Routing an AWS Registered Domain to Netlify

Published November 27, 2018
Updated April 27, 2023

I recently tried to use Netlify’s managed DNS with a domain name registered through AWS and struggled. While it turned out that I was being a bit of an idiot, I figured I would share the problem and solution here.

First Attempt

As the instructions state when you attempt to register an externally managed domain with Netlify, you must switch over the nameservers to the ones managed by Netlify. Since I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous, I assumed that creating an NS record in the Route 53 hosted zone I created would be enough, so I went ahead and created the following record:

Domain Verification Errors

Even after waiting the specified 24 hour period, I was still seeing errors with associated my custom domain with the Netlify deployment.

Netlify domain verification error
The error message displayed by Netlify under the site's domain settings.

Additionally, I could not obtain an SSL certificate for my custom domain.

Netlify SSL certificate error due to failed DNS verification
SSL certificate cannot by obtained because DNS verification failed.


The main reason I was confused here was that the results of any dig commands showed the “correct” nameservers.

chathan@chathan-desktop: dig +short NS

Additionally, finding the A record for the domain from the above nameservers correctly showed the IP of one of Netlify’s load balancers.

chathan@chathan-desktop: dig +short A


After opening a support ticket with Netlify, I received a response indicating that my nameservers were in fact incorrectly configured. To prove this, they ran a simply whois query.

whois | grep "Name Server"

This produced the wrong nameservers which gave me a clue as to where to look.

Instead of creating an NS record in the hosted zone Route 53 automatically creates when you register the domain, you have to go into the details of the domain itself and set the list of nameservers there.

Route 53 -> Registered Domains -> <your domain>
Corrected Route 53 nameservers.
Corrected Route 53 nameservers.