Using a CDN with Amazon S3

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What is Amazon S3?

Amazon’s Simple Storage Solutions has become a very popular origin server for storing web content.  It allows for any amount of data to be stored and retrieved at any time, from anywhere.  Files are stored on a system of servers know as a “bucket”, which is located in a region that can be chosen for latency optimization, cost or adherence to regulations.

What is a CDN?

A CDN, or Content Delivery Network is system of servers known as PoPs that are distributed throughout the world to allow for viewers of web pages to access cached content from local servers, regardless of where the site is hosted.  CDNs offer dynamic site acceleration (DSA) or whole site acceleration, making web pages and their assets load much faster.

Using S3 with a CDN

Using Amazon’s S3 service along with a CDN allows user to utilize the benefits of both services at a lower price than an Amazon S3 account on its own.  This is because the CDN acts as a proxy and serves the files until the cache is cleared or expired, so files are not redundantly accessed from the Amazon S3 bucket.

Amazon’s CDN

Amazon has recognized the benefit of the CDN with S3 and now offers a CDN service called CloudFront. For many, this is a convenient solution.  It requires minimal setup and everything is on one bill. While some may be tempted to choose this service for the convenience, it may be wise to check out some of the other options.   No two services are completely identical, and no one service is the right choice for everybody.

How CDNs Benefit Your Site

CDNs speed up web services form Amazon S3 by offering services such as connection management, route optimization, TCP optimization, SSL offload, pre-fetching, whole-site delivery and on-the-fly compression.  All technical jargon aside, the point is that these services allow for sites to load significantly faster, which will in-turn maximize the user experience and allow for better placement on Google’s search engine.

Google uses Site Speed for Search Results

Google has implemented algorithms in their search engine that provide higher search engine placement for sites that load faster.  This has really caused the SEO game to change.  While the normal SEO tricks like keywords, AdWords and backlinks are still useful, increasing speed will benefit you as well as your site’s visitors.


Dynamic site acceleration is a must have for any site hosted on Amazon’s S3 service.  Besides improving search engine placement, it will make the user experience much greater.  Nobody wants to wait for sites to load. The best way to ensure that people do not leave your site is to have a fast simple storage solution, and speed it up by adding dynamic site acceleration.

About the Author:

Bryce Graven is from San Francisco, CA. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication & Journalism with an Electronic Media Production option.  He is well known in the Bay Area Music scene as a producer, engineer and vocalist.  Bryce’s passion for computer-recorded music has lead him into the tech industry, web design, graphics, digital video and marketing. He currently is helping business increase speed by combining their S3 accounts with Content Delivery Networks.