John Harding - Insert Catchy Title Here

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

DNS cost optimization

I run a home server, which mainly exists for file serving and some hobby projects, and it's nice to have DNS actually work for it. When I first set this all up a long time ago, either my DNS registrar didn't offer any decent DNS hosting options, or I somehow missed it. No matter, as DynDNS offered cheap lifetime custom DNS service, and I wanted something like that to deal with my frequently-changing cable modem IP address.

A bit later, I went to set up a second domain, but DynDNS had stopped offering the lifetime service option, and had switched to charging ~$20/year. No big deal, signed up, and forgot about it.

Recently, I was finally able to sign up for after someone let their registration lapse, but no way was I going to pay another $25/year just to serve a few DNS records, so I finally looked into other options.

I'd registered the new domain at godaddy, mainly because it was cheap, but they also give you decent control over DNS. Armed with that, I can actually piggyback all my domains on the single DynDNS lifetime DNS service, since all you really need is a single authoritative A-record for your dynamic IP address. Everything else can just be CNAME'd to that record. Duh.

So, if your domain is hosted at godaddy, you just:
  1. Go to your domain manager interface, and select the domain you're trying to set up
  2. Click the "Total DNS Control and MX Records" link in the upper display area
  3. Click "Advanced Mode" to get a better UI
  4. Check the "Delete" box for the default A record and all the lame CNAMEs they set up, then "OK" to wipe those out
  5. Add 2 new CNAMEs: One from "www" to your A-record, and one from [your domain] to your A-record
For the second one, what I mean is if your new domain is "", you'll actually set "" as the host for the CNAME. Alternately, you can use their HTTP forwarding to have their web servers bounce "" to "", but that will only work for http, and results in an unecessary redirect, so I prefer the CNAME approach.

Update: Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a cheap, reputable registrar that will accept inbound 3rd-level .name transfers, such as for I guess that one is stuck where it is.


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