Domain-name service provider Dyn has announced that it will discontinue its last remaining free services, effective May 7.
"For the last 15 years, all of us at Dyn have taken pride in offering a free version of our Dynamic DNS Pro product," Dyn CEO Jermey Hitchcock wrote in a Monday blog post. "What was originally a product built for a small group of users has blossomed into an exciting technology used around the world."
Dyn's first offering was DynDNS, a free dynamic DNS service that allowed users to point a custom subdomain – such as "yourdomain.dyndns.org" – at a frequently-changing IP address, making it easier to remotely log in to servers hosted on home internet connections (for example).
What started as a college project for Hitchcock and three friends became a formal company in 2001, and it has expanded into various commercial services ever since – including domain registration, email delivery, and traffic management.
Its original, free DynDNS service morphed into the for-pay Dynamic DNS Pro, but it so far had continued to offer a free version, albeit for just one subdomain per user.
Yet offering even this limited free service has been an increasingly heavy burden for Dyn, Hitchcock wrote, in no small part because abuse of its free service by spammers, botnets, and other miscreants often leads to retaliations that also affect its paying customers.
The money saved by shuttering the free service will henceforth be invested in improving Dyn's platform for its paid services, Hitchcock said.
For longtime Dyn users, it wasn't hard to see this change coming. When Dyn acquired EditDNS and EveryDNS in 2011, it rolled up both services within a matter of months and urged all of their users to transition to its own, paid DynDNS Pro offering.
If there's a bright side to the story, however, it's that Dyn isn't turning its back on the users who first put it on the map – not yet, anyway. Early in its history, Dyn told its users that anyone who "donated" a small fee would gain access to the DynDNS service "for life." Apparently that promise still holds, because those first backers were emailed the following on Monday:
To our longest and loyal Dyn supporters –
In an effort to better service our customers through increased support and a cleaner network, Dyn announced that in the next 30 days, we will no longer be supporting free hostnames.
However, because you believed in us and supported this company through your donations, we are continuing to fulfill our promise to you: your service is still free for life.
Without you, there would be no us, a company that has grown to nearly 300 employees around the world and that supports thousands and thousands of customers of all sizes.
Customers who didn't receive a similar email, on the other hand, aren't on the guest list. They have one month to find a new free dynamic DNS provider (web searches reveal a few potential options) or sign up for Dyn's paid version. Dyn offers a 14-day free trial, after which Dynamic DNS Pro costs $25 per year. ®
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