In this tutorial I quickly go over creating a static site using S3. This should be a simple process and for the most part it is except Amazon’s security policy editor. There are many ways to control security in AWS and I beat my head against a wall for many hours trying to figure what would work. I present what worked for me but this may not be the ‘best’ way to do the security for an S3 bucket. If get more info on how to better do it I will update this post accordingly.
- You’ve created an AWS account on http://aws.amazon.com (it’s super-easy)
- My static domain (static.eli4d.com) will use WordPress.com’s nameservers. I host this blog (besides all images and static content) on wordpress.com. The $13 is well worth my time and my content is portable due to the static server usage.
Note: Originally I had created an images.eli4d.com S3 bucket but now I am switching to static.eli4d.com. While creating the images bucket I accumulated lots of scattered notes. If there’s any references to the images bucket it is due to this initial effort.
Get an AWS account
Creating an AWS account is extremely easy and it’s faster than Amazon Prime.
How to create an S3 bucket for static.eli4d.com
The sheer breadth of Amazon’s web services is astounding…and it keeps growing.
The creation step is very simple – just click that “Create Bucket”
The only gotcha is that your bucket name should be the exact name of the domain you want to associate it with. So if I want static.eli4d.com for my static content, then I need to make a bucket name of static.eli4d.com. If that bucket name is taken (it’s universal across all of AWS) – then you’re out of luck and have to go down a more complicated route (see https://eli4d.com/2015/09/02/amazon-web-services-lesson-s3-bucket-names-are-universal-so-get-your-domain-named-s3-bucket-before-someone-else-does/ ).
S3 Management Console
S3 Management Console
Franken url is awake…but inaccessible
Current permissions – main account
Time to create the index.html
Time to create robots.txt
Lets get back to the bucket
S3 Management Console – uploading files – 1
S3 Management Console – uploading files – 2
Upload details page
Keeping it as defaults.
My bucket shows the uploaded files
Testing end point – can I see that index.html
And the answer is no. Not surprising but the answer is still NO.
It’s time to go down the rabbit hole also known as AWS permissions. This is a short trip into that hole. We’ll have a longer trip when enabling an access policy between a user and this bucket.
Allowing anyone to get to the S3 bucket using a browser
Where do I find my S3’s ARN?
Go to the S3 bucket and edit the bucket policy to see the bucket’s ARN. In my case the ARN is arn:aws:s3:::static.eli4d.com/*
Setting bucket permissions – 1
Following http://blog.learningtree.com/configuring-amazon-s3-to-serve-images/ in setting bucket properties
Setting bucket permissions – 2
Keep in mind the following: when you click the link the AWS Policy Generator will launch in a separate browser window. You then create the policy there and then you have to copy the policy that’s created (a bunch of text) from that browser window to this browser window. This is not obvious and from a UX point of view it can be crazy-making and confusing.
Setting bucket permissions – 3
AWS Policy Generator
The only permission that the bucket needs to be world readable is GetObject.
ARN is key
You need to put correct arn:
arn:aws:s3:::static.eli4d.com/* in my case as mentioned above. Mess up the ARN and you will be slightly sad.
‘Principal’ refers to anyone who accesses the bucket (so by putting * we’re saying ‘everyone’).
Once you add the statement
Policy generator gives you a summary before actual generation. It’s time to click the ‘Generate Policy’ button.
Clicking the ‘Generate’ button
Side note: that version date is odd. You can’t just put today’s date as the version date.
So you have a policy and you need to copy it
I know….you’re thinking wtf and so am I. So copy the policy. Then go back to the window where you launched the policy generator.
As a key principal here: do not modify any of this text. Seriously…don’t do it.
Here’s where you’re going to copy the text into
Remember that browser window from which you opened the security policy editor. Go back to that one.
Now paste in the policy and save it
If everything is ok policy wise you get back to the main window
There’s a really quick green checkbox and here we are (sure wish the UX was better here).
Time to retest the endpoint
Whohoo…now we can get to the S3 bucket.
- Domain mapping of static.eli4d.com domain to this endpoint
- Permissions to allow me to sync resources
Domain mapping to the S3 bucket
My eli4d.com domain is controlled by WordPress (my registrar, however, is Hover – I LOVE Hover). These instructions apply to adding the static.eli4d.com subdomain via WordPress. I had tested some other domain configurations and this turned out to be the simplest approach (thumbs up to Hover and WordPress support). Depending on your domain configuration – you’ll have to adjust your steps accordingly when adding a subdomain.
Note: any ‘Hover’ URLs from this post are a referral link to Hover. BTW in case I didn’t mention it – I love^1000 Hover.
To the wordpress.com domain editing url
The not-so-easily found domains link on WordPress.com.
Lets edit the DNS
Time to add my subdomain of static.eli4d.com
Create a CNAME record for static.eli4d.com
The steps are to:
- Create the CNAME
- Click on the ‘Add’ button
- Click on the ‘Save Changes’ button
Check that static.eli4d.com is showing on the browser
Problem – when I type static.eli4d.com it redirects to eli4d.com – why?
The answer is DNS propagation that may take between 48 to 72 hours.
Lets pretend that 48 to 72 hours have passed
Ta-da – it works!
Hint: Use Firefox/Chrome private browsing mode to validate domain since it eliminates caching issues.
Checking in: workflow – how do I upload resources to my S3 bucket?
Now what? How do I upload my static resources to this S3 bucket? It will most likely be images but it can be anything else (so S3 accepts a maximum of 5 TB sized files). I write my blog entry on my Mac via Markdown putting the static items in the post, but then how where do I go from here to there workflow-wise?
I could just log into the AWS console and upload the resources but it feels clunky and not my type of workflow. What I want is something on the command line that syncs my resource directory to my S3 bucket. So here’s my approach:
- find a command line utility
- configure a user on AWS that can sync data only to this bucket (this is just basic security; I don’t want my main ‘root’-ish user to do everything from my mac); ideally I would have a user per bucket but I’ll stick to one sync user to honor some semblance of simplicity and sanity
- configure the S3 bucket to accept connection from this user (this turned out to be a bear – AWS’s security model is breathtakingly complex)
Note: If you’re ok with just uploading resources via the AWS console then you’re done…enjoy! (please let me know via Twitter that you found these instructions useful…it encourages me to write more of this)
Finding an S3 sync command line utility
Lots of possible solutions but some outdated
But there’s a promising article
An Amazon native solution would be ideal (just like using the docs straight from the horses mouth – i.e. amazon).
I want sync but…
I need to start at the beginning, so I need to backup to aws cli instructions
Selecting “User Guide”
Nice – the page has what I need
More AWS cli documentation
And more AWS docs
Command line install instructions
I’m using the bundled installer since I don’t have pip but I do have Python 2.7.5
Installing the AWS Command Line Interface – AWS Command Line Interface
Sweetest command line – here we go
Just follow the instructions
The ‘aws’ command works!
Note that I moved back to my standard account rather than the admin account on the mac (trying to be secure and all that jazz)
The command to sync a local folder to the AWS bucket
At this point this command doesn’t work yet but it will later. All possible options for aws cli can be found here: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/cli/latest/reference/s3/sync.html
aws s3 sync /Volumes/elev-per/Dropbox/eli4d-content/s3/static.eli4d.com/2015/ s3://static.eli4d.com/2015 --delete --exclude "*.DS_Store"
Basically the above command says sync all resources from my local directory and use the local directory as the authoritative source deleting any mismatches on the S3 bucket side (i.e. the –delete) and exclude the Mac side pollution of .DS_Store – so don’t sync those.
The fantastically awesome Nicolas Zakas and a slight sad story about S3
I happened to come across a very interesting post by Nicolas Zakas ( http://www.nczonline.net/blog/2015/08/wordpress-jekyll-my-new-blog-setup/ ).
There are 2 very interesting things:
- His comment about s3command was very interesting. Since I don’t regenerate all of the static content – awscli is fine for me. But it’s something to keep in mind for static blog generation.
- The ability of someone else to indirectly squat on his domain by taking the name as an S3 bucket. I’ve written about this here: https://eli4d.com/2015/09/02/amazon-web-services-lesson-s3-bucket-names-are-universal-so-get-your-domain-named-s3-bucket-before-someone-else-does/
Creating an S3 user for syncing
As mentioned before I need a user that can sync resources for this specific bucket
I need some Sam IAM (come on Dr. Seuss – work with me here)
Creating a sync user via IAM – 1
Time to go to that iam console
Creating a sync user via IAM – 2
time to click that user’s link
Creating a sync user via IAM – 3
Select ‘Create New Users’
Creating a sync user via IAM – 4
Creating a sync user via IAM – 5
Creating a sync user via IAM – 6
Here is where you create an access key (I already created it). The gist is AWS creates a public/private key and you need to save it because it’s never shown to you again (i.e. the private key).
Now how do I give this user access to my images bucket?
Duckducking around: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how+add+IAM+user+to+s3
Click the user to see its permissions
New IAM user information
Configuring aws-cli with my newly created AWS user
Time to configure
Note 1: that I found my region by logging into aws console > s3 and looked at the top area for region corresponding to my s3 bucket.
Note 2: All configuration (default) is in ~/.aws/
Dang – I need IAM policy for my user.
Configuring my S3 bucket to allow sync from my eli4dsync user
This is what I want
Insert many head scratching hours and attempts to get this going and lots^1000 of expletives
I initially attempted to change the security policy of the S3 bucket to allow for my sync user. I got lots and lots ‘Access Denied’ messages. I scoured AWS documentation, Duckduckgo, Google, Stackoverflow, and a Lynda course about AWS. Somewhere along all of this I figured that maybe I need to approach this from the other side – the eli4dsync user and that maybe I should attach a policy to the user in terms of the bucket access. This is the approach that worked for me but it may not be the right approach. If someone at Amazon would clarify the way security policy works – I would love to write that up (so open invitation AWS people with security policy information to get in touch).
Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/bMGA1T
Applying an inline policy to the IAM user rather than the S3 bucket
So initially – it looks like this article talks about s3 policy but it isn’t about the s3 bucket but rather the IAM user.
Testing my sync code against my changes I find that this one works
So there are two parts:
Part (1) applies to the whole bucket. ListObjects is needed for recursion that occurs through the awscli sync command (think subdirectories of files and syncing them…though S3 doesn’t have a file hierarchy concept).
Part (2) applies to objects that are within buckets.
With this inline policy my sync user does NOT have carte blanche – it’s the right thing (for my purposes).
My sync script works and I have a very specific policy for my sync user.
Conclusion and Thanks
As you can tell – the AWS security policy creation is the biggest head scratcher. The rest if fairly straightforward.
My thanks to the folks that created the following resources and/or answered my questions:
- walk through: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonS3/latest/dev/website-hosting-custom-domain-walkthrough.html
- Brigid Johnson from AWS who replied back with that URL that pointed me to that article about how one attaches a security policy to the IAM user
Please let me know via Twitter (https://twitter.com/eli4d) that you found these instructions useful…it encourages me to write more of this.