Amazon Web Services is presently the market leader in public cloud services. Presently, AWS is the most popular public cloud infrastructure platform accounting for 41.5% of the total application workloads in the public cloud. As a result, the popularity of AWS services such as Amazon route 53 is evidently valid.

However, enterprises are not sure about the type of services they want from AWS for their needs. Why? A large assortment of AWS services and the lack of specific information regarding the suitable services for business needs is the root of confusion for enterprises. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to know about functionalities, benefits, and use of different AWS services. 

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The following discussion would aim at describing the AWS route 53 service. Readers could find this discussion helpful for learning more about Amazon route 53 features and basic steps for its configuration. In addition, the discussion would also focus on ways to get started with route 53 on AWS. Most important of all, the discussion would present a comprehensive description of the benefits from Amazon route 53.

Understanding the basics of Route 53

The AWS route 53 service is the Domain Name System (DNS) service of AWS with higher availability and scalability. In addition, route 53 also facilitates health-checking and domain name registration web services. The design of route 53 aims at providing a highly reliable and cost-effective approach for routing end-users to Internet applications.

The DNS service helps in the translation of domain names into numeric IP addresses that computers use for connecting to each other. In addition, Amazon route 53 features help in a combination of DNS with health-checking services for traffic routing to healthy endpoints. In addition, you can also route traffic for independent monitoring or alarm on endpoints. 

Many people wonder why is it called route 53! The basic explanation for such doubts is the reference to TCP or UDP port 53. The ‘route’ element in the name route 53 is an inspiration from the iconic ‘Route 66” in the USA. You can also think of the ‘route’ part as an indication of the path for routing traffic to Amazon DNS. Now, you must have cleared your doubts about the name of the DNS service of AWS and why is it called route 53

The other functionalities of Amazon route 53 include purchasing and managing domain names alongside the configuration of DNS settings for specific domains. In addition, route 53 also offers effective connectivity between user requests and infrastructure running on AWS. The infrastructure running on AWS includes Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon S3 buckets, or Elastic Load Balancing load balancers. The applications of route 53 also help in routing users to infrastructure external to AWS. 

Routing policies

The next important addition in this amazon route 53 tutorial refers to the AWS routing policies. The different routing policies in route 53 include simple routing, geolocation routing, and latency-based routing. In addition, you can also find the weighted routing policy and failover routing policy with route 53. Let us take a look at the different routing policies in detail as follows.

Confused between Route 53 Policies? Here we bring the difference between Route 53 Latency-based Routing policy and Route 53 Geolocation Routing Policy.

Simple routing policy

As the name suggests, this is the most basic routing type. Simple routing involves a response to DNS queries only on the basis of values in the AWS route table. A simple routing policy is ideal in cases where you have a single resource performing a specific function for the concerned domain.

For example, if the application server has a public IP address like 205.251.242.101 and you want a human-readable address on amazon.com, then you can use a simple routing policy. Amazon route 53 can help in mapping amazon.com to the concerned IP. As a result, every browser request for amazon.com would then go to 205.251.242.101.

Geolocation routing

According to amazon route 53 documentation, the geolocation routing policy helps in the allocation of resource targets according to the geographic location of the user. For example, as you can see in the image below, all queries from Europe should go to the IP address 10.20.30.40. The routing of all queries in Europe to a server located in a similar physical region can help in the reduction of latency. Geolocation involves mapping of IP addresses to locations irrespective of the regions.

Latency-based routing policy

Applications hosted on EC2 instances in multiple regions could lead to higher latency. However, Amazon route 53 can help in reducing user latency through serving requests from regions with the lowest latency. The latency-based policy involves routing of traffic requests to servers that can respond with the lowest possible delay (latency). For example, you can run an application in multiple AWS regions with route 53 for automatic routing of users to regions that can deliver quickly.

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Weighted Routing policy

Weighted routing policy is an important addition to this Amazon route 53 tutorial. The weighted routing policy involves the assignment of different numeric weights to various servers providing a specific web service. As a result, you can route a higher or lower percentage of incoming traffic according to the weights. The benefit of a weighted routing policy is clearly evident in load balancing and testing the new versions of software packages.

Failover routing policy

A failover routing policy helps in sending traffic to a server that is set as the primary server. However, the routing works only as long as the server is healthy. If the health checks find out that the primary server is failing, then traffic goes to a designated backup resource.

AWS Route Tables

Now, it is clearly evident that Amazon route 53 works by mapping end-user to a domain name or IP address. So, what is the record of these routes, or where are they stored? The answer is AWS route tables! AWS route table contains a collection of routes or rules for determining the destination for routing network traffic.

All subnets in a VPC should have an attachment with an AWS route table. The table then takes control over routing the concerned subnets. Subnets cannot associate with multiple route tables at a particular time. However, multiple subnets could connect with a single AWS route table. The AWS route table provides information about the destination IP address and the target resource, as shown in the image below.

Also Check: A Guide on How DNS Works

Features of Route 53

The routing policies and route table make it easier for route 53 to serve as a DNS service. However, the features of Amazon route 53 drive its popularity. Let us take a look at the crucial features of route 53 on AWS as follows:

1. Resolver

The “Resolver” feature of route 53 helps in obtaining recursive DNS for Amazon VPC and on-premises networks. It also helps in the creation of conditional forwarding rules and DNS endpoints. The functionality of Resolver is evident in addressing custom names mastered in private hosted zones of route 53 or on-premise DNS servers. 

2. Traffic flow

The ease of use and cost-effectiveness with route 53 for global traffic management is one of its commendable features. As discussed above, route 53 helps in routing end-users to the best endpoint for an application. The routing policies provide control for choosing the criteria for routing traffic to end-users.

3. Private DNS for Amazon VPC

Amazon route 53 documentation presents the private DNS for Amazon VPC as a highly crucial feature in route 53. This feature helps in the management of custom domain names for internal AWS resources. Most important of all, the process does not involve the exposure of DNS data to the public internet. 

4. Health checks and monitoring

You can find insights regarding the performance of your application with the help of route 53. In addition, it can also help in monitoring the health and performance of your web servers and other resources. 

5. Domain registration

The facility of domain registration services is the core of Amazon route 53. Users could search for available domain names and register a domain name according to their choice. Furthermore, users also have the option of transferring in existing domain names for management by route 53. 

6. CloudFront Zone Apex Support

If you use Amazon CloudFront for delivering website content, then visitors to your website could access the site at the zone apex. The zone apex is the root domain. For instance, visitors could access the website as xyz.com rather than www.xyz.com

7. S3 Zone Apex Support

If you use Amazon S3 for hosting your website, visitors can access the site at the zone apex. 

Amazon ELB Integration

The integration of route 53 with Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) load balancing is a promising feature for routing traffic.

8. Management Console

The compatibility of Amazon route 53 with the AWS Management Console is a reliable indicator of its ease of use. The Management Console can help in the management of route 53 without having to write a single line of code. The Management Console is web-based and has a point-and-click, graphical user interface, thereby improving ease of use for route 53. 

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Process for configuring Route 53

After an outline of features of route 53, the next important step in this tutorial would be the process for configuring route 53. Here is a step-by-step outline of the steps for the configuration of Amazon route 53

Access the console for route 53 on AWS by using the link https://console.aws.amazon.com/route53

Find the option of “Create Hosted Zone” on the top left side of the navigation bar and click on it.

You would find a form page after completing the previous step. In this step, you have to provide important details such as domain names and comments. After entering the required information, click on the “Create” button.

Now, you have a hosted zone for the domain. You can find four DNS endpoints known as delegation set. You have to update the endpoints in the Nameserver settings of domain name.

Choose the domain’s control panel and update the Amazon route 53 DNS endpoints through the domain hosting service. You have to delete the rest default values and the update process will take 2 or 3 minutes.

Now, you have to return back to the Route 53 console. Select the “Go to Record Sets” option. You will find a list of record sets. The default setting of record set types are NS and SOA type.

For the creation of record set. Click on the “Create Record Set” option. Fill all the important details such as Name, Routing Policy, Alias, Type, TTL seconds Value and other information. Then, click on the “Save Record Set” button.

In the final step, create another record for another region. This helps in having two record sets with the same domain name pointing to various IP addresses according to chosen routing policy.

After completing configuration of Amazon Route 53, the routing of user requests would follow the network policy.

Other Helpful Resources:

S3 One Zone IA vs S3 Standard IA 
DNS Records – A, CNAME, ALIAS, MX & AAAA
Simplifying Ephemeral Ports with Example

AWS Route 53 Pricing

As other AWS services, AWS Route 53 pricing also follows the pay-as-you-go model. AWS charges monthly rates that vary according to usage and the charges vary according to the route 53 service you use. Here is an outline of the different pricing for services of route 53.

  1. AWS charges $0.50 for every hosted DNS zone per month. This pricing is applicable for the first 25 hosted zones and each additional zone costs $0.10.
  2. The charge for policy records is $50 for every DNS name.
  3. The pricing for standard queries is $0.4 for a million queries for the first billion queries. For additional queries, the pricing is $0.2 for a million queries per month.
  4. For latency-based routing queries, the pricing  is $0.6 for a million queries for the first billion queries. The charges are applicable on a monthly basis. For additional queries, AWS charges $0.35 per month for a million queries.
  5. The AWS Route 53 pricing of geo-based queries is $0.7 per million queries in the case of first billion queries for every month. The additional charges are $0.35 for an additional million queries per month.
  6. The pricing for health checks of AWS endpoints is an important reason to start right now with Amazon route 53 free tier. How? You get the health checks for the first 50 AWS endpoints for free! The charges for additional endpoints are $0.5 for every endpoint per month.

You can also find a detailed price sheet on AWS for domain registration services with route 53. The price sheet outlines the different charges for registering domains across different TLDs (Top-Level Domains).

Here is the AWS Rote 50 Pricing sheet.

Benefits of Route 53

The final aspect of this discussion on Route 53 should focus on its benefits.

1. High availability and reliability

First of all, the design of route 53 leverages the AWS infrastructure with high availability and reliability. As a result, users can get the AWS route 53 benefits of higher availability and reliability. The distributed DNS servers of AWS help in achieving consistent ability for routing end-users to concerned application.

The feature of “Traffic Flow” helps in improvement of reliability by providing easy configuration of failover routing policy. The design of route 53 also serves higher effectiveness in providing necessary levels of dependability for crucial applications. The Amazon Route 53 Service Level Agreement provides the guarantee for availability and reliability benefits.

2. Flexibility of routing

The routing of traffic on the basis of different criteria such as latency, endpoint health and geographic location is advantageous. The flexibility of route 53 allows configuration of multiple traffic policies and determine the activity of policies at a particular point of time. Users can create and edit traffic policies by leveraging the easy-to-use visual editor in the AWS SDKs, route 53 console or the route 53 API. The versioning feature in Traffic Flow helps in maintaining records of changes to traffic policies. As a result, users could revert back to a previous version easily through the console or API.

3. Compatibility with other AWS services

The effective working of route 53 with other AWS features and services is a prominent entry among AWS route 53 benefits. Route 53 can help in mapping domain names to Amazon CloudFront distributions, EC2 instances, S3 buckets and other AWS resources. Use of AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) with route 53 helps in obtaining comprehensive control over privileges for updating DNS data. Amazon Route 53 also offers benefits of mapping zone apex to an Elastic Load Balancing instance, AWS Elastic Beanstalk environment or VPC endpoint. A special feature, known as Alias record, helps in achieving such functionalities.

4. Simple to start with

The simplicity of getting started with an Amazon route 53 free tier is one of the important benefits. The facility of in-depth AWS documentation also provides better opportunities for users to learn more about Route 53. Users could configure DNS settings with the AWS Management Console or the easy-to-use API. In addition, users can avail the benefit of programmatically integrating route 53 API for creation of new DNS records.

5. A network spanning the globe

The global anycast network of DNS servers spread worldwide helps in availing the benefit of lightning speed. Route 53 provides automatic routing of users to an optimal location according to network conditions. Traffic Flow helps in improving customer experience through running applications on multiple locations.

6. Other significant advantages

The concerns of cost are very clear in the case of route 53. The pay-as-you-go model gives you the benefit of saving costs. In addition, route 53 also offers additional security through integration with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) service. Finally, the benefits of scalability are evident with all services of AWS and route 53 is not an exception. You can automatically scale route 43 for addressing massive query volumes without any intervention on your behalf.

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Conclusion

Looking at the above-mentioned information about Amazon route 53, it is clear that it resonates many traits of AWS. For example, higher availability, scalability, reliability, security and cost-effectiveness. The facility of different pricing options for services that you use in Route 53 is another prominent highlight.

The ability to use route 53 with other AWS services is a prolific feature for enterprises all over the world. The ease of configuration for route 53 is also another reliable advantage that drives its adoption. The continuous expansion of the AWS landscape also implies towards potential improvements in functionalities of route 53. So, get ready to learn more about route 53 and make the most of its unique and revolutionary features!

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