Route53 dynamic dns


  • you run your own web-server on your home machine
  • your DNS service is Amazon’s Route53
  • you don’t have a static IP (as some providers don’t even have that option for residential customers)

you might find this Ruby script handy.

To make this work you’ll need to have more or less recent Ruby (1.9.x) and install a couple of gems

gem install curb
gem install json
gem install route53

create somewhere a secrets file in json format, that contains your AWS secrets

    "access_key" : "your access key",
    "secret_key" : "your secret key"

and create a cron job, that will take care of it.

crontab -e
*/5 * * * * /usr/bin/env /path_to/route53_ddns.rb --secrets-file /path_to/.your_aws_secrets --hosted-zone [your hosted zone] --random-sleep > /path_to_log/route53.log 2>&1

If you are having problems with launching the script from cron – you need to add two environment variables to your crontab – PATH and GEM_PATH so gems can be succesfully loaded. Easy way to obtain them is typing “env” in shell.

Here is the code. Free to use, modify, print, burn, whatever, as apparently at least some of used gems are GPLv3, so I guess this script shall be GPLv3 as well. I am not that good at this license things. Also available at GitHub

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

# This script provides a dynamic dns functionality
# for domain names hosted at Amazon Route 53 DNS service
# Launch this with cron each couple of minutes. Keep in mind
# it doesn't make much sense to launch it more frequently than your record TTL
# and author assumes no responsibility if you misuse it and get throttled at Aamazon Route53
# there shall be a file with AWS secrets in JSON format, inspired by dnscurl to hide your secrets
# from command line
# ex:
#        "access_key" : "SOME_NON_SECRET",
#        "secret_key" : "SOME_SECRET"
# launch smth like
# ./route53_ddns.rb --secrets-file /path/.r53_secrets --hosted-zone [your hosted zone id] --random-sleep

require 'rubygems'
# required to do requests to external servers to figure out external IP address
# you might need to install this with gem install curb
require 'curb'
# JSON parser for one of ip_providers and route53 secrets
# you might need to install this with gem install json
require 'json'
require 'optparse'
require 'ostruct'
# Many thanks to
# install with gem install route53
require 'route53'

# Route53 endpoint
$API_VERSION = '2012-02-29'

def get_cli_options args
    options =
    options.secrets_file = ""
    options.hosted_zone = ""
    options.sleep = false

    opts = do |opts|
        opts.banner = "Usage: #{$0} [options]"

        opts.on("-s", "--secrets-file [FILENAME]", "AWS access and secret key locations") do
            |val|  options.secrets_file = val

        opts.on("-z", "--hosted-zone [HZID]", "Route53 hosted zone id") do
            |val|  options.hosted_zone = val

        opts.on("-b", "--[no-]random-sleep", "Random sleep of up to 1 minute enabled") do
            |val| options.sleep = val

        opts.on_tail("-h", "--help", "Show this message") do
             puts opts
             exit 0

        puts "Cannot parse input parameters"
        puts opts
        exit 1
    [ options.secrets_file, options.hosted_zone ].each do |x|
        if x.empty?
            puts opts
            exit 1


# if you want to run internal DNS just replace this function with something like
# required to figure out local IP address, one can use info returned form /sbin/ficonfig as well
# example code taken from
# require 'socket'
# def get_my_ip
#   orig, Socket.do_not_reverse_lookup = Socket.do_not_reverse_lookup, true  # turn off reverse DNS resolution temporarily
# do |s|
#     s.connect '', 1
#     s.addr.last
#   end
# ensure
#   Socket.do_not_reverse_lookup = orig
# end

# define a bunch of services, that provide you with IP
# among with a function, that will help to extract it
# Amazon AWS one shall be enough though
def get_my_ip
    ip_providers = [ {
                    'url' => '',
                    'method'  =>  lambda { |x| x },
                    'validate' => lambda { |x| x =~ /^([\d]{1,3}\.){3}[\d]{1,3}$/ }
                    'url' => '',
                    'method' => lambda { |x| JSON.parse(x)['ipaddress']; },
                    'validate' => lambda { |x| JSON.parse(x).has_key?('ipaddress') }
                    'url' => '',
                    'method' => lambda { |x| x },
                    'validate' => lambda { |x| x =~  /^([\d]{1,3}\.){3}[\d]{1,3}$/ }

    # choose a random ip provider, then iterate ahead from it
    ip_good = false
    my_ip = nil
    ip_providers.each do |provider|
        puts "Polling #{provider['url']}"
        # do a request
            curl =['url'])
            data = curl.http(:get)
            response = curl.body_str
            if provider['validate'].call(response)
               my_ip = provider['method'].call(response)
               if my_ip =~ /^([\d]{1,3}\.){3}[\d]{1,3}$/
                    ip_good = true
                   warn "Result is not a dotted quad IP"
                warn "Bad response from IP lookup server. Retrying"
        rescue => e
            # assuming first two lines won't throw
            warn "Error encountered during http request. " + e.inspect
    if not ip_good
        puts "Cannot get current IP from any of external services."
        exit 1

# assuming that target HostedZone contains only one A record
# otherwise this script is not what you are looking for
def get_A_record (r53, hzid)
    zones = r53.get_zones
    # /hostedzone/[HZID]
    the_zone = { |zone| zone.host_url.split('/')[2] == hzid }

    if the_zone.nil? or the_zone.size != 1
        puts "Cannot find hosted zone"
        exit 1

    records = the_zone[0].get_records('A')
    if (records.size() != 1)
        puts "It is assumed that only one A record exists in HZ to update"
        exit 1


# Route53 is authoritative source of domain name
# anythig else is just a cache, that might become stale
# or prone to invalidation issues. One request per 5 minutes shall
# not be a problem
def get_previous_ip(r53, hzid)

def update_ip (r53, hzid, ip)
    get_A_record(r53, hzid).update(nil, nil, nil, [ip])

options = get_cli_options(ARGV)

# sleep for <60 secs to try to distribute load on Route 53 in case
# if script is too popular see also
if options.sleep
    require 'zlib'
    require 'socket'
    # take hash of hostname, which is supposed to be more or less different
    hash = Zlib.crc32(Socket.gethostname,0).to_i
    # shall we relax a bit and don't care much about bias?
    sleep_secs = hash % 60
    puts "Sleeping for #{sleep_secs} seconds before update"

my_ip = get_my_ip
puts "IP is #{my_ip}"

# get secrets file
secrets = JSON.parse(

# send update batch assuming only one zone for account for now
r53 =["access_key"], secrets["secret_key"], $API_VERSION, $ENDPOINT)
previous_ip = get_previous_ip(r53, options.hosted_zone)

puts "IP was #{previous_ip}"

if previous_ip == my_ip
    puts "Nothing to do."
    exit 0

puts "Updating ip with Route53"
update_ip(r53, options.hosted_zone, my_ip)
puts "Done"

Posted in aws, own stuff | Leave a comment

Win 32/64 unicode international keyboard layouts

Unicode support for windows is there for ages. But I always felt like something is missing – the good old school phonetic keyboards. You can learn to touch-type of course, but I found my speed of thinking to be the bottleneck and not my typing speed.  So if you are already used to QWERTY you can be a bit lazy and take these guys. Standard package built with MS keyboard layout editor.

Russian phonetic layout here

Russian doesn’t have so many extra letters, only 33, so  you’ll have to remember only a couple of them.

Armenian phonetic layout here

Armenian has slightly more, and occupies pretty much all of numbers, and not all sounds are that obvious.

No Chinese. Sorry!

Posted in own stuff | 1 Comment