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Monday, August 8, 2022
Home Technology Synology QuickConnect vs Dynamic DNS: 2 Cool Remote Access Tricks

Synology QuickConnect vs Dynamic DNS: 2 Cool Remote Access Tricks


This post will help you set up remote access to your Synology NAS server using Synology’s built-in QuickConnect and Dynamic DNS.

Both of these methods have pros and cons, and you’ll figure out which, when, and how to use each by the end of this page – that’s the idea anyway. Remember that you need to be pretty comfortable with networking to get this done right.

Feeling uninitiated? Check out the related posts in the box below first.

You can remotely access your NAS server via its network ports with remote access enabled.

Synology NAS: What is remote access and why should I care

Remote access is an essential part of any server’s purpose. It happens all the time, and you might not be aware of it.

For example, when you access a website, you have a remote connection to the site’s web server – that’s so obvious that the “remote” notion is implied.

Or, when you backup your phone’s photos onto Google Photos, your phone has a remote connection to Google’s server.

Or, when you use your phone to check on a home network, home alarm, or surveillance system, a remote connection must have been established for that to work.

When you use a third-party service, like Google Photos, that connection is part of the service itself. But for a server you get for your home or office, you’ll need to set up that secure remote connection yourself.

And a Synology NAS server comes with lots of applications that can benefit from a remote connection. At the very least, you can access your server’s shared folders when you’re on the go – just like remote web management on a router.

So, in this particular case, you’ll learn here how to securely access data or services on a Synology NAS server located at your home or office when you’re out and about in the world.

Synology QuickConnect in action
Here’s my Synology NAS server’s interface accessed via the QuickConnect feature.

Remote access on a Synology NAS server: QuickConnect vs Dynamic DNS

On a Synology NAS server, you have two options for remote access. One is a vendor-assisted feature called QuickConnect, and the other is the generic Dynamic DNS.

Let’s start with QuickConnect.

QuickConnect: Quick does not necessarily mean fast

QuickConnect is a built-in feature of all Synology NAS and routers. It allows you to use:

xyz.quickconnect.to
or
quickconnect.to/xyz

as the address to access your device via the Internet, using a web browser.

In this case, xyz is a unique name called QuickConnect ID. It’s a string of Unicode characters.

So if you replace it with dongknowstechyou’ll get:

dongknowstech.quickconnect.to
or
quickconnect.to/dongknowstech

as the address to access the server remotely. Specifically, opening that address on a browser will take you to the server’s web interface, similar to hitting its local IP address when you’re at home.

For the rest of this post, as a demo, I’ll use dongknowstech – you should use a QuickConnect ID of your own, one that has not already been taken. By the way, this address is not case-sensitive. So, “DongKnowsTech” works too.

QuickConnect’s quick facts

QuickConnect is available in all Synology NAS servers and Wi-Fi routers and is part of the Control Panel.

If you use DSM 7, it’s in the “External Access” section. On DSM 6 and older, QuickConnect is a section on the menu.

QuickConnect’s pros

  • Built-in, easy to use
  • Reliable and consistent
  • No port-forwarding is needed on the router

QuickConnect’s cons

  • Slow: All requests have to go through Synology first. As a result, it’s not ideal for data-intensive apps, such as Share Sync or Folder Sync.
  • Privacy risks – an account with Synology is required and your server is attached to the vendor via this account.

In many ways, QuickConnect is an indirect, remote access solution that’s great for lightweight applications such as the server’s interface, DS Cam, DS Video, or Synology Photos.

Generally, if you do not need more than 5MB / s – that’s 40Mbps – connection speed, QuickConnect will work well. Considering most broadband connection has relatively slow upload speed, QuickConnect will work well in most cases.

With that, let’s move to the steps on how to set up QuickConnect on your server.

Steps to setup QuickConnect on a Synology NAS server

These steps are done on the server’s web user interface. The steps below are for a server running DSM 7 with notes for those running DSM 6. The two versions of the OS are similar enough on this front.

Synology QucikConnect Registration Synology QuickConnect

Synology QuickConnect: The registration is straightforward once you have a Synology account.

  1. Open the inteface and go to Control Panel.
  2. Go to External Access on the menu and then pick the QuickConnect tab. (On DSM 6, QuickConnect is a section of its own.)
  3. Check the box Enable QuickConnect and you’ll be prompted to sign in with an Synology acccount with the option to create one if you have not. Do so.
  4. Enter the QuickConnect ID (which is dongknowstech in this example) and click on Apply.
  5. Aggree with the prompt. The system will take a few seconds to register the ID.
  6. Click on the Advanced button to check / uncheck the services and applications that can be accessed via QuickConnect.

And that’s it! And you’re all set. Going forward, the QuickConnect ID is all you need to enter into a Synology app to access the service in question.

Synology QuickConnect Advanced Settings
Synology QuickConnect’s Advanced settings: You can turn this feature on or off for any available apps or services.

Dynamic DNS and Synology NAS server: More work, but you’re in control

The way Dynamic DNS works, you just need to set up a port forwarding entry for your server on your router.

That said, make sure you check out this post where I talked in detail on how to set up DDNS on a router and create a port forwarding entry.

Dynamic DNS’s quick facts

Dynamic DNS or DDNS is a generic remote access feature available in most home routers. The feature turns the router into the DDNS device that binds a unique domain to the network’s WAN IP. A user can then use the domain to dial back home.

Dynamic DNS’s pros

  • Fast performance, whichs limited only by the network’s broadband’s speed.
  • Private: No user account with the hardware vendor is needed.
  • Flexible: The user can cusotmize the domain name, ports, etc.

Dynamic DNS’s cons

  • The setup process can be evolved: Networking know-how required
  • Port-forwarding is needed for each client / service
  • Certain DDNS proider might require frees

Dynamic DNS is independent of a particular device within a network, so it’ll work with all of them. Most of the time, you only need to figure out the device’s open port for certain services and configure the setting on the router.

Many routers, such as those from Asuscome with one DDNs domain for free.

I assumed that you have set up Dynamic DNS for your router’s WAN IP. If not, this post will explain DDNS in detail with steps to set one up.

Dynamic DNS Dong Knows Tech
Here’s the Dynamic DNS with dongknowstech.asuscomm.com as the unique domain on an Asus router.

For this example, I used the Asus GTE-AXE11000 router and Asus’s free DDNS service with the following domain:

dongknowstech.asuscomm.com

With that, let’s proceed on how to set up port-forwarding so that you can access your Synology NAS server’s web user interface over the Internet.

Figure out the port number and the IP address of the server

By default, the ports used for a Synology server’s user interface are 5000 for HTTP and 50001 for HTTPs.

Generally, you might want to change those to something else for security reasons. If you’re going to do that or trying to figure out the current port numbers being used on a particular Synology NAS server, here are the steps:

Login Portal DSM Login Portal DSM

Synology Login Portal: Note the default port numbers you can and should change.

  • Log in to the server’s web user interface locally.
  • Open Control Panel and then Login Portal and use the DSM tab. (If you use DSM 6 it Control Panel -> Network -> DSM Settings.)
  • Change or note down the ports numbers for the server’s login page.

For this post, though, we keep the default ports.

As for a server’s IP address, there are many ways to figure that out. You can do that via the router – below – or when you configure the server. If you need more, this post on IP address will help.

2. Add the port-forwarding entry for the port in question

You do this on your router.

Most home routers support port forwarding, and you can do this via the mobile app or the web user interface. I’m a fan of the latter.

Dynamic DNS Adding an Entry
Steps to add a port-forwarding entry on an Asus router
As pictured here, port 5000 is forwarded to 192.168.88.108, which is the server’s address.
You can use a new external port and keep the internal port the same, which would give the same effect as changing the port on the server and keeping the two the same.

The steps vary from one router to another, but the port-wording is generally in the WAN section of the router’s interface. Here are the details steps on an Asus router:

  • Open the router’s web user interface.
  • Open the WAN section on the mentu
  • Navigate to the Virtual Server / Port Forwarding tab
  • Click on Add profile and choose to forward port 5000 and 5001 to the server’s IP address. You can use a separate entry for each port as I did in this case or use a port range.

And that’s it. From now on, you can access the server’s web interface from any internet-connected computer by going to the address (es) mentioned above.

Dynamic DNS Entries
Here are the port-forwarding entries for our example in this post. Note the trash bin icon that will remove the entry.

You will need to repeat these for each service of the server. So, for example, the Synology Drive Share Sync uses port 6690, which requires another port-forward entry if you want to use the service via DDNS. (Again, you can also change this port to something else, too.)

To remove an entry, click on its trash bin icon.

Accessing the server’s login page remotely

Once you’ve finished step # 2, the server is now ready to be accessed from out. Per the rule of calling a portand assuming the default ports are being used, here’s how to call access the interface of the NAS server I used in this post’s example.

From any Internet-connected computer outside of the network where the server is, open a web browser and point it to:

http://dongknowstech.asuscomm.com:5000
or 
https://dongknowstech.asuscomm.com:5001

And that’s it. You should be viewing the login page of the server itself.

Conclusion

There you go, now you can manage your Synology server remotely. As for Synology QuickConnect vs Dynamic DNS, it’s a matter of convenience vs control, speed, and privacy.

In any case, you can always use both – you’ll note how much faster DDNS is compared to QuickConnect. So pick the former for apps that involve moving a lot of data around.

Once you have figured things out, keep in mind that you should change the default port numbers for security purposes, at least on the WAN (external) side.

For this post, I kept the default ports numbers for demo purposes, but changing the default port numbers and keeping the login account secret are good practices to keep your server safe. More on that matter, check out this post on Synology server’s security.



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