Route 53 – Transfer Your Domain to Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Domains are waypoints across the internet, the journey from browser navigation to developed content, only a click away. Each stage of domain name resolution is complexly hidden in layers, Top-Level Domains (TLD), behind Doman Name Systems (DNS), Name Servers (NS), Transport Layer Security & Secure Sockets Layer (TLS/SSL) certificates, and Internet Protocol/s (IP).

You can choose to have these services managed by domain registrars or elect to take control of the space between users and your content.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a guide for this process, which I will illuminate to provide further explanation of downstream choices.

Check your domain for availability

Top level domains are domain endings reserved with ICANN, which is a global domain name registrar for everything from commercial, organization, government, military, affinity, and country code based domains.

Some domains are only available through certain registrars due to licensing, location, and reservations. You may see instances where a country requires address verification for that domain, a registrar may not have licensing for that ending, or that domain is already registered.

Check out the listing of supported top-level domains for AWS Route 53 and make sure that your domain is available within the service before following these steps to switch.

Unlock your domain and retrieve the authorization code

Your domain should be locked by default, this security policy tethers your domain to the registrar to keep your domain secure and authentic.

Depending on your recent transfers, registrar, and TLD ending there may be certain restrictions on how often, since you’ve purchased or how frequently you can transfer the domain.

Find the setting to unlock your domain, often located near the registration or DNS settings. Generate and copy the authorization code, save this and have that ready for the AWS transfer process.

Create a hosted zone for your domain DNS

Domain Name System’s (DNS) provide the servers to route Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connections from the browser to the hosting server which will be accessed via Internet Protocol Version Four (IPV4) and if you choose Internet Protocol Version Six (IPV6).

In AWS console, navigate to Route 53, then in the sidebar, Hosted Zones this will allow you to create a DNS service for your domain, providing new name servers.

Enter the domain name you are transferring in the domain name field, add a description if you wish, and choose the type based on your current hosting resources. If you are directing your domain to a hosting platform, choose “Public hosted zone”, otherwise, if your cloud services are already within AWS, choose “Private hosted zone”.

Begin the domain transfer process

Now that you have your domain unlocked, an authorization code, and hosted zone; the various requirements for processing the transfer have been prepared. You can now go to the transfer domain section of Route 53 from the dashboard by clicking “transfer your existing domains”, then enter your domain and click “check”.

Your domain transfer should now be permitted, based on the previous steps to begin this process, click “continue”.

Domain Options

In step two, “Domain Options”, type or paste your authorization code in the authorization code field. This will permit AWS to intake the transferred domain from your existing registrar.

For the name server options, check “Import name servers form a Route 53 hosted zone that has the same name as the domain”, then select your recently created Hosted Zone.

If there are any issues attaching your new hosted zone, select “continue to use the name servers provided by the current registrar or DNS service”, this can be updated later and should be, to reflect the recently created Hosted Zone Name Servers.

Contact Details

In step three, “Contact Details” choose the entity that this domain is representative of for “Contact Type”, often this type is “Person” or “Company”.

You have the ability to privatize your contact details to not share your personally identifiable contact information; this should be considered depending on the type, but is important for outlining who the domain holder is. This data is known as “WHOIS” data as in who owns this domain, who is hosting it, and who manages the DNS.

If you use chose to use innately personal contact information for the ICANN contact information in this step, it is advisable to check “Enable” for the “Privacy Protection” section to hide these private details.

Review & Purchase

This step is a review page, though it is important to mention you should choose “Enable” for “Do you want to automatically renew your domain” so that your domain will automatically renew.

Once you have chosen, read the “AWS Domain Name Registration Agreement”, check the box to show you have, and click “Complete Order”.

Field any required security requests

Your domain registrar may have additional steps for providing authorization and authentication for this request, in which you must respond to in a timely manner to assure it’s processing.

Finalize the transfer by updating your domain name servers

Once the transfer process is completed, return to the Route 53 dashboard, on the left side menu, click “Registered Domains” under “Domains”, which should allow you to view your Route 53 domains.

When the domain listing page loads, select the recently migrated domain to open the settings that are particular to that domain.

On the domain page, select “Add or edit name servers”, this should open a dialogue where you can added or remove Name Servers applied to the specific domain.

You should remove the fields that pertain to your previous domain registrar to eliminate any abstractions when setting new DNS properties. In the empty fields, add the Name Servers from your Route 53 – Hosted Zone, which you can find within the Hosted Zone page specific to the domain.

Clicking the dropdown next to “Hosted zone details” will review a panel with the Name Servers information. Additionally, the type of DNS record associated with your AWS Name Servers, should be indicated by the NS type, which is accompanied, in the next column by the new Name Servers.

Type or paste your Hosted Zone – Name Servers into the name servers dialogue for your domain and click “update”. Your domain should now be transferred, updated, and propagating global DNS records.