I'm sharing a dreamhost account with a friend: each one of us share this space and he already has 2 registered domains. I have none. I mainly use it to host some other friends systems.

I'm planning in doing a small specific website, but I dont want to ask for my friend to create a subdomain for me because it doesn't make any sense to his websites.

What I wanna know is: is it possible to use a dyndns account (mydomain.dyndns.org) or similar to point to a directory in dreamhost as if it was a domain? If so, what do I need to do to accomplish this configuration?

EDIT: Thanks for all your answers. I don't plan to buy a domain since I don't have a credit card and here in my country the domains make public some personal information (like a "social security number" equivalent I think) that I don't agree with. And the domain is a test, it's possibly to change, so I would just test it and "throw it away" after the testing.

I've found a "free domain service for the first year", http://www.co.cc/. But I don't know this company so well, and I know that dyndns is a good one.

I'm not so experienced in dreamhost's panel and DNS, sorry if this is too "noob". Do you know which tutorials should I read about DNS concepts and dreamhost to setup a dyndns solution like the one proposed by hark?


Two things to note about Dreamhost's shared hosting --

  • They don't let you run persistent processes, so the de-factor updaters are going to get killed.
  • Their shared hosting servers should have a static IP address, so you don't strictly need an updater. You just need a way to prevent DynDNS from expiring your entry.

Use a Shell Script + Cron Updater

The easiest way to get around the first problem is to write a shell script which checks your IP address and sends an update to DynDNS if necessary. You can find scripts which do this -- you just have to enter your username/password and make sure they work correctly.

Once you've confirmed that it works, have your friend set up a cron job via the DreamHost web panel to run your script once a month (or however often DynDNS expects you to update) so they don't delete your entry.

Use a CNAME Entry

This is a bit of a hack. The idea is that your friend's domain has the correct IP address, so a CNAME entry which points to the right IP address will also be right. I don't know if DynDNS lets you create CNAME entries, but NoIP does.

Despite that, you'll probably still have to run some kind of update script to pingback to DynDNS every so often so they don't delete your entry for inactivity.

Buy an Actual Domain

Seriously they're like $10.

Configuring Dreamhost to Serve the Domain

I'm not so experienced in dreamhost's panel and DNS, sorry if this is too "noob". Do you know which tutorials should I read about DNS concepts and dreamhost to setup a dyndns solution like the one proposed by hark?

DreamHost has some pretty good documentation in some areas on their site. Here's one of their knowledge base articles on how to add a domain. Effectively --

Once you've got a DNS entry pointing at the server's IP address (ie, the domain resolves to the right address), you can use DreamHost's control panel to set the account up to serve that domain.

  1. Simply log in, and from the Main Menu select Domains.
  2. At the very top it'll have a button to Add a New Domain.
  3. On the page which that button takes you, you want the Fully Hosted option. Drop your domain (the DynDNS one) into the Domain to host field and you should be all set.

Someone else will have to provide links to a list of DNS tutorials :)

  • GoDaddy has .info on sale for $0.99 for the first year. I bought a couple just to have more test domains. – SpaceManSpiff Jun 6 '09 at 16:08
  • For simplicity I would use the shell script in a cron option. In fact, I once did successfully :-) – njsf Jun 6 '09 at 20:32

Not really, no. This is close to being the classic question "how do I get DNS to point to a URL?", to which the answer is, you can't, DNS has to point to an IP number.

The crucial piece that you have to have is the virtual host configuration on Dreamhost. Your friend doesn't have to set up a subdomain for you, he can just set up hosting for your dyndns domain, but that much has to happen.


You can use DynDNS to do this. You will need to use a service called Webhop http://www.dyndns.com/services/webredirect/

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