Amazon Route 53 performs three main functions:
Domain registration – Amazon Route 53 lets you register domain names such as example.com.
Domain Name System (DNS) service – Amazon Route 53 translates friendly domains names like www.example.com into IP addresses like 192.0.2.1. Amazon Route 53 responds to DNS queries using a global network of authoritative DNS servers, which reduces latency.
Health checking – Amazon Route 53 sends automated requests over the Internet to your application to verify that it's reachable, available, and functional.
You can use any combination of these functions. For example, you can use Amazon Route 53 as both your registrar and your DNS service, or you can use Amazon Route 53 as the DNS service for a domain that you registered with another domain registrar.
If you want to create a website, you start by registering the name of your website, known as a domain name. Your domain name is the name, such as example.com, that your users enter in a browser to display your website. For more information, see Registering Domain Names Using Amazon Route 53.
If you already registered a domain name with another registrar, you can optionally transfer the domain registration to Amazon Route 53. This isn't required to use Amazon Route 53 as your DNS service or to configure health checking for your resources. For more information, see Transferring Registration for a Domain to Amazon Route 53.
Amazon Route 53 supports domain registration for a wide variety of generic top-level domains (such as .com or .org) and geographic top-level domains (such as .be or .us). For a complete list of supported top-level domains, see Domains Supported by Amazon Route 53.
Amazon Route 53 is an authoritative DNS service, meaning that it routes Internet traffic to your website by translating friendly domain names like www.example.com into the numeric IP addresses like 192.0.2.1 that computers use to connect to each other. When someone enters your domain name in a browser or sends you email, a DNS request is forwarded to the nearest Amazon Route 53 DNS server in a global network of authoritative DNS servers. Amazon Route 53 responds with the IP address that you specified. For a list of the locations of Amazon Route 53 DNS servers, see The Amazon Route 53 Global Network section on the Amazon Route 53 Product Details page.
If you register a new domain name with Amazon Route 53, we automatically configure Amazon Route 53 as the DNS service for the domain, and we create a hosted zone for your domain. You add resource record sets to the hosted zone, which define how you want Amazon Route 53 to respond to DNS queries for your domain—for example, with the IP address for a web server, the IP address for the nearest CloudFront edge location, or the IP address for an Elastic Load Balancing load balancer. For more information, see Working with Resource Record Sets.
If you registered your domain with another domain registrar, that registrar is likely providing the DNS service for your domain. You can transfer DNS service to Amazon Route 53, either with or without transferring registration for the domain. For information about transferring DNS service to Amazon Route 53, see Configuring Amazon Route 53 as Your DNS Service.
If you're using Amazon CloudFront, Amazon S3, or Elastic Load Balancing, you can configure Amazon Route 53 to route Internet traffic to those resources. There's no charge for the DNS queries that Amazon Route 53 routes to CloudFront, Amazon S3, or Elastic Load Balancing. For information about routing queries to a variety of AWS resources, including Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon RDS databases, and Amazon WorkMail, see Routing Queries to AWS Resources.
Amazon Route 53 health checks monitor the health of your resources such as web servers and email servers. You can configure CloudWatch alarms for your health checks, so that you receive notification when a resource becomes unavailable. You can also configure Amazon Route 53 to route Internet traffic away from resources that are unavailable. For more information about using Amazon Route 53 to monitor the health of your resources, see Amazon Route 53 Health Checks and DNS Failover.