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I am trying to accomplish a task that may, or may not, require a creative solution. Essentially, I want to run my own DHCPd and, more importantly, DNS for my home network.

I want to run my own Name Server for the purpose of having *.local names assigned to our various computers and devices.

I want to run my own DHCP Server so that any computers or devices that access our network will use my name server automatically. My cable modem does not offer this functionality and my "routers" are setup as "dumb" access points.

For example, I don't expect my mother (no offense to moms) to remember an IP Address when she wants to view something shared over the network; or, my sibling may want to play a game on a custom LAN server.

The problem I must absolutely avoid is leaving this system in the hands of other people who live in the building. If the cable modem crashes, they can simply call the Cable Company or restart it when I'm not available. If the Linux system crashes, I need the computers and devices to still retain full access to the Web.

I would like to avoid any ugly solutions such as manually editing 'hosts' files on every device that may ever use the network.

I've tried one application and protocol that would generate *.local domains for each system but it didn't work. Unfortunately, I forget its name.

Does anyone have suggestions on running my own DHCP/DNS and providing a fall-back to my cable modem?

Alternative solutions are welcome as well. I'm sure I'm not the first person to want custom names on a LAN without leaving administration up to people who are neither willing or able. Thanks.

Note: Please do not argue any points related to the usage of TLDs. I understand the risks.

share|improve this question

Can you run the DHCP from your cable modem, and configure it to send out the DNS servers as:

  • 1st DNS server: Your home DNS server
  • 2nd DNS server: Your ISP's first DNS server

Most routers I've had allow you to at least modify the DNS servers they announce over DHCP, and create static IP allocations for its DHCP server. I've done both of the above and never had a need to create a separate DHCP daemon on a home server.

Also, this way you won't have two DHCP servers on the same local network competing against each other for who gets to be in charge of any newly connected device.

share|improve this answer
Unfortunately, the Cable Model does not offer the ability to configure this setting. It simply pulls the DNS Server IPs from the WAN and displays them as read-only. +1 for the idea. This might work for others who try the same! – Kurtis Jan 19 '13 at 6:40
Could you use the cable modem in bridge mode and use a separate router? That is what I do. Unfortunately however that would involve more cost. – thomasrutter Jan 21 '13 at 1:06

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