How to Set Up a CloudFront CNAME

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CloudFront is a content delivery network service used to provide quicker access to your website. The network allows content on your website to be mirrored on multiple servers worldwide. This tactic allows someone in Japan to access content on a server in the United States as quickly as someone in Idaho. The network automatically chooses a server that is closer to Japan allowing the information to reach that location faster. To use CloudFront with your website, you are required to setup an alias, or CNAME, that points web browsers to your CloudFront network when your URL is requested.

  • Login to your Amazon Web Services account using your username and password, then click the "CloudFront" tab.

  • Click "Create Distribution" and a wizard opens. Next to "Delivery Method," click "Download," then click the "Custom Origin" button.

  • Fill in the "Origin DNS Name" field with your website's URL, then click the appropriate choice next to "Protocol Policy." Next, click "Continue" and another page loads asking for distribution details. For this task, you only need to worry about the "CNAMEs" field and the "Distrubution Status" radio button.

  • Enter the name of your CNAME alias in the "CNAMEs" field. Up to 10 are allowed. The CNAME must have the form, "alias.yourdomain.com," where alias is any name you prefer and yourdomain.com is the URL of your website.

  • Click "Enabled" next to "Distribution Status" and then click "Continue." A page loads allowing you to review the details of your CloudFront distribution. Click "Create Distribution" to confirm and the system will display your distribution URL. The CloudFront system may take several moments to deploy your distribution. A progress of deployment is listed in the "Status" tab of your Amazon Web Services console.

  • Login to your website host server and navigate to the DNS management page. Here, you must add a record for the CNAME's you created earlier so the DNS knows how to reach your CloudFront network.

  • Create a new CNAME record using the alias you added to your CloudFront distribution. Put the alias in the "Name" field and the CloudFront distribution URL in the "Value" field. Click the appropriate button to save your CNAME record, such as "Create Record" or "Save," depending on your host.

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