AWS (Amazon Web Services) has too many wonderful services and almost all of them are very useful and advanced. As a beginner, I have experienced just few of them; EC2, EBS, Elastic IP, RDS, AIM, Budgets, S3, ACM, ELB, and Route 53. Most of these services are well-known core services of AWS. I’ve got really impressed when I used them, except one; Route 53.
I used Route 53 to buy a domain and created a hosted zone (DNS Management). I should say that it is very easy to configure DNS settings with Route 53. In addition, Route 53 is able to update DNS records automatically for other AWS services like Elastic Load Balancer and Certificate Manager validation. On the other hand, there is a disappointing point about Route 53; mail forwarding.
I was really surprised when I saw that there is no option for email forwarding in AWS Route 53. It is very weird because this is a very basic function for domain management. Almost all domain registration services provide an email forwarding service and some of them provide simple mailbox option which you can use email service without any hosting setup.
Is it impossible?
There is no simple way to use/create an email address with your domain name which is registered on Route 53. But of course, it is not impossible. There are 3 options for email forwarding that I discovered;
1. The first option is the classic way; an email server (Mail Transfer Agent, MTA). You can follow this instructions to install a mail server on Ubuntu.
2. The second option is Amazon WorkMail. Amazon WorkMail is a secure, managed business email and calendar service with support for existing desktop and mobile email client applications. But, it is not free. You should pay 4 USD (exc. tax) per email account.
3. The last option is a bit more complex than others; you can use AWS Simple Email Service (SES) and a Lambda function to forward your emails to a verified email address. There are some limitations in this option and you should be careful about free tier limits if you get emails frequently. For more detail, you can check out this github page.
What about others?
For comparison; if you register your domain with Google Domains, you just need to go to email settings and write 2 email address; alias (email address which you want to use with your domain) and target (your current email address which you use actively).
Yes, it is not impossible to forward your emails via AWS. There are some options that I mentioned above and you can still forward your emails with AWS even it is a bit complex. But as you see in Google Domains example, it is very simple to add email forwarding with other domain providers. For this reason, I hope AWS will add a simple mail forwarding option to Route 53 soon as well.