This article is the first in a series covering AWS Route 53 service. Route 53 is a DNS web service, and like any other DNS service, it allows routing of the users’ requests to your infrastructure. This infrastructure can be based on one or a combination of multiple AWS services (Amazon EC2, Amazon S3) or your own infrastructure.

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AWS Route 53 provides authoritative name server capabilities, which means it can translate friendly domain names into IP addresses using a global network of authoritative name servers that respond to DNS queries.

In this article, we will:

  • Discuss DNS basics.
  • Register a new domain.
  • Configure a resource record for the domain.

So let’s discuss some of the basics of DNS. A hosted zone is a collection of resource records kept by AWS Route 53. This is similar to the traditional DNS zone file where multiple resource records were managed under a single domain name. All the resources from a hosted zone have the same suffix. For instance, www.vtep.net and test.vtep.net belong to the same hosted zone.

A DNS name is a series of labels separated by dots. Each label can be up to 63 characters but the whole name cannot be more than 255 bytes including the dots.

In this article we will register a new domain using Route 53.

From the “AWS Console Management”, in the “Compute & Networking” section, choose “Route 53”. Choose the “Domain Registration” section:

Click on “Register Domain” to register a new domain:

Choose your preferred domain name and click on “Check” to see if the domain is available:

As you can see, the domain is available. If you are sure that you would like to register it, then click on “Add to chart” and you will see it added to the shopping cart on the right-hand section of the page.

Click on “Continue” to move ahead to contact details:

Fill in the contact details. By default, AWS assumes that registrant, administrative and technical contacts are all the same. In our case, they are, so you can click on “Continue”:

If you are sure that the details are correct, you can go ahead and register the domain by clicking on “Complete Purchase”:

After that, you will get a notification that the registration is in progress. Click on “Go To Dashboard” to see the status of your domains:

As you can see, the registration is in progress:

Shortly after this, I received an email on the contact email address that I used in the registration step asking me to validate the registration. Once I did that, the domain was registered and this can be seen in the Route 53 dashboard:

OK, now I have the domain registered, which will make it easier for users to find my website. Obviously the website has to sit on a server (physical or virtual one like an EC2 instance). Because this is about AWS, we will use an EC2 instance.

I have an Amazon Linux AMI EC2 instance already running that has Apache installed and started. For instance, if I access the external IP address of the EC2 instance in a web browser, I see this message which shows that Apache is installed and running correctly.

However, as you might know, it’s unlikely that a user will remember the IP address of the server hosting my website. So we need to make an association between my domain and the IP address of the server hosting the website.

This is how it’s done.

From the Route 53 dashboard, choose “Hosted Zones”:

Then double click the row of your hosted zone:

Click on “Create Record Set”:

Now you need to enter the details for the record set. For instance, I want that every time a user types http://www.vtep.net in a browser, the IP address of my server would be returned:

Once you are done, click on “Create” to add the record and you will see it in the “Hosted Zones”:

From now on, every time I access www.vtep.net, I will be redirected to my EC2 instance:

Nice, isn’t it? By reaching the end of this article, you should now know the basics of DNS, how to register a new domain and how to create a resource record so that web browsers are redirected to the correct IP address whenever the website is accessed.

References:

  1. Amazon Route 53
  2. Supported DNS Resource Record Types