AWS 101: What is Amazon Route 53?

When you’re connecting with a web page, you enter a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) into the browser to reach a certain internet location. This is how you identify it on your device’s web browser. You don’t want to end up on the wrong website.

How do your users get to your website once they type in a URL using some catchy, easy-to-remember words that relate to the website they want to reach? To them, it’s a simple mouse click. On the backend, it’s a completely different story. 

The URL is also known as a site’s domain name. Typing it into a browser is like dialing a telephone number. Each domain name is linked with a numerical address, known as the IP address (e.g. 99.86.33.31 is the IP address for AWS.com). Using the domain name saves you the hassle of remembering this lengthy number every time you want to reach a website.

data pipeline-1Once the user clicks their mouse to launch the URL, it then has to be converted into an IP address, a step that’s transparent to the user. The IP address allows computers to connect to each other, but a whole lot of work goes on in those milliseconds between typing in the URL and the final connection. 

How does this work? In an AWS cloud environment, the answer is easy: Amazon Route 53. Let’s dive deeper into this valuable service in this latest chapter of AWS 101 in the same way we have looked at using Amazon S3 and EC2 and other key AWS services in our previous blogs.

What is Amazon Route 53?

Amazon Route 53 simplifies the way cloud architecture routes users to Internet applications. As was mentioned previously when we discussed DNS, the Route 53 service translates the URL names, such as www.onixnet.com into the corresponding numeric IP address, which looks like 65.49.39.13.

Amazon Route 53 simplifies the way cloud architecture routes users to Internet applications. @OnixNetworking #AWS

This scalable, highly available Domain Name System (DNS) web service translates these readable domain names into IP addresses that then connect the user’s request with all of the AWS infrastructure services that keep things moving in the digital realm.

How Does Amazon Route 53 Work?

When a user enters a registered domain name through a URL into a web browser, that’s when Amazon Route 53 takes over and gets to work to help connect the browser with your website or web application.

network path DNSIt starts the process by sending an automated request to the app’s or website’s server to verify that it's reachable, available and functional. This service also can notify you if that server is unavailable so you can choose to route internet traffic away from it.

Amazon Route 53’s Traffic Flow feature simplifies how you choose to route your global traffic, offering latency-based routing, geo DNS, geolocation and weighted round-robin. You can combine all of these routing types with DNS failover to deliver low-latency, fault-tolerant architectures.

Route 53’s Traffic Flow feature has a visual editor that helps you manage how users are routed to endpoints. This could be within a single AWS region or even globally. It can re-route traffic to an alternate location if your primary endpoint becomes unavailable.

What are Some of Route 53’s Other Benefits?

If you’re still not sold on using Amazon Route 53 to manage your web traffic, here’s a look at some of the other benefits it offers.

It’s cost-effective and scalable

Because Amazon Route 53 automatically scales up to handle large queries and scales back down for normal usage, you pay only for the resources you use. This includes the number of queries for your domains, zone hosting for those domains and other optional features, including health checks and traffic policies. You don’t pay upfront fees, nor do you have any minimum-usage commitments.

It’s fast and simple

networkOnce you register to use AWS Route 53, you can quickly get up and running. The AWS Management Console or the easy-to-use Amazon Route 53 API helps you easily configure your DNS settings. You also can integrate the API into your web application. Once you’re running Amazon Route 53, its global network of DNS servers automatically route your users to the optimal location. This means they get low query latency, while you enjoy low update latency for DNS records management. Amazon Route 53 Traffic Flow’s features also contribute to this speed.

It’s highly available and reliable

Amazon Web Services offers distributed DNS servers to ensure that your users are consistently routed to your applications. And, as previously mentioned, Traffic Flow ensures failover protections so your users get where they need to go.

You can use it for internal routing.

All of the information I’ve just shared also applies to your organization's internal AWS account DNS.

Because Amazon Route 53 plays nicely with all of the other AWS web services, we want to be sure you understand all that Amazon Web Services has to offer. Be sure to check out other blogs in our AWS 101 series to learn more about these.

AWS 101: An Introduction to Modern Cloud Computing

AWS 101: What is Amazon WorkSpaces?

AWS 101: How Does Amazon EC2 Work in Cloud Computing?

AWS 101: What is Amazon S3 and Why Should I Use It?

AWS 101: How AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Works

AWS 101: How AWS Cloud Security Securely Protects Your Data

AWS 101: Why You Should Be Deploying AWS Lambda to Run Code

AWS 101: Using AWS Auto Scaling to Manage Infrastructure

AWS 101: Using Amazon RDS to Solve Online Auction Availability

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MEET THE AUTHOR

Gerald Van Guilder, Senior Cloud Architect

Gerald Van Guilder, Senior Cloud Architect

Gerald (Jerry) Van Guilder specializes in GCP and AWS architecture, deployments/implementations and migrations. One of the many things that he enjoys is enabling clients to feel empowered not only by technologies but also in the skill/knowledge transfer that transpires during the course of an engagement. Jerry lives (and works) in Syracuse, New York, with his wife and two pups.

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