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Amazon S3 - Download S3 Objects in a Single Operation (GET Object – Download)

Download Object using GET Object

You can download or retrieve Amazon S3 Objects (Files)  from Amazon S3 by sending an HTTP GET Request to Amazon S3 Server. To authenticate the request, you must have READ access to the Amazon S3 Bucket where the Object is stored.

You have two options when retrieving objects directly from Amazon S3. You can either retrieve an entire Object or retrieve Objects in parts.

You can download S3 Objects by sending the GET Request either using Amazon S3 API GET Object OR using Bucket Explorer User Interface. To use Amazon S3 API, you will need to write your own software program, however, if you do not want to write your program, you can use Bucket Explorer User Interface to download Objects using mouse clicks.

Download Object using Amazon REST API

To download object from the AWS Account, you can request GET Object. The S3 REST API GET Object allows you to specify string parameters when you want to override certain response header values in your GET request. To do that, when using these parameters, you must sign the request using either an Authorization header or Pre-signed URL.

Unlike any other computer file system, an Amazon S3 Bucket has no directory hierarchy but you can create a logical hierarchy using object key names that imply a folder structure. In the GET operation, you must specify the full key name to get an object. Also, the GET operation by default, returns the latest version of an object.


GET / ObjectName HTTP/1.1
Host: Bucketname
Date: date
Authorization: signatureValue
Range:bytes= byte_range

Download Object using Bucket Explorer

While the “GET Object” API of AWS allows you to download or retrieve objects from Amazon S3 by writing code, Bucket Explorer with REST API lets you to do the same with point and click.

Using this option, a user can download selected file(s) / folder(s) from an Amazon S3 account to a specified location in local file system and the process will be in queue . Bucket Explorer never re-downloads a file which is not changed (contents are the same). Bucket Explorer checks the hash of the local file with Etag value of S3 file and if the value is the same, the file skips from the download process.

In Bucket Explorer, you have more download options:

  1. Right click on selected S3 file(s) in object panel and select Download button (arrow towards left side).
  2. Right click on selected S3 file(s) in object panel and select Upload/Download -> Download files option.
    Note: This process is used to download particular File(s) on S3.
  3. Right click on selected bucket in bucket panel and select Download File(s) option.
    Note: This process is used to download all the Files and Folders in particular Bucket(s) of S3.
  4. Select File -> Download option from the toolbar of object panel.

If you want to download files/folders from S3 Account, you need to follow the steps below:

  1. Start Bucket Explorer and connect with your Amazon S3 account.
  2. Click on the Bucket from where you want to download your files. Select files and folders.
  3. Go to local file explorer and select the location where you want to download files and folders. By default, it downloads at desktop.
  4. Click on Download button (arrow towards left side) to start downloading.
  5. This will ask for queue option. Select desired queue option.
      To know more about queue option, refer to page How to use quick comparer?
      Note: If you download a single file, quick comparer window will not open and the download process will not be running in queue. You can see the progress of the downloading process in the progress bar at the lower left corner of Bucket Explorer window. By default, the selected operation is performed by comparing name and hash of file. After completing the download process, a balloon tool tip with status will be displayed on the progress bar.
  6. Downloading process starts in queue. (Download process may take time depending upon the file size and number of files.)
  7. If file already exists in local file system and you have chosen Ask for action in Queue option, Bucket Explorer will prompt you for overwrite or skip; else it will directly overwrite or skip without any prompt as per chosen in “Action Type” option in queue option panel.
  8. If you choose overwrite, Bucket Explorer overwrites existing file with new file by comparing them either by “name and size” or “name and hash” as per your setting in “Comparison Type” in queue option panel. (Files are overwritten only when contents are mismatched.)
  9. After a successful download, you can see the statistics of the download process. It shows the number of files which have been downloaded (success), failed, skipped, pending, and identical .
Identical : Identical status is displayed when contents of downloaded files are the same with the contents of the existing file in local file system. Bucket Explorer never re-downloads a file if contents are the same.