I have three identical servers and I want to provide failover between them such that;

  • If server1 is available, all traffic routes to server1.
  • If server1 is unavailable and server2 is available, all traffic routes to server2.
  • If server1 and server2 are both unavailable, all traffic routes to server3.

Is the above possible using Amazon Route 53 DNS service? If so, how?

I can only see "Primary" and "Secondary" options in the config. There is no "Ternary" option.


2 Answers 2


You can create a daisy-chain of rules with (potentially) limitless length.

Here's a 3 server layout:

FQDN is mapped to a failover policy with Primary and Secondary where Primary is Server1 and secondary is another FQDN (FQDN2) this FQDN2 has a failover policy of its own with Primary pointing to Server2 and Secondary pointing to Server3.

In total you'll need 4 entries in Route53:
1. FQDN to SERVER1 with failover (Primary) with health check for SERVER1
2. FQDN to FQDN2 with failover (Secondary)
3. FQDN2 to SERVER2 with failover (Primary) with health check for SERVER2
4. FQDN2 to SERVER3 with failover (Secondary) with health check for SERVER3

I don't believe that the above scenario is possible within route53. This page lists several complex usage patterns but your scenario doesn't fit in the functionality: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/Route53/latest/DeveloperGuide/dns-failover-complex-configs.html

The closest I think you could get is to have your primary/secondary setup, with the secondary record having two entries, using weighted round robin, and your tertiary site has a weight of 0 (no traffic) and you change it programmatically via the API if your primary and secondary sites fail.

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