Seven steps to use S3 as a media server.


So I’ve just started experimenting with Amazon’s S3 service and boy is it easy. My plan was to use S3 as a media server to serve up my flash widgets and javascripts for my upcoming project. So to do that, I ….

  • created an S3 account.
  • Dowloaded the S3 Organizer plugin for Firefox.
  • Restarted firefox and opened up S3 Organizer.
  • Created a “bucket” (basically a new folder). To do this, it is just like creating a folder with an FTP client.
  • After my bucket was created (I called it “quizical”), I uploaded the image, javascript, and stylesheet directories of my rails app.
  • Using S3 Organizer, I set my permissions to public for these directories, by right-clicking on the file name and setting public in the dialog box and checking the “Apply to sub-folders” box.
  • In production.rb in config/environments, I revised this line to point to my asset server:
    config.action_controller.asset_host = “”

Now all of my public files are being served from S3, a true asset server. So simple.

The only thing that threw me off for a second was the terminology used. The bucket reference I got. But the URL structure is listed as I kept putting in my access key for the /key. Turns out, key is what Amazon calls the filename.


3 Responses to “Seven steps to use S3 as a media server.”

  1. Hello,

    nice little guide. i’ve been thinking about using s3 for a while, i’d be grateful if you could confirm something. so in the html on your website in order to reference say, “test.js” from your s3 account, you simply add a url like so?

  2. Sagey, yes that’s right. You do have to make sure you’ve set the ACL (access control list) to allow public access to that file. You can also have subdirectories.

  3. 3 Hector

    If you rename the bucket to something like “”, you can setup a CNAME record pointing to This will allow you to reference files via

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