Using external DNS providers with Route53 & AWS

Mart Noten


Amazon Route 53 is AWS’s highly available and scalable cloud Domain Name System (DNS) web service. The design gives developers and businesses an extremely reliable and cost-effective way to route end users to Internet applications. However, many companies will already have hosted their DNS with another party before starting AWS. In this post, we are walking through what you need to do to use Route53 while keeping your current DNS provider.

This post is a part of the which contains tutorials and blog posts on all cloud providers’ services. The blog contains more in-depth examples and offers different types of posts, like our popular University Series.

The Domain Name System is a hierarchical and decentralised naming system for computers, services, or other resources connected to the Internet or a private network.

What can you expect?

At the end of this blog post, you will have your DNS with a separate provider while managing subdomains in Route53. You will be able to use those subdomains for services like AWS Amplify or CloudFront to use as a custom domain in your AWS account.

How to use Route53 with a different DNS provider

I’m assuming you have set up a domain with a provider of your choosing. In my case, I am using ‘Antagonist’, and all I need from them is full access to the DNS settings. First, I will create a hosted zone in Route53 in AWS with a subdomain of my choosing. Then, in my domain’s DNS settings at my provider, I will add a new NS record for that subdomain. That NS record will forward any traffic for that subdomain towards the hosted zone in Route53. To test the end to end solution, we could add a custom domain to something like CloudFront to see the whole solution in action.

Creating the hosted zone in Route53

We will be creating a Hosted Zone in AWS, to which our DNS request will get forwarded. To do so, open up the Hosted Zones in Route53 in the AWS console by clicking here. Once you are in the console, click on ‘Create new Hosted Zone’ to create a new hosted zone.

Upon asked, enter the subdomain for the hosted zone you wish to create.

Once you have created the hosted zone, you need to note your NS records for this HZ. These NS records we will add to our external DNS provider.

Adding the NS records to your current DNS provider

At last, you want to add those NS records to the DNS records of your current domain.

adding the NS records

Once that is done you should be able to create new records in your Hosted Zone in Route53.


With everything set up, you can start using the Hosted Zone in Route53 to connect to the existing domain. For example, you can add a Custom Domain to your AWS Amplify project. You can learn how to set that up in under 5 minutes with our other post: 🌎 Build a Hello World web application under 5 minutes with AWS Amplify.

If this has sparked your interest in more, we’ve got many more tutorials and blog posts written on our NBTL blog. For example:



Mart Noten
Editor for

AWS Architect from the writing technical articles focussing on cloud technologies.