of accounts are applicable to the 30 days update rule. I would assume so, as their assumption when they created this deal with D-Link was probably that the accounts would be used for that Dynamic DNS section in the router. This means that all active accounts will be on auto-update from the router.
In conclusion, you can use D-Link as a proxy for creating not just one but TWO free dynamic hostnames from DynDNS. So long as you keep them updated every 30 days, they should be good. I’ve been using mine to keep a home server public facing using ddclient as my update tool. I know this loophole is one that may close to new users as well, and then at that time I’ll have to branch out to other Dynamic DNS providers; but for now, I can keep creating new hostnames if need be, just use a different email account to sign up at D-Link’s site.
I don’t abuse this system. I only have need of 2 Dynamic hostnames, and that’s all I have made: my grandfathered-in account and the D-Link account. However, I like to know that I have means to create more if need be. Options are nice.