Assigning a Custom Domain Name

Give your Architect application a proper domain name

DNS is how you assign a domain name to a deployed app. This guide lists ways to set up custom DNS with several popular DNS providers and we are always happy to accept contributions for steps to use additional providers.

Setting up .arc with a custom domain name

arc has built-in first-class support for setting up DNS and assigning a domain. First add @domain to your .arc file with a value of the domain name you wish to set up.



get /

From here you have two paths to mapping the DNS records:

  1. DNS with a third party provider (often the domain registrar) using npx dns
  2. DNS with Route53 fully automated npx dns route53

0. DNS with third party provider (default, but harder)

When to do this: if you registered the domain with someone other than Amazon and do not want to move the name servers.

Run npx dns and follow the instructions. The process is:

  1. Initial run of npx dns will display (or create) a certificate request CNAME name/value pair
  2. Enter the new CNAME record into your DNS provider and wait for verification
  3. Re-run npx dns to generate CloudFront distributions
  4. Enter the generated CloudFront distribution domains as either A or CNAME records with your DNS provider

The certificate, CloudFront distributions and DNS records in general can take time to propagate. Be Zen! Running and re-running npx dns is safe.

When to do this: if you want to use Route53 to manage your DNS records.

Run npx dns route53 and follow the instructions. The process is:

  1. Read (or create) a Route53 Hosted Zone with the value of @domain from the .arc file and a certificate validation CNAME record a. If you registered the domain with AWS the name servers are mapped automatically b. If you registered the domain elsewhere you need to ensure the name servers are set with your domain registrar
  2. After a few minutes the certificate is automatically verified
  3. Re-run npx dns to generate CloudFront distributions and automatically map them with Alias records

Starting Over

If something goes wrong you can destroy the generated resources and re-create.

  • npx dns nuke destroys the certificate and CloudFront domain distributions
  • ARC_NUKE=route53 npx dns nuke destroys the certificate, CloudFront domain distributions, the Hosted Zone, certificate validation CNAME and Alias records

🤷🏽‍♀️ DNS propagation can take time: have patience!

The Not-Hard-But-Not-Quite-As-Easy Way

If you really want to manually configure DNS you can follow these guides below:

Route 53

Follow these instructions to manually configure Route 53 to serve your application from your domain. As a friendly reminder: the arc happy path for using Route 53 remains the @domain section (per the instructions above).

⛳️ Tip: These instructions will serve your app's production environment; if you'd also like a friendly URL for your staging environment (i.e., follow steps 10-15 below a second time, swapping production values for staging values.

  1. Sign into the AWS Console, head to the Route 53 service, and click on Hosted Zones
  2. Create a Hosted Zone
  3. Copy the designated name server addresses to your domain registrar
    • Note: if you register your domain via Amazon, this happens automatically
  4. Sign into AWS Certificate Manager
  5. Request a certificate
    • Protip: set up both and * for use with subdomains
  6. Follow the instructions to verify the certificate
  7. Sign into AWS API Gateway
  8. Click on Custom Domain Names
  9. Create a Custom Domain Name for production
  10. Fill in the form:
    • Enter the exact FQDN you intend to use (i.e. or in the Domain Name field
    • Select the ACM Certificate you just verified
    • Enter / in the Path field
    • Select your app's production API name in the Destination menu
    • Select the production value in the Stage menu
  11. Copy the value of the generated Distribution Domain Name to your clipboard
  12. Head back to Route 53 and click into the domain in question
  13. Create a Record Set
  14. Fill in the form:
    • If setting a subdomain, enter it in the Name field
    • Set Alias to yes
    • Enter Distribution Domain Name you just copied to your clipboard into the Alias Target field
  15. Create the Record Set
  16. Perhaps grab a cup of coffee or tea ☕️ – it can take a few minutes while AWS wires everything up!


These instructions are adapted from the tutorial at LEANX and updated to our most recent experience deploying this documentation site to AWS, using arc and custom DNS via Cloudflare. Your mileage may vary.

  1. Ensure that your domain is registered and is using the Cloudflare name servers and that your arc-generated application has been deployed to AWS
  2. In your AWS management console, go to the Certificate Management service, and ensure you are in the US East (N. Virginia) aka us-east-1 region
  3. Click on "Import a certificate"
  4. In a different browser tab or window, log into Cloudflare, select your domain and open the Crypto tab. In the SSL section, ensure SSL is set to Full
  5. Scroll down to the Origin Certificates section and click Create Certificate
  6. Let Cloudflare generate a private key and a CSR and choose RSA as the private key type
  7. Make sure that the hostname for your custom API domain is covered (i.e. You can specifically configure this custom domain or use a wildcard such as *, as is configured by default
  8. Pick PEM as the key format which is selected by default
  9. Copy the Certificate body from your Cloudflare certificate to the Certificate body field in the AWS Certificate Manager
  10. Copy the Private key to the Certificate private key field in the AWS Certificate Manager
  11. In the Certificate chain field in the AWS Certificate Manager, copy the Cloudflare Origin CA - RSA Root found here
  12. Click Review and import and then import the certificate. Take note of the first eight characters of the certificate's identifier as you will need that to select the correct certificate in a later step
  13. In the AWS Console, return to the region in which you are deploying your architect-generated application and then go to the API Gateway Service
  14. Click on Custom Domain Names and then Create Custom Domain Name
  15. Enter your custom domain name in the AWS Console and select the certificate which you created earlier and noted the identifier
  16. Add any Base Path Mappings as necessary for your application
  17. Now the custom domain name will be created in AWS CloudFront. It can take up to an hour before the domain becomes active
  18. The final step is to create a new CNAME record in Cloudflare to link your custom domain to the CloudFront URL which you can copy from the Distribution Domain Name in the Custom Domain Names console. Ensure that the option 'DNS and HTTP proxy (CDN)' is selected for this CNAME after creation

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