AWS: Route 53 Overview

What is Route53?

Route 53 is the domain name management service provided by AWS that provides us with further opportunities to make our environment highly available & fault tolerant.

Where does Route53 fit in your environment?

Route53 sits outside of your VPC. It routes traffic from the open internet towards the internet gateway that is attached to your VPC. The internet gateway then routes the traffic to the appropriate route table and traffic will find its way to its destination (if it is permitted).

Route 53 can be used to send traffic to Cloudfront, ELB, EC2, RDS or S3 instances and can be used both externally (i.e. domain name on the internet) and internally (custom hostnames within a VPC).

Route 53 has a number of different routing options:

SimpleRoute to a single endpoint like an EC2 instance
WeightedSend a certain % of traffic to one end point and the rest to another. Very useful when migrating from on-premise to AWS as you can test on small amounts of traffic & gradually ramp up.
LatencyWill choose from a selection of endpoints, based on the users latency to each end point.
FailoverIf an instance goes down, Route53 can route to a secondary (backup) endpoint, such as S3. To use S3 as an end point, the bucket name must be the same as the domain name. Remember: you must set ‘evaluate target health’ to yes on the primary record.
GeoWill choose from a selection of endpoints, based on the users distance from each end point.

Each domain has its own ‘hosted zone’ within AWS and will be prepopulated with nameserver records (NS) and Start Of Authority (SOA) records.

When setting up your routing, you can utilize service aliases (for ELB, Cloudfront, Elastic Beanstalk and S3 buckets) within AWS. For example, you can simply refer to your ELB’s alias, rather than specific IPs or hostnames. This is just a much simpler way to manage your domain name.