AWS Certification – Route 53 Overview

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Route 53

  • Amazon Route 53 provides three main functions:
    • Domain registration
      • allows you to register domain names
    • Domain Name System (DNS) service
      • translates friendly domains names like into IP addresses like
      • responds to DNS queries using a global network of authoritative DNS servers, which reduces latency
      • can route Internet traffic to CloudFront, Elastic Beanstalk, ELB, or S3. There’s no charge for DNS queries to these resources
    • Health checking
      • can monitor the health of resources such as web and email servers.
      • sends automated requests over the Internet to the application to
        verify that it’s reachable, available, and functional
      • CloudWatch alarms can be configured for the health checks to send notification when a resource becomes unavailable.
      • can be configured to route Internet traffic away from resources that are unavailable

Supported DNS Resource Record Types

  • A (Address) Format
    • is an IPv4 address in dotted decimal notation for e.g.
  • AAAA Format
    • is an IPv6 address in colon-separated hexadecimal format
  • CNAME Format
    • is the same format as a domain name
    • DNS protocol does not allow creation of a CNAME record for the top node of a DNS namespace, also known as the zone apex for e.g. the DNS name registration, the zone apex is, a CNAME record for cannot be created, but CNAME records can be created for, etc.
    • If a CNAME record is created for a subdomain, any other resource record sets for that subdomain cannot be created for e.g. if a CNAME created for, not other resource record sets for which the value of the Name field is can be created
  • MX (Mail Xchange) Format
    • contains a decimal number that represents the priority of the MX record, and the domain name of an email server
  • NS (Name Server) Format
    • An NS record identifies the name servers for the hosted zone. The value for an NS record is the domain name of a name server.
  • PTR Format
    • A PTR record Value element is the same format as a domain name.
  • SOA (Start of Authority) Format
    • SOA record provides information about a domain and the corresponding Amazon Route 53 hosted zone
  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework) Format
    • SPF records were formerly used to verify the identity of the sender of email messages, however is not recommended
    • Instead of an SPF record, a TXT record that contains the applicable value is recommended
  • SRV Format
    • An SRV record Value element consists of four space-separated values.The first three values are decimal numbers representing priority, weight, and port. The fourth value is a domain name for e.g. 10 5 80
  • TXT (Text) Format
    • A TXT record contains a space-separated list of double-quoted strings. A single string include a maximum
      of 255 characters. In addition to the characters that are permitted unescaped in domain names, space
      is allowed in TXT strings

Alias resource record sets

  • Route 53 supports alias resource record sets, which enables routing of queries to a CloudFront distribution, Elastic Beanstalk, ELB, an S3 bucket configured as a static website, or another Route 53 resource record set
  • Alias records are not standard for DNS RFC and are an Route 53 extension to DNS functionality
  • Alias records help map the apex zone (root domain without the www) records to the load balancer DNS name as the DNS specification requires “zone apex” to point to an ‘A’ record (ip address) and not to an CNAME
  • Route 53 automatically recognizes changes in the resource record sets that the alias resource record set refers to for e.g. for a site pointing to an load balancer, if the ip of the load balancer changes, Route 53 will reflect those changes automatically in the DNS answers without any changes to the hosted zone that contains resource record sets
  • If an alias resource record set points to a CloudFront distribution, a load balancer, or an S3 bucket, the time to live (TTL) can’t be set; Route 53 uses the CloudFront, load balancer, or Amazon S3 TTLs.

AWS Certification Exam Practice Questions

  • Questions are collected from Internet and the answers are marked as per my knowledge and understanding (which might differ with yours).
  • AWS services are updated everyday and both the answers and questions might be outdated soon, so research accordingly.
  • AWS exam questions are not updated to keep up the pace with AWS updates, so even if the underlying feature has changed the question might not be updated
  • Open to further feedback, discussion and correction.
  1. What does Amazon Route53 provide?
    1. A global Content Delivery Network.
    2. None of these.
    3. A scalable Domain Name System
    4. An SSH endpoint for Amazon EC2.
  2. Does Amazon Route 53 support NS Records?
    1. Yes, it supports Name Service records.
    2. No
    3. It supports only MX records.
    4. Yes, it supports Name Server records. 
  3. Does Route 53 support MX Records?
    1. Yes
    2. It supports CNAME records, but not MX records.
    3. No
    4. Only Primary MX records. Secondary MX records are not supported.
  4. Which of the following statements are true about Amazon Route 53 resource records? Choose 2 answers
    1. An Alias record can map one DNS name to another Amazon Route 53 DNS name.
    2. A CNAME record can be created for your zone apex.
    3. An Amazon Route 53 CNAME record can point to any DNS record hosted anywhere.
    4. TTL can be set for an Alias record in Amazon Route 53.
    5. An Amazon Route 53 Alias record can point to any DNS record hosted anywhere.
  5. Which statements are true about Amazon Route 53? (Choose 2 answers)
    1. Amazon Route 53 is a region-level service
    2. You can register your domain name
    3. Amazon Route 53 can perform health checks and failovers to a backup site in the even of the primary site failure
    4. Amazon Route 53 only supports Latency-based routing
  6. A customer is hosting their company website on a cluster of web servers that are behind a public-facing load balancer. The customer also uses Amazon Route 53 to manage their public DNS. How should the customer configure the DNS zone apex record to point to the load balancer?
    1. Create an A record pointing to the IP address of the load balancer
    2. Create a CNAME record pointing to the load balancer DNS name.
    3. Create a CNAME record aliased to the load balancer DNS name.
    4. Create an A record aliased to the load balancer DNS name
  7. A user has configured ELB with three instances. The user wants to achieve High Availability as well as redundancy with ELB. Which of the below mentioned AWS services helps the user achieve this for ELB?
    1. Route 53
    2. AWS Mechanical Turk
    3. Auto Scaling
    4. AWS EMR
  8. How can the domain’s zone apex for example “myzoneapexdomain com” be pointed towards an Elastic Load Balancer?
    1. By using an AAAA record
    2. By using an A record
    3. By using an Amazon Route 53 CNAME record
    4. By using an Amazon Route 53 Alias record
  9. You need to create a simple, holistic check for your system’s general availability and uptime. Your system presents itself as an HTTP-speaking API. What is the simplest tool on AWS to achieve this with?
    1. Route53 Health Checks (Refer link)
    2. CloudWatch Health Checks
    3. AWS ELB Health Checks
    4. EC2 Health Checks

Further Reading

19 thoughts on “AWS Certification – Route 53 Overview

  1. Hi Jayendra,

    For 6. the answer should be :
    Create a CNAME record aliased to the load balancer DNS name.

    How can a A record point to ELB ?

    1. As it is a zone apex record you cannot use a CNAME.
      You need to create a Address record, and enable Alias to point to the ELB

        1. Even with ALB, i think you need something over load balancer to provide load balancer redundancy. Something like Route 53 failover routing policy.

      1. Hi ,

        From the aws support forums (

        “Setting up health checks at the route53 DNS level is very different. These checks are used to check if the ELB is working at all, and if not, re-direct ALL traffic to somewhere else. I understand that you have an Alias record pointing to your ELB setup in route53, and have turned on “Evaluate Target Health”. What this will do is evaluate if the ELB has at least 1 healthy backend instance. When there are 0 healthy backends, the check will now fail, and route53 will then take the next action (e.g send traffic to failover records)”

        Is this suggestion basically states that both route53 and ELB health checks are actually the same?.

        Thank you

        1. I think it’s saying that the health checks are different. The ELB level health checks are checking individual hosts in a configured target group. The Route53 level health checks are checking the health of the different ELBs in multiple regions or AZs. This would allow several hosts in a target group to be down but the ELB is still functional report a healthy status at the Route53 level.

  2. Hi Jayendra, Could u please help to understand when an A record, CNAME and Alias record will be used. I am confused by seeing lot of questions which are mixing up things. My high level understanding is if Zone Apex needs to send traffic to service like ELB or Cloud front we use Arecord and Alias record. If needs to send traffic to ELB or Cloud front we use CNAME and Alias. Is http://www.example wants to send traffic directly to a public IP of EC2 instance we use A record with IP address. Could you please correct my understanding here? Also is there any other scenario or combination avaialble? ( not referring to MX records) Thanks in advance.

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