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Amazon S3 for Hosting Web Pages and Media Files

Amazon's Simple Storage Service provides a simple web server to access any file that is stored in their storage cloud. This means, you can access media files which do not need scripting on the web server and require a lot of bandwidth to serve. E.g. images, flash movies, audio files, etc.

You can also use Amazon CloudFront services to improve hosting media files with faster speed. (optional)

Step by Step instructions to host media files on Amazon S3:

  1. Create and activate your Amazon S3 Account.
  2. Start Bucket Explorer.
  3. Enter your Access key [1] and Secret key [1] and click on " Go " button.
  4. After successfully logging in, Bucket Explorer will prompt you with " Do you want to save credentials at local machine for future use? [2] "
    Click on:
    • Save with password.
    • Save without password.
  5. Create a Bucket [3] where you want to store images or other media files. E.g. images.bucketexplorer.com
  1. [optional]  Create a  CNAME   [4] entry into your domain's DNS Manager interface and point it towards s3.amazonaws.com
  2. Select the bucket and  upload  images in it.
  3. Give   READ  permission to  ALL USERS . To do this, right click on images and choose " Update Object's Access Control List   " option.
  4. Check the  READ  permission for  ALL USERS  and click on "Save" permission button.
  5. Right click on images and choose "  Generate Web URL  " option.
  6. [optional]  Click on " Use Bucket Name as Virtual Host [5] button to modify all URLs according to your CNAME entry.
    It would look like http://images.bucketexplorer.com/buynowheaderbtn.png
  7. Click on " Copy all " button. This will copy all the URLs on the clip board.
  8. The images now are ready for public sharing or you can use the URLs in your website.
  9. You’re done. Enjoy!

  1. ˆ Access key & Secret key Access key and Secret key  are just like user ID and password which authenticate the user to access the  Amazon s3 account .
  2. ˆ Credentials : Bucket Explorer saves the Access key and Secret key in encrypted form at local machine.   The next time the user connects to his/her Amazon S3 account, he/she can easily connect without inserting those keys.
  3. ˆ Bucket : Each of the files and folders stored in Amazon S3 is contained in a Bucket. It’s like a “top level folder” or “top level drive”. Bucket names are globally unique, i.e. Since we have created a Bucket named “images.bucketexplorer.com”, you cannot create the same Bucket in your account. If you want to use these Buckets for web hosting, try to choose a Bucket name that is a valid host name and everything should be  in lower case.

    Valid Name : bucket2008, 1bucket, 01.bucket,  www.example.com  
    Invalid Name : _bucket, .bucket, -bucket, 01-.bucket,01.-bucket, 127.0.0.1

  4. ˆ CNAME : This is optional. If you like to generate public URL using your own domain name, you should use CNAME entry. Otherwise, user will see s3.amazonaws.com in the URL.

    Example : For a Bucket named images.bucketexplorer.com, the CNAME entry would point to images.bucketexplorer.com.s3.amazonaws.com. Once this is done, a file “buynowheaderbtn.png” hosted in this Bucket can be accessed via two URLs:
    http://images.bucketexplorer.com.s3.amazonaws.com/buynowheaderbtn.png
    OR
    http://images.bucketexplorer.com/buynowheaderbtn.png .

  5. ˆ Use Bucket Name as Virtual Host : This is optional. Bucket Explorer replaces s3.amazonaws.com with Bucket name and constructs the URL using the Bucket name. Make sure the Bucket name is a fully qualified host name and a CNAME entry exists for it in your DNS server before choosing this option to create the URL.

    Example of a Virtual Host URL http://images.bucketexplorer.com/buynowheaderbtn.png

  6. Amazon CloudFront : Amazon CloudFront is a web service for content delivery. It integrates with other Amazon Web Services to give developers and businesses an easy way to distribute content to end users with low latency, high data transfer speeds, and no commitments. Amazon CloudFront service is faster because when you upload files to Amazon S3 and configure them with CloudFront, a copy of S3 files will be cached in various Amazon servers that are spread across important cities in US, Europe, and Asia.

    Let’s take an example of high data transfer speeds : Suppose a website is hosted on a web server that’s located in some parts of America. If we have a visitor from India, the page loading time for him/her will be relatively high because of geographical distance between India and America. The content delivery network has servers across the world and they automatically determine the fastest (or the shortest) route between the server hosting the site and the end-user. So a visitor from India will be served content by the server located in Asia with improved speed.

    Click to know more about:
    Amazon CloudFront Services
    What is the difference between Amazon S3 and CloudFront?