Amazon adds DNS failover service to Route 53

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched a failover service that can detect website outages and relocate customers to a working site.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced a failover service to help customers of its Route 53 Domain Name System service to cope better with unanticipated website downtime.

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In the event of a failure, the DNS failover service allows developers to automatically route traffic to a backup website hosted on Amazon's S3 cloud, or to a site hosted in another unaffected AWS region.

"Of course no one wants their site to go down, but things happen, whether due to deploying bad code, network outages, or other issues, and it's helpful to have a backup which gives your customers a good experience in the event that your primary website does go down," said AWS product manager Sean Meckley in a blog post on Monday that illustrates how to use the new feature. 

AWS claims that the feature monitors each location (or 'endpoint') of the website to determine its availability. If an endpoint fails, the service is designed to divert traffic from the failed endpoint towards other healthy endpoints. AWS says this adds redundancy to websites and maintains high availability for end users.

The DNS failover technology checks the health of a site by requesting the homepage every 30 seconds and verifying that it returns a successful response from multiple Route 53 locations around the world. If Route 53 detects a problem, then it will start sending traffic to the backup site within a matter of minutes.

AWS is running free health checks for up to 50 AWS endpoints until July 31. The service will subsequently be priced at $0.50 (£0.32) per health check per month for endpoints within AWS and $0.75 (£0.48) per health check outside of AWS.