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Nov 12

Static Website Hosting

Posted: November 12, 2016

Amazon S3 Website Hosting for Small Business

What is a Static Website?

This simply means the website does not depend on any special scripts or databases running on the server in order to render your website pages out to the Internet. Many websites require a database to manage the content. These databases also require a script running on the server to allow the web page to dynamically render a web page to load in the browser each time the page is requested by a user. This requires additional processing power and extra security to handle. Static web pages can still have great functionality using third party services instead. That is how the comments section of this website work. This website is static and is hosted at Amazon S3.

This article will step you through the process of setting up static website hosting at Amazon Web Serves (AWS) using Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).

Quick-Start Series

This post is part of series of articles
designed to be followed in order

  1. Start Here to Build your Website
  2. Register a Domain Name
  3. Static Website Hosting
  4. Select a HTML Website Template
  5. Edit a HTML Website Template
  6. Upload Website to Amazon S3
  7. Point Your Domain Name to Amazon S3
  8. Choosing a Business Email Service

What is Amazon S3?

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is a cloud based storage service with a simple web based management console to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere on the web. It is very reliable as it is designed to deliver 99.9% uptime. It is very secure. It allows you to store large amounts of data at a very low cost. Since your website has very little data, your cost should be negligible. If fact, the first year will be free.

And best of all, it can also host static web sites so your website will load fast, be very secure, and will handle a huge amount of traffic.

Setting up Amazon S3 as a Static Website Host

Savjee has a very good video tutorial on how to setup Amazon S3 for a static website. Please watch his short tutorial then continue below to step through the entire process where I will fill in some of the additional steps you will need.

Follow these Steps

I will be using the domain name to demonstrate how to set this up. You should substitute your domain name. You may also refer to the AWS instructions. The AWS instructions have you placing your web pages in the bucket. The steps below have you placing them in the bucket. Either will work.

  1. If you do not have a Amazon Web Service account you will need to create one.

  2. Once logged in, navigate to the S3 management console and create a bucket named exactly the same as your domain name with the www placed in front, for example: Select the region closest to your business. For those in the the USA, select US Standard. Make sure to click Create.

  3. Open your new bucket and click on the Properties panel:
    • under Static Website hosting click Enable static website hosting
    • for the Index Document, enter: index.html
    • for the Error Document, enter: error.html (or what ever you named your error page)
    • click Save

  4. Add a bucket policy that makes the bucket’s content publicly available
    • in the bucket’s Properties panel, click on Permissions to expand it’s contents
    • click Add Bucket Policy
    • copy and paste the bucket policy below (include the first and last curly bracket), and then paste it in the Bucket Policy Editor
    • replace in the Resource line with your bucket title
    • click Save

           "Principal": "*",
  5. Now go back and create a second bucket without the www in front. For example: This is called a naked domain. We do this because your customers may also use that to find your website. We want both the naked and www to work. Once your second bucket is created you will redirect all traffic to the www version.
    • open your new bucket and click on the Properties panel
    • under Static Website hosting click Redirect all requests to another host name
    • redirect all request to your www bucket, for example

You now have setup static website hosting at Amazon S3. You will now upload your website in to the bucket with the wwww. To test this you may download example web pages. Download them to your computer, open the resulting zip file, and then upload only the index.html and error.html to your bucket.

You can test your website hosting by using the Endpoint listed under the Static Website Hosting properties for your bucket. It would look something like:

Use this for testing until we point your domain name to your bucket.

Next step is to select a HTML template.

I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below. You can also share this post on Facebook and Twitter.