Route53 healthcheck failover for SSL pages with nginx

UPDATE: AWS recently introduced SSL Health checks. So the method in this post should no longer be necessary.


Amazon Route53 offers a DNS healthcheck that allows you to failover to another host / region if one IP is not responsive. This works great if you want to create a secondary site, or even a simple maintenance page to give your users a little more info than just an empty browser window.

There are some limitations to the healthchecks currently. Route53 allows you to choose between TCP and HTTP. However, there’s no HTTPS / SSL support for URLs.

So what can you do if your site is running only with SSL?
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