The beauty of a home network is that it lets you share files easily across all your devices. If you have photos on your PC’s hard drive, for example, you can view them on an iOS or Android device, or even on your TV using a device such
as Amazon’s Fire TV stick. And it’s not only photos you can share. You can also stream music and video from one device to another, and copy important documents.
Most people already do this within their own homes but you don’t have to be in the same building as your network to access your devices – it’s possible to connect to your home network over the internet. This isn’t always easy, because your ISP may periodically change your router’s IP address. Fortunately, Dynamic DNS (DDNS) providers make it easy to connect remotely to your network from anywhere.
What is DNS?
The DNS (Domain Name System) translates website names into IP addresses that web servers and internet routers can understand. When you type www.facebook.com into your browser, for example, a DNS server (probably one assigned by your ISP, unless you’ve changed it) translates your request into an IP address, such as 22.214.171.124. Your
computer then connects to the remote server and the website loads. This usually happens very quickly, although sometimes you may encounter DNS problems that stop you reaching a website by typing its web address, even though typing in the IP address still works. In theory, you can get to any website by typing its IP address into a web browser instead of its URL – but people don’t tend to do this because IP addresses are much harder to remember.
You can find out a site’s IP address by clicking Start, typing cmd and launching a Command Prompt. Type ping www.webaddress.com, replacing ‘webaddress’ with the site’s name (try ping www.facebook.com for example). Press Enter and you’ll see the IP address for that site. Type this into your browser’s address bar and the site should load as usual. Next time your internet connection stops working for whatever reason, you can use this method to check for DNS problems.
Get started with Dynu
Step 1: Go to Dynu’s UK sign-up page (link) and create an account by entering your details or signing in with your Google account. The Control Panel appears. This offers various options, but to get started just click on DDNS Services.
Step 2: The Dynamic DNS Service page will be empty. To fix that, click the blue Add button. Enter the hostname and
domain name you want to use. Click Add to add the entry to your account. If you have your own domain name, you
can use that instead.
Step 3: The next screen shows your IP address. If it’s wrong for any reason, you can edit it. Click on Save. Access your home network by opening a web browser on a remote computer and going to the address listed next to Dynamic DNS Service.
Set up an IP update client
Step 1: Your IP address changes from time to time, so you need the DDNS server to check for this. Go to Dynu’s downloads page (link) and download and launch the Dynu IP Update Client for your operating system. Enter your username and password and then click the Save button.
Step 2: The software connects and checks to make sure the IP address hasn’t changed. If it has, it will update Dynu with the new details. The software will continue to run in the background, checking periodically for changes to your IP address. You don’t need to do anything else and can minimise it by clicking Close.
Step 3: There are advanced settings to tinker with if you wish. Connection Type lets you choose whether to detect server-side or client-side IP address (or both), and use a different port. Sign-Off settings lets you specify where
your domain name should point when the updater isn’t running.
How to connect to your home network