DNS is a globally distributed service that translates human readable names like www.example.com into the numeric IP addresses like 192.0.2.1 that computers use to connect to each other. The Internet’s DNS system works much like a phone book by managing the mapping between names and numbers. For DNS, the names are domain names (www.example.com) that are easy for people to remember and the numbers are IP addresses (192.0.2.1) that specify the location of computers on the Internet. DNS servers translate requests for names into IP addresses, controlling which server an end user will connect to when they type a domain name into their web browser.
Q. What is Amazon Route 53?
Amazon Route 53 is a highly available and scalable DNS service designed to give developers and businesses an extremely reliable and cost effective way to route end users to Internet applications. The name for our service (Route 53) comes from the fact that DNS servers respond to queries on port 53 and provide answers that route end users to your applications on the Internet.
Q. What can I do with Amazon Route 53?
With Amazon Route 53, you can create and manage your public DNS records. Like a phone book, Route 53 lets you manage the IP addresses listed for your domain names in the Internet’s DNS phone book. Route 53 also answers requests to translate specific domain names like www.example.com into their corresponding IP addresses like 192.0.2.1. You can use Route 53 to create DNS records for a new domain or transfer DNS records for an existing domain. The simple, standards-based REST API for Route 53 allows you to easily create, update and manage DNS records.
Q. How do I get started with Amazon Route 53?
Amazon Route 53 has a simple web service interface that lets you get started in minutes. Your DNS records are organized into “hosted zones” that you configure with the AWS Management Console or Route 53’s API. To use Route 53, you simply:
Subscribe to the service by clicking on the sign-up button on the service page.
Use the AWS Management Console or the CreateHostedZone API to create a hosted zone that can store DNS records for your domain. Upon creating the hosted zone, you receive four Route 53 name servers across four different Top-Level Domains (TLDs) to help ensure a high level of availability.
Your hosted zone will be initially populated with a basic set of DNS records, including four virtual name servers that will answer queries for your domain. You can add, delete or change records in this set by using the AWS Management Console or by calling the ChangeResourceRecordSet API . A list of supported DNS records is available here.
Inform the registrar with whom you registered your domain name to update the name servers for your domain to the ones associated with your hosted zone.
Q. How does Amazon Route 53 provide high availability and low latency?
Route 53 is built using AWS’s highly available and reliable infrastructure. The globally distributed nature of our DNS servers helps ensure a consistent ability to route your end users to your application by circumventing any internet or network related issues. Route 53 is designed to provide the level of dependability required by important applications. Using a global anycast network of DNS servers around the world, Route 53 is designed to automatically answer queries from the optimal location depending on network conditions. As a result, the service offers low query latency for your end users.
Q. What are the DNS server names for the Amazon Route 53 service?
To provide you with a highly available service, each Amazon Route 53 hosted zone is served by its own set of virtual DNS servers. The DNS server names for each hosted zone are thus assigned by the system when that hosted zone is created.
Q. How do I transfer my existing domain to Amazon Route 53 without disrupting my existing web traffic?
First, you need to get a list of the DNS record data for your domain name, generally available in the form of a “zone file” that you can get from your existing DNS provider. With the DNS record data in hand, you can use Route 53’s Management Console or simple web-services interface to create a hosted zone that can store the DNS records for your domain. To complete the domain transfer process, inform the registrar with whom you registered your domain name to update the name servers for your domain to the ones associated with your hosted zone. As soon as your registrar propagates the new name server delegations, the DNS queries from your end users will start to get answered by the Route 53 DNS servers.
Q. Which DNS record types does Amazon Route 53 support?
Amazon Route 53 currently supports the following DNS record types:
A (address record)
AAAA (IPv6 address record)
CNAME (canonical name record)
MX (mail exchange record)
NS (name server record)
PTR (pointer record)
SOA (start of authority record)
SPF (sender policy framework)
SRV (service locator)
TXT (text record)
Additionally, Route 53 offers ‘Alias’ records (a Route 53-specific virtual record). Alias records are used to map resource record sets in your hosted zone to Elastic Load Balancing load balancers or Amazon S3 buckets that are configured as websites. Alias records work like a CNAME record in that you can map one DNS name (example.com) to another ‘target’ DNS name (elb1234.elb.amazonaws.com). They differ from a CNAME record in that they are not visible to resolvers. Resolvers only see the A record and the resulting IP address of the target record.
We anticipate adding additional record types in the future.
Q. Does Amazon Route 53 support wildcard entries? If so, what record types support them?
Yes. To make it even easier for you to configure DNS settings for your domain, Amazon Route 53 supports wildcard entries for all record types. A wildcard entry is a record in a DNS zone that will match requests for any domain name based on the configuration you set. For example, a wildcard DNS record such as *.example.com will match queries for www.example.com and subdomain.example.com.
Q. Does Amazon Route 53 support Weighted Round Robin (WRR)?
Yes. Weighted Round Robin allows you to assign weights to resource record sets in order to specify the frequency with which different responses are served. You may want to use this capability to do A/B testing, sending a small portion of traffic to a server on which you’ve made a software change. For instance, suppose you have two record sets associated with one DNS name—one with weight 3 and one with weight 1. In this case, 75% of the time Route 53 will return the record set with weight 3 and 25% of the time Route 53 will return the record set with weight 1. Weights can be any number between 0 and 255.
Q. Can I point my zone apex (example.com versus www.example.com) at my Elastic Load Balancer?
Yes. Amazon Route 53 offers a special type of record called an ‘Alias’ record that lets you map your zone apex (example.com) DNS name to your ELB DNS name (i.e. elb1234.elb.amazonaws.com). IP addresses associated with Amazon Elastic Load Balancers can change at any time due to scaling up, scaling down, or software updates. Route 53 responds to each request for an Alias record with one IP address for the load balancer. If a load balancer has more than one IP address, Elastic Load Balancing selects one of the IP addresses at random and returns it to Route 53; Route 53 then responds to the request with that IP address. Queries to Alias records that are mapped to ELB load balancers are free. These queries are listed as “Intra-AWS-DNS-Queries” on the Amazon Route 53 usage report.
Q. Can I point my zone apex (example.com versus www.example.com) at my website hosted on Amazon S3?
Yes. Amazon Route 53 offers a special type of record called an ‘Alias’ record that lets you map your zone apex (example.com) DNS name to your Amazon S3 website bucket (i.e. example.com.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com). IP addresses associated with Amazon S3 website endpoints can change at any time due to scaling up, scaling down, or software updates. Route 53 responds to each request for an Alias record with one IP address for the bucket. Route 53 doesn't charge for queries to Alias records that are mapped to an S3 bucket that is configured as a website. These queries are listed as “Intra-AWS-DNS-Queries” on the Amazon Route 53 usage report.
Q. Can I use Alias records with my sub-domains?
Yes. You can also use Alias records to map your sub-domains (www.example.com, pictures.example.com, etc.) to your ELB load balancers or S3 website buckets.
Q. Does Amazon Route 53 support DNSSEC?
No. Amazon Route 53 does not support DNSSEC at this time.
Q. Does Amazon Route 53 also provide website hosting?
No. Amazon Route 53 is an authoritative DNS service and does not provide website hosting. However, you can use Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to host a static website and provide low latency delivery to your end users with Amazon CloudFront. Learn more about Amazon CloudFront here. To host a dynamic website or other web applications, you can use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), which provides flexibility, control, and significant cost savings over traditional web hosting solutions. Learn more about Amazon EC2 here.
Q. How can I use Amazon Route 53 with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon CloudFront?
You can use the Amazon Route 53 service to create a CNAME record for your domain and the Amazon S3 bucket name or the Amazon CloudFront distribution name. Note that you will also need to configure your Amazon S3 bucket or your Amazon CloudFront distribution respectively with the CNAME entry to completely establish the alias between your domain name and the AWS domain name for your bucket or distribution.
For Amazon S3 buckets configured to host static websites, you also have the option of creating an ‘Alias’ record that maps to your S3 website bucket. Alias records have two advantages: first, unlike CNAMEs, you can create an Alias record for your zone apex (e.g. example.com, instead of www.example.com), and second, queries to Alias records are free of charge.
Q. How quickly will changes I make to my DNS settings on Amazon Route 53 propagate globally?
Amazon Route 53 is designed to propagate updates you make to your DNS records to its world-wide network of authoritative DNS servers within 60 seconds under normal conditions. A change is successfully propagated world-wide when the API call returns an INSYNC status listing.
Note that caching DNS resolvers are outside the control of the Amazon Route 53 service and will cache your resource record sets according to their time to live (TTL). The INSYNC or PENDING status of a change refers only to the state of Route 53’s authoritative DNS servers.
Q. Does Amazon Route 53 use an anycast network?
Yes. Anycast is a networking and routing technology that helps your end users’ DNS queries get answered from the optimal Route 53 location given network conditions. As a result, your users get high availability and improved performance with Route 53.
Q. What is the default TTL for the various record types and can I change these values?
The time for which a DNS resolver caches a response is set by a value called the time to live (TTL) associated with every record. Amazon Route 53 does not have a default TTL for any record type. You must always specify a TTL for each record so that caching DNS resolvers can cache your DNS records to the length of time specified through the TTL.
Q. What is the difference between a Domain and a Hosted Zone?
A domain is a general DNS concept. Domain names are easily recognizable names for numerically addressed Internet resources. For example, amazon.com is a domain. A hosted zone is an Amazon Route 53 concept. A hosted zone is analogous to a traditional DNS zone file; it represents a collection of records that can be managed together, belonging to a single parent domain name. All resource record sets within a hosted zone must have the hosted zone’s domain name as a suffix. For example, the amazon.com hosted zone may contain records named www.amazon.com, and www.aws.amazon.com, but not a record named www.amazon.ca. You can use the Route 53 Management Console or API to create, inspect, modify, and delete hosted zones.
Q. Are changes to resource records sets transactional?
Yes. A transactional change helps ensure that the change is consistent, reliable, and independent of other changes. Amazon Route 53 has been designed so that changes complete entirely on any individual DNS server, or not at all. This helps ensure your DNS queries are always answered consistently, which is important when making changes such as flipping between destination servers. When using the API, each call to ChangeResourceRecordSets returns an identifier that can be used to track the status of the change. Once the status is reported as INSYNC, your change has been performed on all of the Route 53 DNS servers.
Q. What is the price of Amazon Route 53?
Amazon Route 53 charges are based on actual usage of the service in two areas: Hosted Zones and Queries.
You pay $0.50 per month per hosted zone for the first 25 hosted zones that you manage with Route 53, and $0.10 per month for each additional hosted zone.
The monthly hosted zone prices are not prorated for partial months; a hosted zone is charged upon set-up and on the first day of each subsequent month. To allow testing, a hosted zone that is deleted within 12 hours of creation is not charged; however, any queries on that zone will be charged at the rates below.
You pay $0.50 per million queries for the first 1 billion queries per month and $0.25 per million queries for any additional queries. This charge is prorated; for instance, a hosted zone with 100,000 queries would be charged $0.05. Queries to Alias records that resolve to Elastic Load Balancing instances or S3 website buckets are free of charge.
You pay only for what you use. There are no minimum fees, no minimum usage commitments, and no overage charges. You can estimate your monthly bill using the AWS Simple Monthly Calculator.
Q. Can I register domain names with Amazon Route 53?
No. Amazon Route 53 does not provide registrar support or integration at this time. For Route 53 to be able to answer DNS queries for your domains, you must inform the registrar you registered your domain name with to update your name server settings, by listing the Route 53 name servers for your hosted zone.
Q. What types of access controls can I set for the management of my Domains on Amazon Route 53?
You can control management access to your Amazon Route 53 hosted zone by using the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) service. AWS IAM allows you to control who in your organization can make changes to your DNS records by creating multiple users and managing the permissions for each of these users within your AWS Account. Learn more about AWS IAM here.
Q. Can I create multiple hosted zones for the same domain name?
Yes. Creating multiple hosted zones allows you to verify your DNS setting in a “test” environment, and then replicate those settings on a “production” hosted zone. For example, hosted zone Z1234 might be your test version of example.com, hosted on name servers ns-1, ns-2, ns-3, and ns-4. Similarly, hosted zone Z5678 might be your production version of example.com, hosted on ns-5, ns-6, ns-7, and ns-8. Since each hosted zone has a virtual set of name servers associated with that zone, Route 53 will answer DNS queries for example.com differently depending on which name server you send the DNS query to.
Q. Is there a limit to the number of domains I can manage using Amazon Route 53?
Each Amazon Route 53 account is limited to a maximum of 100 hosted zones and 10,000 resource record sets per hosted zone. Complete our request for a higher limit here and we will respond to your request within two business days.
Q. Does Amazon Route 53 support IPv6?
Amazon Route 53 supports both forward (AAAA) and reverse (PTR) IPv6 records. However, the Route 53 service itself is not available over IPv6 at this time.
Q: Can I associate multiple IP addresses with a single record?
Yes. Associating multiple IP addresses with a single record is often used for balancing the load of geographically-distributed web servers. Amazon Route 53 allows you to list multiple IP addresses for an A record and responds to DNS requests with the list of all configured IP addresses.
Q: Can I use Amazon Route 53 to manage my organization’s private IP addresses?
Amazon Route 53 does not currently offer a private DNS service. You can define DNS records that will return private IP addresses (addresses from RFC5735) in Route 53, but these records are themselves not private and any requester may query their value if the requester knows the record name.
Q: I have subscribed for Amazon Route 53 but when I try to use the service it says "The AWS Access Key ID needs a subscription for the service"
When you sign up for a new AWS service, it can take up to 24 hours in some cases to complete activation, during which time you cannot sign up for the service again. If you've been waiting longer than 24 hours without receiving an email confirming activation, this could indicate a problem with your account or the authorization of your payment details. Please contact AWS Customer Service for help.
Q. What is Amazon Route 53’s Latency Based Routing (LBR) feature?
LBR (Latency Based Routing) is a new feature for Amazon Route 53 that helps you improve your application’s performance for a global audience. You can run applications in multiple AWS regions and Amazon Route 53, using dozens of edge locations worldwide, will route end users to the AWS region that provides the lowest latency.
Q. How do I get started using Amazon Route 53’s Latency Based Routing (LBR) feature?
You can start using Amazon Route 53’s new LBR feature quickly and easily by using either the AWS Management Console or a simple API. You simply create a record set that includes the IP addresses or ELB names of various AWS endpoints and mark that record set as an LBR-enabled Record Set, much like you mark a record set as a Weighted Record Set. Amazon Route 53 takes care of the rest - determining the best endpoint for each request and routing end users accordingly, much like Amazon CloudFront, Amazon’s global content delivery service, does. You can learn more about how to use Latency Based Routing in the Amazon Route 53 Developer Guide.
Q. What is the price for Route 53's Latency Based Routing (LBR) feature?
Like all AWS services, there are no upfront fees or long term commitments to use Amazon Route 53 and LBR. Customers simply pay for the hosted zones and queries they actually use. Please visit the Amazon Route 53 pricing page for details on pricing for Standard and Latency Based Routing queries.
Q. Does Amazon Route 53 offer a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
Yes. The Amazon Route 53 SLA provides for a service credit if a customer’s monthly uptime percentage is below our service commitment in any billing cycle. More information can be found here.
Q. What is DNS Failover?
DNS Failover consists of two components: health checks and failover. Health checks are automated requests sent over the Internet to your application to verify that your application is reachable, available, and functional. You can configure the health checks to be similar to the typical requests made by your users, such as requesting a web page from a specific URL. With DNS failover, Route 53 only returns answers for resources that are healthy and reachable from the outside world, so that your end users are routed away from a failed or unhealthy part of your application.
Q. Does DNS Failover support Elastic Load Balancers (ELBs) as endpoints?
No, DNS Failover does not support Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) at this time. We’re planning to enable DNS Failover for ELB endpoints in the future.
Q. Can I configure a backup site to be used only when a health check fails?
Yes, you can use DNS Failover to maintain a backup site (for example, a static site running on an Amazon S3 website bucket) and fail over to this site in the event that your primary site becomes unreachable.
Q. Can I health check an endpoint if I don’t know its IP address?
You can configure health checks of Amazon S3 website buckets via the Amazon Route 53 Console without needing to specify an IP address. For all other endpoints, you will need to provide an IP address of the endpoint.
Q. One of my endpoints is outside AWS. Can I set up DNS Failover on this endpoint?
Yes. Just like you can create a Route 53 resource record that points to an address outside AWS, you can set up health checks for parts of your application running outside AWS, and you can fail over to any endpoint that you choose, regardless of location. For example, you may have a legacy application running in a datacenter outside AWS and a backup instance of that application running within AWS. You can set up health checks of your legacy application running outside AWS, and if the application fails the health checks, you can fail over automatically to the backup instance in AWS.
Q. If failover occurs and I have multiple healthy endpoints remaining, will Route 53 consider the load on my healthy endpoints when determining where to send traffic from the failed endpoint?
No, Route 53 does not make routing decisions based on the load or available traffic capacity of your endpoints. You will need to ensure that you have available capacity at your other endpoints, or the ability to scale at those endpoints, in order to handle the traffic that had been flowing to your failed endpoint.
Q. How many health checks does an endpoint need to fail in a row in order to be considered “failed”?
When an endpoint has failed three (3) consecutive health checks, Route 53 will consider it failed. However, Route 53 will continue to perform health checks on the endpoint and will resume sending traffic to it once it passes health checks again.
Q. When my failed endpoint becomes healthy again, how is the DNS failover reversed?
After a failed endpoint passes three (3) consecutive health checks, Route 53 will restore its DNS records automatically, and traffic to that endpoint will resume with no action required on your part.
Q. What is the interval between health checks?
Health check observations are conducted at an interval of 30 seconds.
Q. What is the sequence of events when failover happens?
In simplest terms, the following events will take place if a health check fails and failover occurs:
Route 53 conducts a health check of your application. In this example, your application fails three consecutive health checks, triggering the following events.
Route 53 disables the resource records for the failed endpoint and no longer serves these records. This is the failover step, which causes traffic to begin being routed to your healthy endpoint(s) instead of your failed endpoint.
Q. Do I need to adjust the TTL for my records in order to use DNS Failover?
The time for which a DNS resolver caches a response is set by a value called the time to live (TTL) associated with every record. We recommend a TTL of 60 seconds or less when using DNS Failover, to minimize the amount of time it takes for traffic to stop being routed to your failed endpoint.
Q. What happens if all of my endpoints are unhealthy?
Route 53 can only fail over to an endpoint that is healthy. If there are no healthy endpoints remaining in a resource record set, Route 53 will behave as if all health checks are passing.
Q. Can I use DNS Failover without using Latency Based Routing (LBR)?
Yes. You can configure DNS Failover without using LBR. In particular, you can use DNS failover to configure a simple failover scenario where Route 53 monitors your primary website and fails over to a backup site in the event that your primary site is unavailable.
Q. Can I configure a health check on a site accessible only via HTTPS?
Route 53 health checks can be configured to run over HTTP or TCP. We do not support health checks over HTTPS. If your site is only available via HTTPS, you can do one of the following (1) set up a health check over TCP on port 443, or (2) create a dedicated “status page” that is available over HTTP and specify this page as the target of the health check.
Latency Based Routing
Route end users to the AWS region that provides the lowest possible latency. Learn more
Weighted Round Robin
Amazon Route 53 offers Weighted Round Robin (WRR) functionality. Learn more
Amazon ELB Integration
Amazon Route 53 is integrated with Elastic Load Balancing (ELB).
Amazon Route53 works with the AWS Management Console. This web-based, point-and-click, graphical user interface lets you manage Amazon Route 53 without writing any code at all. Learn more
Novel use of Amazon Route 53 and Elastic Load Balancers (ELB) enabled NASA/JPL to balance the load across AWS regions and ensure the availability of its content under all circumstances imaginable during Curiosity’s Mars landing.
Nathan Butler of The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company explains, “We were able to reduce our DNS costs by ninety-three percent, which in tandem allowed us to shorten our time-to-live (TTLs) for easier, timelier management of DNS records."
HootSuite says, "With the low TTL we can now move a hostname to a new IP, and have it globally live in about 5 minutes instead of 30. Even better, inside the cloud, these changes are virtually instant, regardless of TTL settings."