Ngrok Introduces Free Static Domains for Developers


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  • Ngrok now offers a free static domain to its users, eliminating the need for time-limited, random domains.
  • Static domains streamline development, reducing disruptions from changing domain names.
  • While custom domains remain premium, the free static domain is a major boost for developers.

In a move that promises to simplify developers’ lives, ngrok has announced that it will now offer one free static domain to all of its free-tier users. This is a significant departure from its previous model, where users were given time-limited, random domains that expired after eight hours. The new feature aims to streamline the development process, making it easier for developers to expose their local services to the Internet for testing and collaboration.

The problem with time-limited, random domains

Before this update, ngrok’s free tier offered users a tunnel link that would expire after eight hours. This meant that developers had to restart the ngrok service to set up a new tunnel, generating a new random domain. This was a cumbersome process, especially for teams working on collaborative projects. Developers had to constantly update webhook providers, and mobile apps, and share new links with team members, leading to broken links and workflow interruptions.

The power of static domains

Static domains are a game-changer in this context. Unlike the random, time-limited domains, a static domain is permanent and unique to the user. This means that developers can focus on what matters most—building their applications—without the distraction of having to manage ever-changing domain names.

For example, a static domain could look like `panda-new-kit.ngrok-free.app`, a subdomain of one of ngrok’s owned domains. This contrasts with a non-static domain, which includes a randomly generated ID, such as `85ee564738gc.ngrok.io`.

Not to be confused with custom domains

It’s important to note that free static domains are not the same as custom or “branded” domains. Custom domains remain a premium feature and require additional configuration. While a static domain is a subdomain of ngrok-owned domains, a custom domain allows you to use your domain name and requires setup on both ngrok’s and your DNS provider’s side.

How to set up your free static domain

Setting up a static domain with your free ngrok account is straightforward. First, go to your ngrok dashboard and create a new Cloud Edge domain. This will provide you with a URL that you can use to create the tunnel from the ngrok Command Line Interface (CLI) with the following command:


ngrok http -–domain=panda-new-kit.ngrok-free.app 80


Alternatively, you can also set up the tunnel using any of the ngrok Agent SDKs available in multiple programming languages, including Go and Rust.

Kubernetes Ingress controller support

Another advantage of using a static ngrok domain is that it enables using ngrok’s Kubernetes Ingress Controller. This feature can be seen as a Kubernetes-native API wrapped around ngrok’s platform, designed to provide public and secure ingress traffic to Kubernetes services. This makes it even more versatile and useful for developers working in a Kubernetes environment.

Ngrok’s decision to offer free static domains is a significant step forward in making local development more efficient and less cumbersome. By eliminating the need to manage changing domains constantly, developers can focus more on coding and less on administrative tasks. This update is not just a win for individual developers but also teams, as it simplifies collaboration and makes it easier to maintain consistent environments across different stages of development.

While custom domains remain a premium feature, introducing free static domains is a welcome addition that promises to make developers’ lives easier. Whether you are working on a solo project or part of a larger team, this new feature will likely be a valuable addition to your development toolkit.

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Glory Kaburu

Glory is an extremely knowledgeable journalist proficient with AI tools and research. She is passionate about AI and has authored several articles on the subject. She keeps herself abreast of the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and writes about them regularly.

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