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Hosting your Own Web Server

By Shane Jester, Campus Web Administrator

Do you want to host your own Web server at home, but don't want to pay for a static IP address.  Did you know that there are several services that allow you to map your domain name to a dynamic IP address. Just do a google search for "dynamic DNS hosting"  and you will find several different services. Some charge for premium services where they host your purchased domain name, and some offer free services allowing you to select a server name in one of their designated domains.

Here is the concept: Whenever you use a dialup connection, you are assigned a new IP address to your system every time you login to your ISP. These dynamic hosting services provide you with an interface to map your domain name to your new IP address after you establish your connection.  This can be done with any number of tools that they provide you, or you can write your own tool with a scripting language in most cases. Of course, you probably don't seriously want to use this service if you are using dialup due to the slow speed limitations and the fact that you are not continuously connected to the Internet. 

The most likely scenario is if you use a DSL or Cable service. In most high-speed Internet services, your dynamic IP address only changes every few days. This allows you to automate your dynamic DNS synchronization with your fluctuating IP address. The most effective way to do this (unless you find a tool that someone else wrote) is to right a little script that periodically checks your current IP address.  If it has changed, then you can invoke the script or utility that synchronizes your IP address to your domain name using your dynamic DNS provider. Depending on how often you run this process, you could potentially see almost no interruption in service since the synchronization with the hosting services usually only takes a matter of minutes.

Of course, before you do any of this, you should check the contract of your high-speed Internet provider.  A lot of providers forbid you from hosting Web servers on a  residential service, but if not, you have a relatively cheap method of domain hosting on your own computer.