Configuring White Label Name Servers with Route 53

6 simple steps for custom name servers

Let's Begin

Why White Label your Name Servers?

White-labeling your DNS is beneficial if you want to hide your name servers in WHOIS search results. It's also useful if you'd just like to appear more professional on the internet; plus, let's face it - it's just awesome :)

I'd like to point out, this article doesn't explain creating reusable name servers which can be reused on multiple domains. This would involve the AWS CLI or API and creating delegation sets - I plan to write an article on this in the future, so stay tuned.

This article also assumes you have a business AWS account, and are familiar with DNS, both in general and Amazon's Route 53 DNS service. If not, I'll try and make it as simple as possible ...

Step 1:

Login to AWS

To get started with configuration, go to your Amazon Web Services login page and ‘Sign In to the Console’.

Step 2:

Create your Hosted Zone(s)

First, we need to setup a new hosted domain. To get there, login to your AWS account and type 'route 53' into the search bar. Choose Route 53 to get started.

After this, you'll need to click on 'Hosted zones' on the left side, and then 'Create Hosted Zone' by clicking the big blue button. This will bring up a slide-in right panel, where you'll put the configuration for your particular domain. Leave it at public and then click on 'Create'.

Step 3:

Creating your Name Servers

Once you click the create button, AWS will bring you inside your hosted zone file, where a few DNS records will have been created for you. Select the top section radio button under the label 'Type' - 'NS', NS meaning Name Server Records.

This will again pop out a menu to the right side. Go ahead and highlight the 4 values (there is a hidden one, due to the small box) in the field labeled 'Value', and copy/paste to a text editor, like my favorite - Sublime Text.

Step 4:

Name Server Lookup

It's time to lookup the IP addresses associated to those 4 name servers. If you are familiar with dig (Mac and Linux) or nslookup (Windows), you can use those command line tools. If you want a simpler way to do it, head over to MX Toolbox and paste in the names, one-by-one. Keep track of which IP belongs to which DNS name.

Step 5:

Name Server Customization

Folks normally choose ns1.myfancydomainname.com, ns2.myfancydomainname.com etc... but that is totally at your discretion.

With your IP address list, head back into your hosted zone and click on 'Create Record Set'. For the name, just type in 'ns1' or whatever you've chosen and add the IP address into the Value field, as shown. Repeat this step for the 3 remaining IP addresses and you can wipe your hands off - you're done!

Closing Thoughts

A few things to note

If your domain name is registered someplace other than AWS, you'll have to update the name servers to the custom ones you just created. This will take roughly 24 hours to take affect. You can check in a day or so, using the same MX Toolbox link or run dig or nslookup on your white label server names.

The only other thing to take into consideration is the TTL; this is the time it would take if there were a change to one of these records to propagate around the world. These won't (hopefully) be changing so it's safe to set to either 1 hour or 1 day... if you choose less than this, it'll increase your AWS bill unnecessarily.