With your own authoritative DNS, dynamic DNS is easy

At the beginning of the year, I wrote about using nsd3 to run my own nameservers: “Authoritative DNS with redundancy, using nsd and Debian Wheezy“. That post focused on the public-facing benefits of running my own nameservers, notably the flexibility it gives me with regard to record types and update frequency.

As I’ve added more and more services to the Raspberry Pis running on our home network, the flexibility I have has demonstrated another benefit: assigning a domain name to the network’s ever-changing IP address. Time Warner doesn’t offer static IPs for consumer accounts, which presents a challenge to using our router’s native VPN functionality. To make it convenient to connect to our home network from afar, I’ve employed an open-source script and a custom DNS zone to provide dynamic DNS via my own servers.

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Experiments with mailserver redundancy

When I decided to test if I could successfully configure and operate my own mailserver, I knew I’d need to account for times when that server was down. Overall, my primary server has had very few disruptions, but when this website was the only service that could be impacted, I also wasn’t as concerned about 100% uptime.

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Authoritative DNS with redundancy, using nsd and Debian Wheezy

Following up on yesterday’s post about what motivated me to host my own DNS, I’ll do my best herein to detail how I pulled this off. This is written for Debian Wheezy because I haven’t finalized an upgrade plan for Jessie yet; with Wheezy LTS extending support to 2018, I hope some find this useful.

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DNS is scary, so I decided to run my own nameservers

Fear was both a reason for and against hosting my own nameservers. The idea began when I grew uncomfortable with my registrar also hosting my DNS. I feared the single point of failure that my account credentials represented, and the risk of losing control of both my domains and DNS–and by extension, email–that that scenario posed. I’d also tired of the ever-increasing cost of Amazon’s Route 53 service, which while reliable and a remedy for my first concern, was also quite excessive for my needs.

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Building My Network

Over the past three years, I’ve spent more time than I care to admit on a single project. It started off innocently. Since then it’s grown to occupy a significant place in my daily thoughts.

As you read this, you’re experiencing the product of these efforts. Perhaps you clicked on an eth.pw short URL to get here. If not, your browser still had to figure out how to get to ethitter.com. Now that you’re here, maybe you need to contact me via email. To make any of these endeavors possible, I’ve built a personal “network” of servers and had endless fun doing so.
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