livenode.com Transferred to HomeServer.com Domain for FREE

In the beta builds of WHS Microsoft used 2 test domains for their Dynamic DNS service:

  • livenode.com
  • livenode2.com

Beta testers could get a personalized domain name (e.g. MyName.livenode.com) for remote access to their home server while away from home.

If as a beta tester you registered a personalized domain name with either livenode.com or livenode2.com prior to August 3, 2007, that domain name will get transferred over to HomeServer.com when you install the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) version of Windows Home Server.

Any future domain names registered with either the Release Candidate (RC) build or the Windows Home Server 120-day Evaluation edition will be registered as livenode.com domains and will not be transferred over to HomeServer.com.  All new domain names registered with the RTM version of Windows Home Server will be using HomeServer.com starting today (8 August 2007). 

As the Windows Home Server Team has added: This was a one time transfer as a “THANKS” to all of our early testers. …Your feedback through the Connect site, Community Forums and Newsgroup throughout the testing of Windows Home Server has been fantastic.

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Dynamic DNS (DDNS) or A backup for livenode.com

As you may know Microsoft temporary provides the yourhost.livenode.com sub domain to make it easy for you to establish a connection to your Windows Home Server remote access page (Web Interface) without needing to track the IP address. The method of keeping this easy to remember name linked to a changing (dynamic) IP address in real time is known as Dynamic DNS (DDNS) – Short for dynamic Domain Name System.

There have been occasions when livenode has been unavailable due to downtime or maintenance issues, so I wanted a backup sub domain address so I could access my server’s web interface when livenode.com was not available.

Luckily there are other providers that provide free Dynamic DNS, the most popular being No-IP.com and DynDNS.

Create Account

In this tutorial we shall use DynDNS as our example, so first we go here https://www.dyndns.com/account/create.html to sign up for an account.

Fill out your details and provide a valid e-mail address. Once you get the confirmation e-mail, you have 48 hours to activate your account. Once it’s activated, you can log into your account.

Once you’ve logged in, click on the My Services link in the top right corner of the DynDNS Web site. Next, click on Add Host Services to the right of Host Level Services. Then, finally click on Add Dynamic DNS Host. On this page you choose the name and the domain that you would like to use under Hostname. Leave the IP Address as it is, place a tick into Enable Wildcard and then things like http://www.yourhost.dyndns.org will work, leave the Mail Exchanger (optional) empty and finally click the Add Host Button.

Setup (a)

We now have two ways of setting this up. If your router supports DynDNS (DynDNS Certified Hardware Clients), then it is easy:

dyndns

As you can see we just we access the configuration page for DDNS. In my router it’s under Basic then DDNS. Simply select DynDNS – Dynamic as the Service, type in the username and password that you set up with DynDNS.com, now type in the full hostname, such as yourhost.dyndns.org. We tick the Wildcard box and click the Save Settings button. As you can see the current IP address is shown at the top of the image under Current Address. The object here is to have your router update your hostname’s DNS entry at DynDNS with your public IP address whenever it changes.

Setup (b)

If your router does not support DynDNS then we can install the DynDNS software on the Windows Home Server. This software run in the background (or periodically), and ensures that the IP in the DynDNS database is the same as the one you are currently using so that your hostname remains accessible when you are online.

Updater

Just make sure that when you install you click that you want it to install as a service, so it will work when nobody is logged in the WHS.

Forwarding Ports

If you have not done so already you will need to configure your router to forward the ports to your home server machine.

Finishing Off

Make sure that your WHS is configured for remote access (console, settings, Remote Access, Web Site Connectivity) and for security issues make sure that you use complex passwords. You can now access your WHS with Internet Explorer (since Remote Desktop is an ActiveX) using  https://yourhost.dyndns.org. You will get a certificate error warning, but this is normal as the new DynDNS sub domain address will not be listed in the certificate.

NOTE: Once WHS is released (RTM) the livenode.com sub domain will change to yourhost.homeserver.com.

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Is there a Problem with your Security Certificate?

If you are using a computer without the connector (console) software on it (e.g. at work trying to access your home server) and you try to connect to the web interface of WHS then the following error appears:

error

Home PCs with the connector/console software installed have the server’s certificate automatically installed during connector setup. Computers without the software installed don’t have this certificate and so the error message.

To stop this error appearing; when accessing the web interface we need to export the certificate from a PC with the connector/console software on it and then import it into the PC without the software on it.

EXPORT

  1. So on the PC with the connector/console software on it open your web browser and type in your https://xxxx.livenode.com address
  2. To the right of the address bar click on the Padlock icon and then View certificates
  3. Click the Certification Path tab
  4. Double click the long GUID number (root certificate)
  5. Click the Details tab
  6. Click the Copy to File… button
  7. Export the certificate somewhere safe using default option

IMPORT

  1. Move the certificate to the machine without the connector/console software
  2. Double click the the .cer file and select Install Certificate… on the General tab
  3. Click Next on the wizard that opens and place a dot in Place all certificates in the following store
  4. Click Browse and select Trusted Root Certification Authorities and click OK
  5. Click Next and then Finish

That’s it. You can now access your web interface on your PC without the connector/console software via your livenode.com dynamic address, your server name e.g. SERVER or localhost without getting the dreaded error html page.

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