I am building a site that I anticipate will have high usage. Currently, my registrar (GoDaddy) is handling DNS. However, Amazon's Route 53 looks interesting. They promise high speed and offer globally distributed DNS servers and a programmable interface. While GoDaddy doesn't offer a programmable interface, I assume their servers are geographically distributed as well.

What are the main reasons I should opt to use Amazon Route 53 over free registrar-based DNS?

11 Answers 11


GoDaddy [...] I assume their servers are geographically distributed

Don't assume, verify with GoDaddy or verify it yourself. A quick traceroute to nsX.secureserver.com (a common DNS server name for GoDaddy) gives me a response from a datacenter here in Scandinavia where I live. So yes, it seems that GoDaddy has its nameservers spread out over at least the US and Europe. But check the nameservers assigned to your domain.

main reasons I should opt to use Amazon Route 53

  • Amazon has clearly documented how their server setup is. They use Anycast, and have DNS servers in 15+ locations worldwide. Their service seems well engineered for high uptime.

  • Having your DNS resolve from 15+ locations worldwide makes your website a little bit faster for your end users. It also allows you to use a lower TTL, which means in case of a website failure, you can move your service over to a new IP faster.

  • In the future, Amazon plans to integrate Route53 with their other cloud offerings. If you uses some of these, such as EC2 and Elastic Load Balancer, then you will benefit from this integration. What they'll build isn't known yet, but one-step setup of Elastic Load Balancing and health check integration with CloudWatch seem like reasonable guesses.

  • 12
    Route 53 has an official web-based UI now, available in the AWS Management Console.
    – cgbystrom
    Jan 20, 2012 at 9:53
  • 1
    Rackspace has a product called Cloud DNS which is pretty similar to Route 53. rackspace.com/cloud/public/dns Oct 5, 2012 at 8:33
  • Note that a separate web interface (but same basic service) is a part of Amazon Lightsail, with three zones included with each Lightsail instance. Jul 6, 2017 at 13:16

Don't assume anything about GoDaddy. I've found them to be awful on many occasions.

I personally have a separate DNS host to my domain registrar, because the DNS host provides a better service (more adjustable records, rather than just A and CNAME).

From what I've seen, Route53 is supposed to be quite inexpensive, at least in line with Dynect's offering for globally available DNS.

If I was in your position, I sure as hell wouldn't be using any of GoDaddy's services. They've proved to me on a number of occasions that they can't be trusted. There's plenty of questions on here where the root of the problem was GoDaddy's incompetance.

  • 5
    Here's a +1 in light of yesterdays... trouble Sep 11, 2012 at 23:03
  • What happened yesterday? :o Sep 14, 2012 at 13:14
  • 2
    godaddy screwed some internal config and took their entire service offline for many hours. Sep 15, 2012 at 1:24

As of May 2011 there is now an SLA for Route53, 100% availability backed by service credits if they fail:

AWS will use commercially reasonable efforts to make Amazon Route 53 100% Available (defined below). In the event Amazon Route 53 does not meet the foregoing commitment, you will be eligible to receive a Service Credit as described below.

Definitions “100% Available” means that Amazon Route 53 did not fail to respond to your DNS queries during a monthly billing cycle.

A “Service Credit” is a dollar credit, calculated as set forth below, that we may credit back to an eligible Amazon Route 53 account.
Service Credits are calculated based on 1 day of Service Credit, which is equal to your average daily Route 53 query charges for the monthly billing cycle preceding the monthly billing cycle in which the period that Amazon Route 53 was not 100% Available occurred, and are available as follows:

Duration Amazon Route 53 was not 100% Available

5 - 30 minutes - 1 day Service Credit, 31 minutes - 4 hours - 7 days Service Credit, More than 4 hours - 30 days Credit

  • 3
    An SLA is nice, but service credits for Route53 amount to a couple cents a day.
    – ceejayoz
    Mar 9, 2012 at 22:57

Now Amazon introduces an Amazon Route 53 console in the AWS Management Console. So now you get AWS console benefits while working with Route 53.

More details


Recently switched from GoDaddy (was a client for almost 5 years of their DNS and domain registration services) to Route 53.

Why GoDaddy was better for me than Route53:

  • they do not charge you for DNS queries;
  • they provide a free mail forwarding service.

That's it.

Now why Route53 is better than GoDaddy:

  • a better UI (GoDaddy's UI is really confusing);
  • API;
  • some domain zones are cheaper (e.g. "io" domain will cost you twice less per year);
  • provides a whois domain privacy for free (GoDaddy charges for that additionally).

Other stuff was mentioned above.


Something additional to think about. As far as I understand, GoDaddy has a cap on the number of queries. With Route53 you just pay more, but the service is not dropped. As of today:

$0.500 per million queries – first 1 Billion queries / month $0.250 per million queries – over 1 Billion queries / month



Besides what's already been said about the quality of Amazon's infrastructure, the API is the killer feature of Route 53 or competitors like Dynect. If your site does get large enough that you have a number of servers, you'll want to get into systems automation, and being able to automate your DNS changes can be quite nice.


There are enough reasons to go for Amazon route 53 as those have already been explained. For more detail, see the AWS FAQ: Route 53 queries

Now amazon has introduced new edge location for South east America, so now they have increased the number of locations to world wide to 17. The 11 of them are in America.


You could always use both, provided your Registrar is easyDNS: http://www.easyRoute53.com

Either have Route53 mirror DNS from the Registrar DNS side or go the other way around, have easyDNS (which is also anycast) auto-import your Route53 data.

With multiple DNS platforms, you eliminate your DNS provider-as-possible-SPOF, so having two redundant, separately deployed anycast systems would be pretty bulletproof.

(If you wanted to just use Route53, you can still use our GUI to control your DNS on the AWS side)


Yesterday, September 10, 2012, GoDaddy DNS went down for 4 hours. While they have not yet released a verifiable root cause analysis, they claim the failure was self-inflicted.

I can't tell you specifically why route 53 might be better. But you might consider GoDaddy's weaknesses when you decide.


Most registrar DNS services are provided for free for a domain you purchased and do not usually come with an SLA. The problem in this case is that Route 53 does not come with an SLA either (as far as I am aware), which means they're not willing to put any guarantees on their service.

If you absolutely need 100% DNS availability, you will look for a DNS provider that can offer a 100% uptime SLA. This doesn't mean that they might be better than Route 53 or Godaddy, but it means they're willing to stand behind their product and offer some monetary compensation in case their service fails to provide 100% availability.

  • An SLA on DNS is likely to be "we'll give you a couple bucks back". It's extremely unlikely to be anything significant, especially compared to the amount of damage broken DNS for a day can be.
    – ceejayoz
    Mar 9, 2012 at 22:59
  • This is how SLAs often work.
    – gekkz
    Mar 10, 2012 at 10:03
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    Sure, but you don't usually have an SLA on something that costs $0.50/month. Knowing I'll get $0.03 back if my DNS goes down doesn't really change my decision at all.
    – ceejayoz
    Mar 11, 2012 at 2:57

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