amazon-s3 Getting started with amazon-s3

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Summary from the Documentation


Amazon Simple Storage Service is storage for the Internet. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.

Amazon S3 has a simple web services interface that you can use to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.

Language and Scripting Support

S3 is not a development language as such, but a cloud platform that supports web service requests. There is an assortment of tools and SDK's that are published by Amazon. The language SDK's provide transparent access to S3 by handling tasks such as web services requests, authentication, session management, token renewal, etc. There are also command line interfaces for bash/windows/ios and powershell.

The S3 API

The S3 web services API has been supported by competing vendors. This topic does not currently cover the API directly, so the examples in here would not be useful for building applications that connect to competing systems that leverage the S3 API.


As of 28 March 2017, the AWS CLI has 174 versions, which are cleanly documented in the CLI Release Notes. Amazon S3 has 66 versions, of which some are to announce addition of a new region, and others are to add functionality. These are documented in the S3 Release Notes.

The Examples

With respect to the examples shown so far in this "Getting Started" section, Amazon S3 is useful to developers for the following use cases:

  • Store or back up files in a high-performing, durable system, thus offloading this task from non-cloud architectures: linux and windows file systems. It is expensive to recreate the durability and performance levels of S3 using on premise servers or EC2 instances.
  • When network bandwidth is an issue, for example, in cases where multiple simultaneous users must download large files, moving data to S3 can be used as a way for an application to mitigate bandwidth shortages to a datacenter or on-premises server. This is a way of distributing a large code repository, virtual machine images, video, or software installers. User upload times and user download times can be improved. [For additional performance in very large user base scenarios, a content delivery system such as cloudfront can be used to cache files closer to the users.]
  • Your application needs to create or consume a big file and you need a way to allow users to access or deposit it.
  • Your application distribution is very big and you need to share it with users.
  • You are putting together a continuous delivery pipeline and for example hosting portions of your website on Amazon S3.

At this point the examples do not show how to do the following:

  • The examples, although faster and clearer than typing aws s3 help, do not mention some of the commands covered in help, such asaws s3 website`.
  • How to share or restrict user access. Without explicit restriction, the examples would work only for users sharing the same AWS account.
  • How to secure data via encryption. Note that AWS does position S3 as having a higher level of security than data stored in EC2. AWS Security Best Practices, August 2016, p. 27


AWS recommends viewing S3 as a secure platform:

Unless you have more stringent business or compliance requirements, you don’t need to introduce additional layers of protection beyond those provided by the AWS secure global infrastructure. ibid. p.2

In their security guide, AWS recommends using AWS authentication as suitable for S3. ibid. p. 27

Additionally, S3 provides server-side encryption or client-side encryption. Client side encryption is provided transparently by the AWS Java SDK; keys need not be stored on AWS. ibid. p. 28


version namedescriptionnotesrelease date
Amazon S3 on 2016-12-13Adds London Regionnotes2016-12-13

AWS CLI S3 Commands List

List of commonly used S3 AWS CLI Commands

Create Bucket

aws s3 mb s3://bucket-name

Remove Bucket

aws s3 rb s3://bucket-name

List Buckets

aws s3 ls

List contents inside the bucket

aws s3 ls s3://bucket-name

List Bucket with a path

aws s3 ls s3://bucket-name/path

Copy file

aws s3 cp file.txt s3://my-bucket/ 

Synchronize files

aws s3 sync . s3://my-bucket/path

Delete local file

rm ./MyFile1.txt

Attempt sync without --delete option - nothing happens

aws s3 sync . s3://my-bucket/path

Sync with deletion - object is deleted from bucket

aws s3 sync . s3://my-bucket/path --delete

Delete object from bucket

aws s3 rm s3://my-bucket/path/MySubdirectory/MyFile3.txt

Sync with deletion - local file is deleted

aws s3 sync s3://my-bucket/path . --delete

Sync with Infrequent Access storage class

aws s3 sync . s3://my-bucket/path --storage-class STANDARD_IA

Copy MyFile.txt in current directory to s3://my-bucket/path

aws s3 cp MyFile.txt s3://my-bucket/path/

Move all .jpg files in s3://my-bucket/path to ./MyDirectory

aws s3 mv s3://my-bucket/path ./MyDirectory --exclude '*' --include '*.jpg' --recursive

List the contents of my-bucket

aws s3 ls s3://my-bucket

List the contents of path in my-bucket

aws s3 ls s3://my-bucket/path

Delete s3://my-bucket/path/MyFile.txt

aws s3 rm s3://my-bucket/path/MyFile.txt

Delete s3://my-bucket/path and all of its contents

aws s3 rm s3://my-bucket/path --recursive

Hello World Example using Java

This example attempts to create a bucket called 'hello-world' and, as the bucket hello-world has already been created by someone else in S3's global namespace, throws the following exception. Change 'hello-world' to something else to avoid the exception by creating a uniquely named bucket. The new bucket so created can be deleted using the AWS console

Exception in thread "main" The requested bucket name is not available. The bucket namespace is shared by all users of the system. Please select a different name and try again. (Service: Amazon S3; Status Code: 409; Error Code: BucketAlreadyExists; Request ID: ...


            /** S3 "hello world" example. */
            public class S3Hello {

                    /** Name of hello-world bucket -- must be globally unique.  The
                     *  bucket namespace is shared by all users of the system.
                    static final String BUCKET_NAME = "hello-world";

                    /** Creates bucket
                     *  @param args Command line arguments
                    public static void main(final String[] args) {

                            AmazonS3 s3 = AmazonS3ClientBuilder.defaultClient();

                            CreateBucketRequest request
                                 = new CreateBucketRequest(BUCKET_NAME);

                            Bucket bucket = s3.createBucket(request);
                            System.out.println("S3 Hello World completed.");

This example requires the following dependencies:

Hello World Using PowerShell

This example expects an error, as the hello-world bucket already exists and S3 uses a global namespace.

    New-S3Bucket -BucketName "hello-world"

New-S3Bucket : The requested bucket name is not available. The bucket namespace is shared by all users of the system. Please select a different name and try again.

If you replace hello-world with something else that is unique, the bucket will be created without error, and you will get the following result:

    CreationDate                                      BucketName
    ------------                                      ----------
    3/30/2017 11:43:03 PM                             hello-world-832jklsdJF

This example requires the following dependencies:

Installation of AWS CLI for accessing S3

Installing aws cli in Ubuntu / Debian Instance

sudo apt-get install -y python-dev python-pip
sudo pip install awscli
aws --version
aws configure

Installing aws cli using python

Using pip you can install aws cli in windows, OS X and Linux

sudo pip install awscli

Configuring the AWS Command Line Interface

This section explains how to configure settings that the AWS Command Line Interface uses when interacting with AWS, such as your security credentials and the default region.

$ aws configure
AWS Access Key ID [None]: <Your access key >
AWS Secret Access Key [None]: <Your secret key>
Default region name [None]: us-west-2
Default output format [None]: json

Get the Access key and Secret key from the account page in AWS

Creating Buckets

Use the aws s3 mb command to create a new bucket. Bucket names must be unique and should be DNS compliant. Bucket names can contain lowercase letters, numbers, hyphens and periods

aws s3 mb s3://bucket-name

Removing Buckets

To remove a bucket, use the aws s3 rb command.By default bucket should be empty.

aws s3 rb s3://bucket-name

To remove a non-empty bucket, you need to include the --force option.

aws s3 rb s3://bucket-name --force

Listing Buckets

To list all buckets or their contents, use the aws s3 ls command

aws s3 ls
aws s3 ls s3://bucket-name

The following command lists the objects in bucket-name/path

aws s3 ls s3://bucket-name/path

Synchronize files between local file system and S3

aws s3 sync . s3://my-bucket/path 

It will upload all the files in the current directory to S3. To download the files from S3 to the current directory execute

aws s3 sync s3://my-bucket/path .

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