DNS common record types and AWS Route 53 service

Route 53 is a DNS (Domain Name System) service of AWS. It allows you to manage your hosted zones.

In this short text, I’m going to briefly describe the most common DNS records types.


DNS protocol is an important part of the infrastructure of the web. It is a naming system that works basically works like a phone book for the Internet.

You’re probably using it on a daily basis to resolve human-readable host domain names (like www.bbc.com) to IP addresses like

Hosted zone in Route 53

A hosted zone in Route 53 is basically a container of DNS records.

Please note that you’ll be charged every month for every hosted zone (for example for a domain you bought via AWS). Before you create one, please check the Route 53 pricing.

Common DNS records types and their uses


Start of Authority

    • appears at the beginning of a DNS zone file.
    • indicates the Authoritative Name Server for the current DNS zone
    • contains contact details for the domain administrator
    • contains domain serial number
    • contains information on how frequently DNS information for this zone should be refreshed


Name Server

    • specifies that a DNS zone (for example bbc.com) is delegated to a specific Authoritative Name Server
    • provides the address of the name server


A Record (DNS host record)

    • stores a hostname and its corresponding IP address


Mail Exchanger

    • specifies an SMTP e-mail server for the domain
    • used to route outgoing emails to an email server


Reverse-lookup Pointer

    • allows performing reverse DNS lookup – which means that it allows a DNS resolver to provide an IP address and receive a hostname


Canonical Name

    • can be used to route traffic from one hostname to another hostname

Alias record (Route 53-specific)

    • it’s a Route 53-specific record
    • allows to route traffic to selected AWS resources (for example load balancers,  AWS API Gateway, CloudFront or S3 buckets)


I think that Route 53 is a good choice if you’re looking for a DNS management solution and you’re going to place other pieces of your infrastructure in the AWS ecosystem.

In that way, you’re going to have all of your stuff in one place which is not only important from the management perspective but also when it comes to billing.

Good luck!


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