Dynamic DNS

I have used dynamic dns for around 20 years, I think. But I have always used dyndns.com which these days seems to want to call themselves dyn.com. And some years back they were bought by Oracle, the kiss of death, and now they are impossible to deal with, arrogant, unsupportive, insular – all the things I expect of Oracle.

And why have I kept using them? Because that is what the routers supported. Dyndns was  there first, and the ubiquitous linksys and netgear routers usually have a feature to do automatic updates for dynamic dns, but (often) the router will only update dyndns: nobody else. And I’ve got routers installed in various people houses that are doing this.

But I recently added a new house that I support, and that person has a proprietary and ponderous comcast router, which will barely do anything useful, and has no facility to update dynamic dns.

It has been on my todo list for ages to look into doing this without the router, and spurred by this, I finally went to look at having this done by the host. I started by using ddclient, and it is dead trivial. And I set it up in all the houses.

But if I stop relying on the router to do the updates, there is no reason I can’t dump dyndns.com. It is a good time to do it, since I have my domain registered with them, and they are a very expensive registrar, and it is due for renewal. So I started looking at changing the registration and the nameservers.

After looking into where I might switch the dns, I am leaning toward switching to using Amazon Route53, since all of this is about subdomains of wmbuck.net, and tarragon sits on an EC2 instance at Amazon. Also, Route 53 dns service is practically free, and registration is actually a little cheaper than at namecheap, where I have some other registrations.

However, I can’t use ddclient on Route 53. I researched a little, and have created a script which uses the aws cli to update the dns, and I have deployed that script onto all the boxes that currently do dynamic dns, even though the registration and nameservers haven’t actually moved yet.

I have also started the transfer of the registration to Amazon. I have already transferred the zone files to Route53, but I can’t activate it because dyndns won’t let me change the nameservers. It is tempting to bitch about this and rail against Oracle, but really the raison d’etre of dyndns is dynamic updates of the dns, and they can’t really do that if they don’t control the nameservers. So I guess I can’t really blame them. So I am maintaining nameservers on Route 53 in parallel, being updated by the script on all the boxes, but the active nameservers are still at dyndns, and being updated with ddclient.