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Route 53 Bootstrapping

April 9, 2020 | 2 min read

Your Kubernetes cluster requires that there be a "hosted zone" in Amazon Route 53 which is an Amazon service that acts as a domain registrar and DNS management system. When a Kubernetes cluster is provisioned a number of DNS records are created such as "api.$CLUSTER_NAME.$DOMAIN" (e.g.
). Unfortunately configuring DNS is a bit of a pain. This guide exists to walk you through the process which is as follows:

  1. Get a domain (either buy one or reuse an existing domain (We strongly recommend buying a new one or reusing an unused one that already belongs to your Route 53 account.
  2. Ensure DNS is setup properly.
  3. Update
    with the appropriate information.

Getting a Domain

There are a number of ways to get a domain on Route53 and it's outside of the scope of this document to show you the precise steps but in general there are three options:

  1. Purchase an unowned domain
  2. Transfer an existing domain you own from a different registrar to Route53
  3. Use a domain already in Route53

Configuring the Domain

If you have the domain under Route53 control either because it already existed or because it was purchased or transferred then all you need to do is modify

and modify
"domain_name": "${YOUR_DOMAIN_NAME}"
to to point to the proper name, for example:

{ "domain_name": "", "another_key_0": null, "another_key_1": null }


Q: Can I use a subdomain of an existing domain as the base domain (e.g.
would yield

A: Yes, but it's beyond the scope of this guide. An outline of the process is:

  1. Create another hosted zone in Route53 for the subdomain (e.g.
  2. Create a new NS record on the "parent" zone
    and add the name servers for
    into this record.


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