What are the prerequisites for updating my name servers at the Route 53 registrar?

Last updated: 2021-05-20

I want to add or change name servers for my domain that's registered with Amazon Route 53. What can I do for prerequisites to prevent the domain from being unavailable?

Short description

When you update the name servers for your domain at the registrar level, your domain might become unavailable for a few days. Additionally, you might notice that the domain inconsistently resolves to different values from different systems. To avoid these issues, complete the following steps before changing the name servers at the domain registrar:

  1. Configure the new hosted zone.
  2. Lower the Time to Live (TTL) value.
  3. Wait for the previous TTL to expire.
  4. Update the name server (NS) record with your current DNS service provider to use new name servers.
  5. Increase the TTL value.


Complete the following steps to be sure of minimal downtime and high availability of your domain. After you complete the following prerequisite steps, update the names servers at the Route 53 registrar.

Configure the new hosted zone

Before updating nameservers at the registrar, make sure that the new set of nameservers have all the required records in their zone file.

If you want to use Route 53 as a DNS service for your domain, then create a hosted zone with all required records. For more information on how to use Route 53 as the DNS service, see Creating a public hosted zone. To use another DNS service for your domain, use the method provided by your DNS provider to create the zones and required records.

Lower the TTL value

The TTL value setting sets the duration that DNS resolvers cache records and use cached information. When the TTL expires, the resolver sends another query to the DNS service provider for updated information. The default TTL setting for an NS record in Route 53 is 172,800 seconds (two days). If you don't lower the TTL, your domain might be unavailable for up to two days.

Lowering the TTL value for the records is a best practice as doing so reduces the time for which we may see response from older name server after updating. Doing so can also reduce downtime for your domain if you discover any problem while updating the name servers.

Lower the TTL value for the following records to the minimum value:

  • Current NS record in the currently used zone.
  • New NS record in the newly created zone.

If you're using Route 53 for the DNS service, see Lower TTL settings.

Wait for the previous TTL to expire

If your domain is in use, then DNS resolvers have cached the name servers. A DNS resolver that cached the names a few minutes ago saves the name for almost two more days (TTL).

To avoid discrepancy in answers (where some resolvers refer old name servers and some refer new name servers), wait for two days (or the previous TTL amount of time) after lowering the TTL. After the previous TTL expires and resolvers make the new request, the resolvers will get the current name servers and the new TTL value that you specified.

Update the NS record with your current DNS service provider to use the new name servers

Update the NS record with your current DNS service provider to use the new name servers. If you're using Route 53 for the DNS service, then update the current DNS service provider with the Route 53 name servers.

Increase the TTL value

Monitor the traffic for your domain. After you confirm that DNS resolution is working with the new name servers, increase the TTL value to a more common value, such as 172,800 seconds (two days).

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