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dandys

Server 2012 R2 and IP (dynamic/static)

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dandys

Hi everyone,

 

I am just putting together a home server running Server 2012 R2 and I was wondering about IP options. My ISP offers static IPs for a higher price and I have been considering that versus DDNS versus dynamic.

 

All I really want is the ability to remote desktop into the server from away from home. When I am away from home, there is usually someone who is home who I can call and ask to look up "what's my IP" if the external IP changes, and that's what I'd been doing before the server.

 

I just got a new router though (Netgear Blackhawk 7000) which says that it has DDNS services through "mynetgear" which runs on the router without having to run a program on a computer. I like simplicity, though, so I'd like to avoid it and go with the low-tech "phone in" method if I can. Also I've heard about possible safety/privacy issues with DDNS services?

 

I guess my question is, is there anything in Server 2012 (R2) where the server has to know its own external IP? I plan on setting the server to be a constant internal IP (192.168.1.5 or something) that never changes, but I can't remember if there was somewhere in the server itself that I had to type in the internet/DNS settings. What I definitely would NOT want would be having to go into the server manager every time the IP changes and update the IP because the server breaks every time the IP changes or something ridiculous like that.

 

I of course want to be completely capable within the network itself and not to have any down time if/when the IP changes if I keep it dynamic. I also would like the option to remote desktop into the server. It is all right with me though if in order to do that, I would have to know the current IP address or ask someone at home, because in reality it only changes once every few months or so. If it makes a difference, I am interested in maybe setting up the home network as a domain with Active Directory so please let me know if that would be affected.

 

Between the 3 options (static, DDNS, dynamic), which one can I get away with? Any advice would be appreciated.

Edited by dandys

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jmwills

Dynamic will be just fine.  The custom domain offered by Microsoft will update the DNS A Record so you can remote in by FQDN.

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dandys

Thanks for the response.

 

Just to be clear,

 

If I wanted to though (for simplicity), could I just use the IP address as given to me by looking up my external IP from within the home network? Like writing that down and in RDP typing in "xx.xx.xx.xx:3389"?

 

Secondly, just to make sure, Server 2012 doesn't need to know anything about external IP or have a real domain address?

Edited by dandys

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Drashna Jaelre

Well, first off, you wouldn't want to expose that port if you can help it.

 

But buy using the build in wizard to set up the "Anywhere Access", it sets up the domain name, updates it's DNS record (to keep it up to date, in case your ISP changes your IP addresses), and it configures a SSL cert for both the website and Remote Desktop Gateway. 

RD Gateway is awesome. It allows you to access the computers over port 443 (https), and encrypts the connection. 

It may be a bit more complicated to set up on the client side, but would allow you to access *all* of the computers, securely and through the one port. A much better solution, IMO.

 

 

 

But no, you don't need to set up Anywhere Access. But it's worth it, IMO. Even if you use the built in .remotewebaccess.com domain name.

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jmwills

I would also add, when it comes to the part about configuring the router, do it manually and do not enable UPnP.

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ikon

If I wanted to though (for simplicity), could I just use the IP address as given to me by looking up my external IP from within the home network? Like writing that down and in RDP typing in "xx.xx.xx.xx:3389"?

 

Well, no, you can't just do that. In order for this to work, you have to configure your router to forward 3389 to your server. Otherwise, the packets will be dropped by the router and you'll never get connected. BTW, if you do set up Port Forwarding on your router, I recommend you choose a different port number than 3389. For example, say you choose 42873 as the port you want to use to access your server from the Internet. You would type xx.xx.xx.xx:42873 into your browser while away from home. You would have your router configured to forward packets coming into your network on port 42873 to port 3389 at your server's IP. Why do this? Because 3389 is too well known and is searched for by bad guys constantly.

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Drashna Jaelre

And to be honest, I'd recommend not using a port like that anyhow, for remote desktop.

 

I'd honestly recommend the Essentials Experience role, and configure the Anywhere Access website. Why? Because it uses Remote Desktop Gateway, which is basically a reverse proxy for the remote desktop protocol, done over HTTPS/SSL. So it's encrypted.

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ikon

For sure it's not the ideal way, but it's sure better than using the default port, which is just scary.

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