Domain forwarding using Amazon S3 and Route 53

Amazon Domain Forwarding

Drawback to domain forwarding provided by some registrars

Many companies offer handy extras such as domain forwarding along with their domain registration services. However, in order to use forwarding you have to use their name servers for your domain’s DNS. Your registrar’s DNS management tool could limit your use of certain record types or subdomains and may have a long TTL (time to live), making your changes take hours to be seen.

If you’re more comfortable with DNS, Amazon Route 53 could be a good alternative. Route 53 supports A, AAAA, CNAME, MX, NS, PTR, SOA, SPF, SRV, and TXT records and allows you to select your own TTL. It can be use with Amazon’s storage service, S3, to handle domain forwarding.

Create S3 Bucket to Forward Domain

From the S3 Management Console, click Create Bucket and give it the name of the domain you’d like to forward.

Create S3 Bucket

Next, configure your new bucket by going into the properties and clicking the Static Website Hosting node. Note the Endpoint provided as you’ll need it for Route 53. Make sure Redirect all requests to another host name is selected, enter the desired host name for the redirect, and save your changes.

S3 Bucket Properties

Add Route 53 Record

Go to your domain’s zone and click Create Record Set. If you’re forwarding your root domain select A for the record type, change Alias to Yes and the Alias Target field will appear. Clicking in the field will cause a dropdown to appear where you should be able to select the bucket you just created under S3 Website Endpoints.

If you’re adding a subdomain, you’ll want to select CNAME for the record type and paste the corresponding endpoint URL in the value field.

Route 53 DNS Record

Save your record set and you’re done. As long as your domain is using the correct name servers, forwarding should begin almost immediately.

james@localhost:~$ curl -i
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
x-amz-id-2: /eLQ1NYa9UmmeCtfwb8F6XfrnYK6iYxSWzQYN54Uh+81hRyf8wZlZ49bvftwGb55
x-amz-request-id: 79B2E9A89607A4EC
Date: Sun, 06 Jul 2014 16:39:12 GMT
Content-Length: 0
Server: AmazonS3

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