Joseph Choe

Dynamic DNS

I’ve been self-hosting some services on my homelab. However, since I don’t have a static IP through my Internet service provider, I need some sort of dynamic DNS script that will update the requisite A record on my name server.

Here’s how I do it.

Server Configuration

Provision a new virtual machine with OpenBSD 7.0 installed, setup NTP, all of that stuff.

Ruby is a great scripting language, with a clean, easy to understand syntax. Therefore, I need to install Ruby onto the machine, which I’ve gone over before.

I also installed chruby, a pair of shell scripts that set environment variables like PATH and RUBIES so that the system knows where to find the installed Ruby. However, it has a dependency on bash, so be aware of that.

I’d like to port chruby to ksh, or KornShell, but I haven’t had the time yet. Maybe one of these days!


I use AWS Route 53 at the moment, mostly because it has an API I’m familiar with, but also because I haven’t found anything better that suits my needs.

The below script queries an IP lookup URL and compares that value with the A record in Route 53. If they match, then the script exits early. Otherwise, it sends an upsert changeset to AWS.

require 'net/http'

require 'oga'
require 'aws-sdk-route53'

hosted_zone_id = ENV["ZONE_ID"]
dns_name = ENV["DNS_NAME"]
ip_lookup_uri = ENV["IP_LOOKUP_URI"]

uri = URI(ip_lookup_uri)
current_ip = Net::HTTP.get(uri)

client =

response = client.list_resource_record_sets({
  :hosted_zone_id => hosted_zone_id,
  :start_record_name => dns_name,
  :start_record_type => "A",
  :max_items => 1

record_set = response.resource_record_sets.first
resource_record = record_set.resource_records.first
previous_ip = resource_record.value

if current_ip == previous_ip
  exit 0

  :change_batch => {
    :changes => [
        :action => "UPSERT",
        :resource_record_set => {
          :name => dns_name,
          :resource_records => [
              :value => current_ip
          :ttl => 900,
          :type => "A"
  :hosted_zone_id => hosted_zone_id

exit 0

The only third party dependencies I’m using are to the AWS Ruby Route 53 SDK and oga, which is itself a dependency of the SDK. Other than that, I’m using net/http which is part of the Ruby Standard Library, rather than use one of the many HTTP gems out there.

You should always keep dependencies down to the bare minimum. I could have used one of the many, many HTTP Ruby libraries, but I’m often more focused on future stability than using the hottest new thing. I can rely on the net/http library to be stable far more than I can one of HTTP Ruby libraries, if I’m honest.

Because I’m using environment variables, I need to export those in a separate shell script:

export AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID=...
export ZONE_ID=...

Use whatever IP lookup service makes sense for you, though I use my own self-hosted one.

I wrote a script to source things like chruby and the requisite environment variables and then run the Ruby script itself.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

set -e


source $HOME/.bashrc

source $HOME/dynamic-dns/

ruby $HOME/dynamic-dns/dynamic_dns.rb

Finally, I setup a cronjob to execute the script every fifteen minutes.

*/15 * * * * /home/joseph/bin/

I can also call the script manually if I want.


This setup is a bit more finicky than I would like. I’d like to move away from bash at some point, for example, and adding one more dependency to it means one more thing to change when I eventually do.

Still, it works, and while that’s not the greatest factor in determining whether to deploy something, it is a factor.