Best practices for Amazon Route 53 DNS - Amazon Route 53

Best practices for Amazon Route 53 DNS

Follow these best practices to get the best results when using the Amazon Route 53 DNS service.

Use data plane functions for DNS failover and app recovery

The data planes for Route 53, including health checks, and Amazon Route 53 Application Recovery Controller routing control are globally distributed, and are designed for 100% availability and functionality, even during severe events. They integrate with each other and don't depend on control plane functionality. While the control planes for these services, including their consoles, are generally very reliable, they're designed in a more centralized way and prioritize durability and consistency rather than high availability. For scenarios such as failover during disaster recovery, we recommend that you use features like Route 53 health checks and Route 53 ARC routing control that rely on data plane functionality to update DNS. For more information, see Control and data plane concepts and Blog: Creating Disaster Recovery Mechanisms Using Amazon Route 53.

Choosing TTL values for DNS records

The DNS TTL is the numeric value (in seconds) that DNS resolvers use to decide how long a record can be cached for without making another query to Route 53. All DNS records must have a TTL specified for them. The recommended range for TTL values is 60 to 172,800 seconds.

The choice of a TTL is a trade-off between latency and reliability, and responsiveness to change. With shorter TTLs on a record, DNS resolvers notice updates to the record quicker as they must query more frequently. This increases the query volume (and cost). As you lengthen the TTL, DNS resolvers answer queries from cache more often, which is typically faster, cheaper, and in some situations, more reliable, because it avoids queries across the internet. There is no correct value, but it is worthwhile to think about whether responsiveness or reliability is more important to you.

Things to consider when you set TTL values include:

  • Set DNS record TTLs for the length of time that you can afford to wait for a change to take effect. This is especially true on delegations (NS record sets), or other records that rarely change, for example MX records. For these records, longer TTLs are recommended. A value between an hour (3600s) and a day (86,400s) is a common choice.

  • For records that need to be altered as part of a rapid failover mechanism (especially records that are health checked), lower TTLs are appropriate. Setting a TTL of 60 or 120 seconds is a common choice for this scenario.

  • When you want to make changes to critical DNS entries, we recommend that you temporarily shorten the TTLs. Then you can make the changes, observe, and rollback quickly if you need to. After the changes are finalized and working as expected, you can increase the TTL.

For more information see TTL (seconds).

CNAME records

DNS CNAME records are a way to point one domain name to another. If a DNS resolver resolves and finds a CNAME pointing at, the DNS resolver must proceed to resolve before it can respond. These records are useful in many situations, for example, to ensure consistency when a website has more than one domain name.

However, DNS resolvers must make more queries to answer CNAMEs, which increases latency and costs. Where possible, a faster and cheaper alternative is to use a Route 53 alias record. Alias records allow Route 53 to respond with a direct answer for AWS resources (for example, a load balancer) and for other domains within the same hosted zone.

For more information, see Routing internet traffic to your AWS resources.

Advanced DNS routing
  • When using geolocation, geoproximity, or latency-based routing, always set a default, unless you want some clients to receive no answer responses.

  • To minimize application latency, use latency-based routing. This type of routing data can change frequently.

  • To provide routing stability and predictability, use either geolocation or geoproximity routing.

For more information, see Geolocation routing, Geoproximity routing, and Latency-based routing.

DNS change propagation

When you create or update a record or hosted zone by using the Route 53 console or API, it takes some time for the change to be reflected across the internet. This is called change propagation. While propagation typically takes less than one minute globally, there are occasionally delays, for example, due to problems syncing to one location, or in rare cases, problems within the central control plane. If you are building automated provisioning work flows, and it is important to wait for change propagation to complete before you move forward with the next work flow step, use the GetChange API to verify that your DNS changes have gone into effect (Status =INSYNC) .

DNS delegation

When you delegate multiple levels of subdomains in DNS, it is important to always delegate from the parent zone. For example, if you are delegating, you should do so from the zone, not from the zone. Delegations from a grandparent to a child zone might not work at all or work only inconsistently. For more information, see Routing traffic for subdomains.

Size of DNS response

Avoid creating large single responses. If responses are larger than 512 bytes, many DNS resolvers must retry over TCP instead of UDP, which can reduce reliability and lead to slower responses. We recommend using multivalue answer routing, which chooses eight healthy random IP addresses to keep responses within the 512 byte boundary.

For more information, see Multivalue answer routing and DNS Reply Size Test Server.