Getting Started with Amazon S3

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After I signed up for Amazon S3 and CloudFront last week, I started to use it right away. Before that, I tried to get as many information as possible. It seemed easy. I had to deal with some new words like “bucket“, “Access Key ID“, and also “Secret Access Key“.
Amazon S3 — just like its name — is a storage service. What makes it different from “storage” in webhosting is that there is no FTP access. But, the mechanism of “moving your data to a storage server” is similar to FTP. In FTP, we will connect to your server using some basic information like hostname, username and password. In some cases, we will need an FTP port. And we can do it easily using FTP clients like Filezilla, CrossFTP,  WinSCP, etc.
Amazon S3 uses a little bit different process. Just imagine “Access Key ID” as “username”, and “Server Access Key” as the FTP password. Both information are generated by the system and they’re not easy to remember.

Amazon S3 Bucket

To keep our files and folders organized, we can separate your files into different folders. The word “bucket” is like the same with “folder”. The folders in root directory of your Amazon S3 are the buckets. But, those folders have some different behavior. Here are some details before we create our buckets:

  • Bucket names can only contain lowercase letters, numbers, periods and dashes. And, they should be started with a letter or number.
  • Bucket names must be at least 3 characters long.
  • Bucket names can not be in an IP address style. For example, you can’t have as your bucket name.
  • Bucket names can’t be renamed.
  • You can only create 100 buckets in your Amazon S3 account.

If we put your “picture.jpg” in “bucketname“, we can access your file using or More details about Amazon S3 bucket can be found at the documentation page.

Upload files to Amazon S3 account

We have an Amazon S3 account, an access key, and secret access key. The first thing we need to do is to find tools to upload/transfer our files. There are many applications we can use, here are some:

Those are two tools I have right now, you can find your favorite tools. So far, they just work great. Useful! The first thing we need to do is creating a new bucket. After that, check its permission. To have your buckets accessible for everyone you need to modify its ACL (Access Control List).
I only use a basic setting. I everyone can open all files under a certain bucket. So, I give everyone a “read” permission. We can modify the access list at any time, not only for the bucket but also for other folders and files under it.

3 replies on “Getting Started with Amazon S3”

S3 Browser is another Amazon S3 Client. Enables you to manage your Amazon S3 Buckets and files effortlessly. Multithreaded uploads can save a lot of time when you need to upload large amount of files!