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How can I set up some sort of local DNS service, so that instead of using ipaddresses to do things like VNC and remote desktop a more URL like thing can be used.

All the devices on a network have a dynamic ip (DHCP) except one or 2.

I have a belkin n1 vision router if that makes a difference.

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On most OSes, I think you can just use the host name of the machine rather than its IP address. For instance, instead of vnc://, you could do vnc://computername for Windows systems or (as Sable indicates) vnc://computername.local for Mac and Unix systems. I'm fairly certain this only works, though, when all your machines are on the same subnet.

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Use the hosts file. Wikipedia has an article.

The hosts file contains lines of text consisting of an IP address and one or more hostnames, each field separated by white space (blank or tabulation characters). Comment lines may be included; they are indicated by a hash character (#) in the first position of such lines. For example,

#This is an example of the hosts file  localhost loopback

may be the entry for the loopback address and hostname, a typical default content of the host file.

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FYI I think it's preferred practice to quote the relevant section of the article rather than just link to it. – Andy Jul 19 '10 at 15:54
this is alright except it's very "closed"/local/etc so if a new computer enters the network then it will not work. also like my dad's work laptop i don't have access to the hosts file. Also there is not only computers on the network but ipod touches and an iphone. also it doesn't work with DHCP – Jonathan. Jul 19 '10 at 16:37
If I had assumed Windows only then I would have. Since the OP didn't mention specifics, I didn't. As it turns out to be many different OS's the link was the best choice. – dbasnett Jul 19 '10 at 17:11

Use that particular Machine with DHCP Server but Configure DHCP Server to assign the Fix IP to that PC and everytime that PC will get the same IP Address. For This you have to Set your DHCP server RESERVATION Option.

And then you can configure that ip with your DNS server and can use any name like

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Depends on your systems that you are using. If you have a bunch of machines running Mac OS X on the same subnet each machine will be $HOST.local. So you can use "myitunesmachine.local" in all of your services.

This is because of broadcast packets on the network. I believe it's called bonjour.

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using microsoft rdc on mac and using the windows hostname does not work. and using hostname on windows -> windows is quite slow to find the pc. Is there no way I can have a local dns on my router? – Jonathan. Jul 19 '10 at 16:56
I found the manual for your router and there doesn't appear to be a DNS server running on it. BTW - nice display. – dbasnett Jul 19 '10 at 17:26
You can configure DHCP to assign IP's based on MAC address. At least that way the address will be the same for devices that are connected often. – dbasnett Jul 19 '10 at 17:28

You don't mention which OS you're using... I seem to remember that with Windows you could just use the NetBIOS name directly in MSTSC with no problems.

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i tried setting the netBIOS name on my macbook but it didn't change and it didn't show on my routers client list. – Jonathan. Jul 19 '10 at 16:38

Since you mentioned a DNS service, it is possible to set up a name server and allow all client machines to dynamically update DNS when they get their IP address, but it's usually not worth the training/setup/maintenance efforts for a small home network. But if that's a route you're interested in taking, you can get the free name server software "bind" from . It comes with documentation, but you would probably also need a book on bind (e.g. "DNS and BIND").

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