In this tutorial you will learn about using Amazon S3 Services – an affordable, secure and almost limitless cloud storage solution to store and protect large amounts of images, media files and website backups, distribute and download zip, PDF, audio and video files, etc. and stream videos on your WordPress site without consuming large amounts of bandwidth and your site’s server resources.
How To Set Up An Amazon S3 Account
The Amazon S3 service will not only help you improve your site’s performance and create a better user experience for your visitors, it is also highly affordable (expect to pay only a few dollars per month for a fairly large amount of data usage), extremely secure, very reliable (you’re using Amazon’s own servers) and allows you to store as much information as you want (videos, audio files, images, etc.), making it an ideal solution to use with your WordPress site.
Uploading images and videos to an Amazon S3 account allows a large number of visitors to access your information without slowing down your site, as the videos, images and other large bandwidth consuming items are delivered from Amazon’s servers, not from your server.
About Amazon S3
Amazon S3 is one of several applications or services that Amazon has in its stable of product offerings.
When you host images, videos and other bandwidth-heavy items like large downloadable files on normal hosting services, the more traffic you have visiting your site at the same time, the slower it loads in your visitors’ browser. If you have spikes in traffic, this extra load can even crash your site.
Imagine having a digital product launch and suddenly lots of customers try to download a number of large zip files hosted on your regular server. Your server could crash, support tickets would start piling up and what should be a very happy day would quickly turn into a nightmare. If you host your images, videos and other downloadable files on Amazon S3, your visitors will not experience your site slowing down, buffering or crashing due to excessive bandwidth consumption. You could have 100, 1,000 or 10,000 people downloading your zip files simultaneously without any problems.
Hosting large files is just one benefit of using Amazon S3. Another benefit of using Amazon S3 is how much money you can save. Amazon S3 is an “online scalable (simple) storage service,” which means that it’s essentially a hard drive in cyberspace with unlimited storage – you only pay for what you use.
When Amazon launched S3 back in 2006 (2007 in Europe) they began by charging only 15 cents per gigabyte, and this price has been getting cheaper over time. Currently, it’s in the range of around 3 cents per Gb. This means better service and more savings for you.
Amazon S3 is a powerful tool and offers solutions to many of the biggest challenges we face when managing a digital presence, like site speed, security and bandwidth cost. It’s a tool that every website owner should be able to use, without depending on technical experts.
The over-the-shoulder style video tutorials in this section will help you master using Amazon S3 quickly and easily.
You can sign up for a FREE Amazon S3 account, which allows you to experience the service without having to pay until you exceed the trial quota shown below …
(Sign Up For A Free Amazon S3 Account)
How To Set Up An Amazon S3 Account: Step-By-Step Tutorial
To set up an Amazon S3 account, go here: http://aws.amazon.com/s3
Visit the FAQ, Pricing and Service Agreement sections before choosing to open up an account …
If this is your first time using an Amazon service, create a new account. Otherwise, you can sign in if you already have an existing Amazon account …
Once you’re logged in, go to Your Account section and click on Security Credentials …
Inside the Security Credentials section, click on Access Credentials …
In the “Access Credentials” section, you will find your Access Key ID code and Secret Access Key code. Click on “Show” to reveal your Secret Access Key code …
You need both your Access Key ID code and Secret Access Key code to use the Amazon S3 service.
Copy both of these codes to a plain text file – make sure there are no spaces at the end of the code strings, or you will experience errors using the service …
Important: Never share your codes with anyone!
Save these codes for now on your hard drive (tip: don’t make the file name or location obvious). You will need these codes in the next step.
Also, make sure you watch the “How To Set Up An Amazon S3 Account” video here before proceeding to the next step. It will show you how to create directories (called “buckets”) for storing your files and how to set permissions so that others can see, access, and download your files …
Please note that you do not have to enable permissions on your backup files if you are not sharing your files with others and/or want to keep these private.
Now that you have set up your amazon S3 account, follow the steps in the tutorial below to set up an easy way to upload, edit and delete your files directly from your internet browser.
How To Use Amazon S3 Firefox Organizer (S3Fox) Add-on: Step-By-Step Tutorial
This tutorial shows you how to use the S3Fox add-on for Firefox browsers to upload and edit content from your hard drive to your Amazon AWS S3 account directly from your browser.
If you are not using Firefox browser, download it here: Firefox Browser
Next, download the S3Fox add-on for Firefox here: S3Fox
To install the add-on …
- Click on the “Download” S3Fox button.
- You will have to restart your Firefox i.e., close all the windows and open it again.
- Then, you should see an option called “S3Fox Organizer” in “Tools” Menu. Click on that to start with. (or) You can open the drop box by clicking on the S3Fox icon on the status bar.
To configure S3Fox for Amazon S3 … Have your Amazon S3 Access Key ID and Secret Access Keycodes ready. Launch S3 Organizer. In your Firefox browser, select “Tools” > “S3 Organizer” …
To set up your Amazon S3 account with S3 Organizer, click on Manage Accounts …
Enter an Account Name (1), your Access Key (2) and Secret Key (3) and click Save …
Note: If you experience an error when trying to set up your account details in the S3 Account Manager box, go back and check that you have not entered spaces after your key codes!
Once you’ve entered the correct information into the S3 Account Manager, you’ll be brought to your account. This is blank by default.
The left side of the S3 Organizer window displays your local hard drive folders, and the right window displays your Amazon S3 folders (called “buckets”).
To create a bucket, either right-click with your mouse inside the amazon S3 window and select “Create Directory” …
… or click on the “New Directory” button …
Choose a name for your new directory and click “ok” to create the folder …
Anything created on the folder’s root level will be your buckets. Your files and folders will then be stored or organized inside your buckets.
To create a folder, simply double-click into your bucket and repeat the above step, then upload your images, videos, zip files, etc. to your folders by selecting the files you want to upload and clicking on the “upload” button …
By default, anything uploaded to your Amazon S3 account will not be accessible to the public. You must set permissions for each item you upload if you want to make these visible or accessible to others. Watch the videos in this tutorial to learn how to set file permissions in Amazon S3.
Using Amazon S3 Without Firefox
The Amazon S3 add-on for Firefox browsers (S3Fox) makes it very easy and convenient to upload and delete files using the Amazon S3 service.
If you are not using Firefox, then consider installing it on your computer, even if you only plan to use it to transfer files easily to your server and offsite storage locations.
If for some reason, however, you really do not want to use Firefox as a browser, then here are some alternative applications you may want to consider using for transferring files to your Amazon S3 account that do not require using Firefox:
- Cloudberry Explorer – This is a freeware file manager for Amazon S3. Cloudberry Explorer provides a user interface to Amazon S3 accounts allowing accessing, moving and managing files, buckets, and vaults across your local and cloud storage.
- Bucket Explorer – This is a desktop application that provides users with an interface to explore & manage the data stored in their Amazon S3 Buckets.
- Cyberduck – This is a free 3rd party tool (User Interface) that connects your computer to your Amazon AWS account. Cyberduck is like an FTP client that works with PCs & Macs.
- S3Backup – This is another Windows desktop application that allows users to use the Amazon S3 service for remote backups and secure online file storage.
- Sync2S3 – Synchronizes your files with Amazon S3, providing you with a secure and affordable backup solution.
Congratulations! Now you know how to set up an Amazon S3 account to store your data offsite.
For video tutorials on how to use Amazon S3, go here:
"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)
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