Getting started with a simple CloudFront distribution - Amazon CloudFront
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Getting started with a simple CloudFront distribution

The procedures in this section show you how to use CloudFront to set up a basic configuration that does the following:

  • Stores the original versions of your objects in an Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket

  • Makes your objects accessible to everyone

  • Uses the CloudFront domain name in URLs for your objects (for example,

  • Keeps your objects in CloudFront edge locations for the default duration of 24 hours (the minimum duration is 0 seconds)

Most of these options are customizable. For example, you can store your content on your own web server instead of using an S3 bucket, and you can restrict who has access to the content by using signed URLs or cookies. For information about how to customize your CloudFront distribution options, see Steps for creating a distribution (overview).

You have to complete only a few basic steps to start delivering your content with CloudFront. The first step is signing up. After that, you create a CloudFront distribution, and then use the CloudFront domain name in URLs in your webpages or applications to reference the content.


Before you begin, make sure that you’ve completed the steps in Setting up.

Step 1: Upload your content to Amazon S3 and grant object permissions

An Amazon S3 bucket is a container for files (objects) or folders. CloudFront can distribute almost any type of file for you using an Amazon S3 bucket as the source. For example, CloudFront can distribute text, images, and videos. There is no maximum for the amount of data that you can store on Amazon S3.

By default, your Amazon S3 bucket and all the files in it are private—only the Amazon account that created the bucket has permission to read or write the files. If you want to allow anyone to access the files in your Amazon S3 bucket using CloudFront URLs, you must grant public read permissions to the objects.


If you want to restrict who can download your content, you can use the CloudFront private content feature. For more information about distributing private content, see Serving private content with signed URLs and signed cookies.

To upload your content to Amazon S3 and grant read permissions to everyone

  1. Sign in to the Amazon Web Services Management Console and open the Amazon S3 console at

  2. Choose Create bucket.

  3. For Bucket name, enter a bucket name.


    For your bucket to work with CloudFront, the name must conform to DNS naming requirements. For more information, see Bucket restrictions and limitations in the Amazon Simple Storage Service User Guide.

  4. For Region, choose an Amazon Region for your bucket. We recommend that you choose a Region close to you to optimize latency and minimize costs, or you might choose another Region to address regulatory requirements.

  5. In the Block Public Access settings for bucket section, clear the check box for Block all public access.

    You must allow public read access to the bucket and files so that CloudFront URLs can serve content from the bucket. However, you can restrict access to specific content by using the CloudFront private content feature. For more information, see Serving private content with signed URLs and signed cookies.

    Select the check box for I acknowledge that the current settings might result in this bucket and the objects within becoming public..

  6. Leave all other settings at their defaults, and then choose Create bucket.

  7. (Optional) If you don’t have your own website content, or if you just want to experiment with CloudFront before uploading your own content, use the following link to download a simple hello world webpage:

  8. In the Buckets section, choose your new bucket, and then choose Upload.

  9. Use the Upload page to add your content to the S3 bucket. If you downloaded the simple hello world webpage, add the index.html file and the css folder (with the style.css file inside it).

  10. Choose Additional upload options to expand the section.

  11. In the Access control list (ACL) section, select the check box for Read next to Everyone (public access) in the Objects column.

  12. Select the check box for I understand the effects of these changes on the specified objects.

  13. At the bottom of the page, choose Upload.

    After the upload is complete, you can navigate to the item by using its URL. For example:

    https://<bucket name>.s3-<Amazon Region><object name>

    Replace <bucket name>, <Amazon Region>, and <object name> with the appropriate values based on your bucket and content. If you used the simple hello world website in this procedure, replace <object name> with index.html.


    If you created the bucket in the US East (N. Virginia) Region (us-east-1), omit the <Amazon Region> portion of the URL. For example:

    https://<bucket name><object name>

    Use the Amazon S3 URL to verify that your content is publicly accessible, but remember that this is not the URL you’ll use to access your content with CloudFront.

Step 2: Create a CloudFront distribution

To create a CloudFront distribution
  1. Open the CloudFront console at

  2. Choose Create distribution.

  3. Under Origin, for Origin domain, choose the Amazon S3 bucket that you created earlier.

    For the other settings under Origin, accept the default values.

  4. For the settings under Default cache behavior, accept the default values.

    For more information about cache behavior options, see Cache behavior settings.

  5. For the remainder of Settings, accept the default values.

    For more information about these options, see Distribution settings.

  6. At the bottom of the page, choose Create distribution.

  7. After CloudFront creates your distribution, the value of the Status column for your distribution changes from In Progress to Deployed. This typically takes a few minutes.

    Record the domain name that CloudFront assigns to your distribution, which appears in the list of distributions. (It also appears on the General tab for a selected distribution.) It looks similar to the following:

Step 3: Access your content through CloudFront

To access your content through CloudFront, combine your CloudFront distribution domain name with the path to access your content. For example, your distribution domain name looks similar to the following: Traditionally, the path to access the main page of a website is /index.html. In this case, you could access your content through CloudFront at a URL that looks similar to the following:

If you followed the previous steps and used the simple hello world webpage, you should see the webpage’s content:

					The Hello world webpage.

When you upload new content to your S3 bucket, you can access the content through CloudFront by combining the CloudFront distribution domain name (for example, with the path to the object in the S3 bucket. For example, if you upload a new file named new-page.html to the root of your S3 bucket, you can access this page through CloudFront at a URL similar to the following:

You have successfully configured CloudFront to serve your website’s content that’s stored in Amazon S3. If you want to go a step further, you can configure your CloudFront distribution to use a custom domain name (for example, instead of For more information, see Using custom URLs.