Free, instant subdomains without an account
As part of our recent launch and mission to become the domain name provider for self-hosters, we've included a service that might not be immediately obvious. If you make an HTTP GET request to https://takingnames.io/ip-domain, our servers will create a DNS A record pointing at the public IP address from which the request was made, and return the assigned subdomain as plaintext in the HTTP response. You can try it by clicking that link directly. The subdomains look something like this:
How is this useful? Suppose you're spinning up a server application on a VPS, and you want to use Let's Encrypt to secure the traffic with HTTPS, but you don't want to take the time to set DNS records. Maybe it's an internal demo for your coworkers, or just a quick experiment. Or maybe you've changed your permanent records but don't want to wait for public DNS caches to catch up before you start working.
Here's a more concrete example, which is the reason we made this service in the first place. The key feature of TakingNames.io is that it provides a simple OAuth2 API for delegating control over subdomains. You can see this at work in the demo video in our launch post.
But in order to return an OAuth2 token to your server application, TakingNames.io needs to perform an HTTP redirect to your server. The whole point of using TakingNames.io is to easily get a domain name for your server, so it's very unlikely that you already have one set up with HTTPS. We could just redirect using plain HTTP straight to the IP address, but that is insecure. Enter our new service. You can use the /ip-domain endpoint above to get a "bootstrap domain", use Let's Encrypt to get HTTPS certificates, and then securely perform the OAuth2 flow with TakingNames.io to get a more permanent domain name. Every interaction is performed over HTTPS, without you ever having to touch a DNS record.
- Currently only supports IPv4.
- This isn't very useful in situations where your public IP is likely to change. You'll still need a normal dynamic DNS setup for that.
- We currently don't make any guarantees about how long the records will be around. If we run into limits on our DNS servers we may need to start deleting older ones. If this service turns out to be useful for people we can look into making it more robust, but it's best to think of these subdomain records as ad-hoc or "transactional" for now.