Incompatible: Static S3 Website With CloudFront Forwarding All Headers

a small lesson learned in setting up a static web site with S3 and CloudFront

I created a static web site hosted in an S3 bucket named (not the real name) and enabled accessing it as a website. I wanted delivery to be fast to everybody around the world, so I created a CloudFront distribution in front of the S3 bucket.

I wanted S3 to automatically add “index.html” to URLs ending in a slash (CloudFront can’t do this), so I configured the CloudFront distribution to access the S3 bucket as a web site using as the origin server.

Before sending all of the traffic to the new setup, I wanted to test it, so I added to the list of CNAMEs in the CloudFront distribution.

After setting up Route53 so that DNS lookups for would resolve to the new CloudFront endpoint, I loaded it in my browser and got the following error:

S3 Bucket Notification to SQS/SNS on Object Creation

A fantastic new and oft-requested AWS feature was released during AWS re:Invent, but has gotten lost in all the hype about AWS Lambda functions being triggered when objects are added to S3 buckets. AWS Lambda is currently in limited Preview mode and you have to request access, but this related feature is already available and ready to use.

I’m talking about automatic S3 bucket notifications to SNS topics and SQS queues when new S3 objects are added.

Unlike AWS Lambda, with S3 bucket notifications you do need to maintain the infrastructure to run your code, but you’re already running EC2 instances for application servers and job processing, so this will fit right in.

To detect and respond to S3 object creation in the past, you needed to either have every process that uploaded to S3 subsequently trigger your back end code in some way, or you needed to poll the S3 bucket to see if new objects had been added. The former adds code complexity and tight coupling dependencies. The latter can be costly in performance and latency, especially as the number of objects in the bucket grows.

With the new S3 bucket notification configuration options, the addition of an object to a bucket can send a message to an SNS topic or to an SQS queue, triggering your code quickly and effortlessly.

Here’s a working example of how to set up and use S3 bucket notification configurations to send messages to SNS on object creation and update.

Reset S3 Object Timestamp for Bucket Lifecycle Expiration

use aws-cli to extend expiration and restart the delete or archive countdown on objects in an S3 bucket


S3 buckets allow you to specify lifecycle rules that tell AWS to automatically delete or archive any objects in that bucket after a specific number of days. You can also specify a prefix with each rule so that different objects in the same bucket stay for different amounts of time.

Example 1: I created a bucket named (not the real name) that automatically archives an object to AWS Glacier after it has been sitting in S3 for 90 days.

Example 2: I created a bucket named (not the real name) that automatically delete a file after it has been sitting there for 30 days.

This works great until you realize that there are specific files that you want to keep around for just a bit longer than its original expiration.

You could download and then upload the object to reset its creation date, thus starting the countdown from zero; but through a little experimentation, I found that one easy way to reset the creation/modification timestamp on an S3 object is to ask S3 to change the object storage method to the same storage method it currently has.

The following example uses the new aws-cli command line tool to reset the timestamp of an S3 object, thus restarting the lifecycle counter. This has an effect similar to the Linux/Unix touch command.

Installing aws-cli, the New AWS Command Line Tool

consistent control over more AWS services with aws-cli, a single, powerful command line tool from Amazon

Readers of this tech blog know that I am a fan of the power of the command line. I enjoy presenting functional command line examples that can be copied and pasted to experience services and features.

The Old World

Users of the various AWS legacy command line tools know that, though they get the job done, they are often inconsistent in where you get them, how you install them, how you pass options, how you provide credentials, and more. Plus, there are only tool sets for a limited number of AWS services.

I wrote an article that demonstrated the simplest approach I use to install and configure the legacy AWS command line tools, and it ended up being extraordinarily long.

I’ve been using the term “legacy” when referring to the various old AWS command line tools, which must mean that there is something to replace them, right?

The New World

The future of the AWS command line tools is aws-cli, a single, unified, consistent command line tool that works with almost all of the AWS services.

Cost of Transitioning S3 Objects to Glacier

how I was surprised by a large AWS charge and how to calculate the break-even point

Glacier Archival of S3 Objects

Amazon recently introduced a fantastic new feature where S3 objects can be automatically migrated over to Glacier storage based on the S3 bucket, the key prefix, and the number of days after object creation.

This makes it trivially easy to drop files in S3, have fast access to them for a while, then have them automatically saved to long-term storage where they can’t be accessed as quickly, but where the storage charges are around a tenth of the price.

…or so I thought.