Amazon Route 53
Developer Guide (API Version 2013-04-01)

Task List for Configuring DNS Failover

To use Amazon Route 53 to configure DNS failover, perform the following tasks:

  1. Draw a complete diagram of your configuration, and indicate which type of resource record set you're creating (weighted alias, failover, weighted, and so on) for each node:

    • In a simple configuration, your diagram will include only weighted, latency, geolocation, or failover resource record sets; it won't include any alias resource record sets.

    • In a complex configuration, your diagram will include a combination of alias resource record sets (weighted alias, latency alias, geolocation alias, and/or failover alias) and non-alias resource record sets in a multi-level tree like the examples in the topic How Health Checks Work in Complex Amazon Route 53 Configurations.

  2. Create health checks for each Amazon EC2 server and each non-AWS resource, such as an email server running in your data center, that you want to include in your configuration. You'll associate these health checks with your non-alias resource record sets.

    For more information, see Creating, Updating, and Deleting Health Checks.

  3. Create all of the non-alias resource record sets in your diagram, and associate the health checks that you created in step 2 with the applicable resource record sets.

    You can associate health checks with resource record sets by using the Amazon Route 53 console or the Amazon Route 53 API. For more information, see the applicable documentation:


    To quickly and easily create resource record sets for complex routing configurations and associate the resource record sets with health checks, you can use the traffic flow visual editor and save the configuration as a traffic policy. You can then associate the traffic policy with one or more domain names (such as or subdomain names (such as, in the same hosted zone or in multiple hosted zones. In addition, you can roll back the updates if the new configuration isn't performing as you expected it to. For more information, see Using Traffic Flow to Route DNS Traffic.

    If you're configuring DNS failover in a simple configuration, with no alias resource record sets, skip the remaining tasks.

  4. Starting at the bottom of the tree diagram that you created in step 1, create the alias resource record sets (including weighted, latency, geolocation routing, and failover alias resource record sets) for which the alias target is one of the resource record sets that you created in step 3. If you want Amazon Route 53 to try another branch of the tree when all of the non-alias resource record sets are unhealthy in a branch of your tree, set the value of Evaluate Target Health to Yes for each of your alias resource record sets.

  5. If your tree diagram includes nodes for which you have not yet created alias resource record sets, create the remaining alias resource record sets, working from the bottom of the tree toward the top.

    Remember that you cannot create an alias resource record set if the alias target resource record set doesn't exist yet.