AWS – Route 53

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For some time, I have been using Network Solutions, and more recently Bluehost, to provide DNS and registrar services. I have been increasingly irritated with Network Solutions, and with some research found nothing good seems to be said about them, so I decided it was time to move on. On top it all, each time you log in they hit you with offers and requests to upgrade or added additional services. When you renew your services they try to tack on so many worthless things it is crazy. And then there is them wanting to renew your domain name months before it is set to expire. So it is time to move on, and I have decided that AWS Route 53 is where I am going.

Transferring the Domains

I have not had to go through a domain transfer before, so I had to look over things first and determine how to best proceed. Amazon was helpful and provided domain name transfer documentation outlying important steps to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

DNS Zone transfer

Step 2 is the key to ensuring zero downtime during the transfer. I created all the different zones for the domains I planned to transfer within Route 53 and duplicated how they were set up on Network Solutions. For the most part, various A records, MX records, and some cnames and txt records. I then pointed the domains to use Amazon’s Name Servers that were specified for each of my zones. I then just waited for DNS to replicate and verified with whois that each domain was now pointing to the Amazon Name Servers.

Transfer Authorization

Step 5 was easy with Bluehost. I was able to unlock the domain and get the transfer authorization code right away. At that point, I was able to initiate the transfer on Route 53, and a number of confirmation emails started to come in from both Amazon and Bluehost verifying what was going on, and that I indeed wished this to proceed. Within 10 minutes the entire process was completed and my main domain was transferred and in use within Route 53.

I then tried this with Network Solutions and had a much different result. I first unlocked the domain as before, however, the next step you request to get the authorization code. I was asked a number of questions about the domain, why I was doing this, and how many more domain’s I had with them. After I was done, I was informed that I would have to wait for three days, and IF it was approved I would be given the code. I called and asked them about this, and was told this is their policy, and was in case I changed my mind. The customer support contact then informed me it would take another 9 days after that to complete the transfer. Why on earth does this process take so long? I just did it in less than 15 minutes with another company.

Authorization Codes arrive

I requested the transfer authorization codes on Saturday, April 6th. Two of those codes came back on Tuesday the 9th. While waiting for the other two, I began the transfer process for them on Route 53. It shows it can take up to 10 days for this to complete, depending on Network Solutions. So it is back to a waiting game for now. It was a few hours after this before I received emails from Network Solutions saying I would need to wait 5 more days before the transfer would occur. Unlike Bluehost there was no option to go online and indicate I wish to proceed now.

5 Days later…

As there is no way to speed up the process I just had to wait. It was a little frustrating, as I just wanted to finish the process and move on to other things. In the end, however, there was no big rush as none of the domains were set to expire soon, and there was no further action required on my part. I believe the part that irritated me the most out of it was when I called Network Solutions and asked about speeding up the process they said it was policy and not possible. I asked him why, and he just responded, “in case I change my mind”. Well no matter, I’ve made my choice. Network Solutions just started doing too many weird things and were overly pushy. Even when trying to renew, every step of the process was followed by asking if I would like to add some extra feature. I guess I just do not like being badgered. I’ll add things to my service if I want them, you don’t need to push it on me. It would seem that many other feel this way as well, as I never seem to find “good” reviews on the company.

Overall

The entire process to move over to AWS Route 53 went very smoothly. It did take a week to complete the entire process, however that was not the fault of AWS. I like having all my domain information in one area, and I find it very convient as when I make a change to an A record, the changes happen right away. I don’t have to wait 24 to 48 hours like I did with Network Solutions.

What is next?

I have taken two courses from Linux Academy (AWS Concepts, and AWS Essentials), both of which gave me a good understanding of what is offered and how to use AWS. I am currently going through the AWS Solutions Architect – Associates course. Upon completion, I will be taking the exam, which I hope can be sometime in May.

My other plans are to work on a fault tolerant WordPress site on AWS. I host this site on my internal web servers, so I am not sure if I will migrate this site over there, or if I’ll start a separate blog that focuses on AWS alone. As of this moment, I have put up a simple Linux server with Apache on it and put into place a coming soon web site. You can visit it by going to http://aws.therootuser.com. I’ll announce my final decision in the month of May on how I plan on proceeding.

Finally, a few topics of upcoming blogs.

  • Adding multiple static IP addresses to the WAN interface on Ubiquity Security Gateway.
  • Installing Red Hat Satellite.
  • Installing Red Hat Capsule in AWS.
  • Provisioning servers from Satellite into an AWS EC2 instance.
  • The progress of my AWS studies

If you would like to hear about anything, in particular, feel free to contact me and give me your suggestions.

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Ivan Windon

Ivan Windon is a Lead Engineer at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Ivan is actively engaged in Cloud Technologies with AWS, Google, and Azure. Ivan has extensive experience with Linux and Windows administration, DNS, Networking, IDM, and Security. In his free time, he enjoys being with his wife and two children. The family enjoys hiking, and traveling when able. His favorite locations are Yosemite NPS, and San Francisco, California.

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