In this module you'll configure Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) to host the static resources for your web application. In subsequent modules you'll add dynamic functionality to these pages using JavaScript to call remote RESTful APIs built with AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway.

The architecture for this module is very straightforward. All of your static web content including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images and other files will be stored in Amazon S3. Your end users will then access your site using the public website URL exposed by Amazon S3. You don't need to run any web servers or use other services in order to make your site available.

For the purposes of this module you'll use the Amazon S3 website endpoint URL that we supply. It takes the form http://{your-bucket-name}.s3-website.{region} For most real applications you'll want to use a custom domain to host your site. If you're interested in using a your own domain, follow the instructions for setting up a static website using a custom domain in the Amazon S3 documentation.

Time to Complete Module: 30 Minutes

Services used: Amazon S3

CloudFormation Template: If you're already comfortable working with Amazon S3, or you just want to skip ahead to working with Lambda and API Gateway, you can launch one of these AWS CloudFormation templates in the Region of your choice to build the necessary resources automatically.

Region CloudFormation Template
US East (N. Virginia) Launch stack >
US East (Ohio) Launch stack >
US West (Oregon) Launch stack >
EU (Frankfurt) Launch stack >
EU (Ireland) Launch stack >
EU (London) Launch stack >
Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Launch stack >
Asia Pacific (Seoul) Launch stack >
Asia Pacific (Sydney) Launch stack >
Asia Pacific (Mumbai) Launch stack >

CloudFormation Launch Instructions

  1. Click the Launch Stack link above for the region of your choice.

  2. Click Next on the Select Template page.

  3. Provide a globally unique name for the Website Bucket Name such as wildrydes-yourname and click Next.

  4. On the Options page, leave all the defaults and click Next.

  5. On the Review page, check the box to acknowledge that CloudFormation will create IAM resources and click Create.

    This template uses a custom resource to copy the static website assets from a central S3 bucket into your own dedicated bucket. In order for the custom resource to write to the new bucket in your account, it must create an IAM role it can assume with those permissions.

  6. Wait for the wildrydes-webapp-1 stack to reach a status of CREATE_COMPLETE.

  7. With the wildrydes-webapp-1 stack selected, click on the Outputs tab and click on the WebsiteURL link.

  8. Verify the Wild Rydes home page is loading properly and move on to the next module, User Management.

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to host a static website. Click on each step number to expand the section.

  • Step 1. Select a Region

    This web application can be deployed in any AWS region that supports all the services used in this application, which include Amazon Cognito, AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, Amazon S3 and Amazon DynamoDB.

    You can refer to the region table to see which regions have the supported services. Among the supported regions you can choose are:

    • US East (N. Virginia)
    • US East (Ohio)
    • US West (Oregon)
    • EU (Frankfurt)
    • EU (Ireland)
    • EU (London)
    • Asia Pacific (Tokyo)
    • Asia Pacific (Seoul)
    • Asia Pacific (Sydney)
    • Asia Pacific (Mumbai)


    Select your region from the dropdown in the upper right corner of the AWS Management Console.

    (Click to enlarge)

  • Step 2. Create an S3 Bucket

    Amazon S3 can be used to host static websites without having to configure or manage any web servers. In this step you'll create a new S3 bucket that will be used to host all of the static assets (e.g. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and image files) for your web application. 

    In this step, you will use the console or AWS CLI to create an Amazon S3 bucket. Keep in mind that your bucket's name must be globally unique. We recommend using a name like wildrydes-firstname-lastname. If you get an error that your bucket name already exists, try adding additional numbers or characters until you find an unused name.

    1. In the AWS Management Console choose Services then select S3 under Storage.
    2. Choose +Create Bucket
    3. Provide a globally unique name for your bucket such as wildrydes-firstname-lastname. If you get an error that your bucket name already exists, try adding additional numbers or characters until you find an unused name.
    4. Select the Region you've chosen to use for this workshop from the dropdown.
    5. Choose Create in the lower left of the dialog without selecting a bucket to copy settings from.
  • Step 3. Upload Content

    In this step, you will upload the website assets for this module to your S3 bucket. You can use the AWS Management Console (requires Google Chrome browser), AWS CLI, or the provided CloudFormation template to complete this step. If you already have the AWS CLI installed and configured on your local machine, we recommend using that method. Otherwise, use the console if you have the latest version of Google Chrome installed. 

    Console step-by-step instructions

    In order to upload all files and subdirectories in a local directory via the AWS Management Console, you must use the latest version of the Chrome web browser. If you cannot use Chrome, please follow the instructions for using either the AWS CLI or the provided CloudFormation template.

    1. Download an archive of this repository using this link.

    2. Unzip the archive you downloaded on your local machine.

    3. Open the AWS Management Console in Chrome. Choose Services then select S3 under Storage.

    4. Select the bucket you created in the previous step and ensure you are viewing the Overview tab.

    5. Open either Windows File Explorer or macOS Finder and browse to the expanded contents of the zip file you downloaded in the first step.

    6. Browse to the WebApplication/1_StaticWebHosting/website directory on your local machine.

    7. Select all of the files and subdirectories under the website directory. Ensure that the website directory itself is not selected.

    8. Drag and drop the selected files from your local filesystem to the content under the Overview tab in the S3 console.

    9. Choose Upload in the lower left of the dialog box that appears.

    10. Wait for the upload to complete, and ensure you see the contents of the website directory listed in the S3 console. If you only see a single website directory, you should delete it from your bucket and follow these instructions again ensuring that you select only the contents of the directory before dragging and dropping into the S3 console.

    CLI step-by-step instructions

    If you already have the CLI installed and configured, you can use it to copy the necessary web assets from s3://wildrydes-us-east-1/WebApplication/1_StaticWebHosting/website to your bucket.

    1. Execute the following command making sure to replace YOUR_BUCKET_NAME with the name you used in the previous section and YOUR_BUCKET_REGION with the region code (e.g. us-east-2) where you created your bucket.

      aws s3 sync s3://wildrydes-us-east-1/WebApplication/1_StaticWebHosting/website s3://YOUR_BUCKET_NAME --region YOUR_BUCKET_REGION
    2. If the command was successful, you should see a list of objects that were copied to your bucket.


    CloudFormation step-by-step instructions

    If you are unable to use either of the previous methods, you can launch the provided CloudFormation template in order to copy the necessary assets into your S3 bucket. Launch a CloudFormation template by selecting a region and clicking Launch stack link in the CloudFormation Template section of this module. 

  • Step 4. Add a Bucket Policy to Allow Public Reads

    You can define who can access the content in your S3 buckets using a bucket policy. Bucket policies are JSON documents that specify what principals are allowed to execute various actions against the objects in your bucket.

    In this step, you will add a bucket policy to your new Amazon S3 bucket to let anonymous users view your site. By default your bucket will only be accessible by authenticated users with access to your AWS account.

    See this example of a policy that will grant read only access to anonymous users. This example policy allows anyone on the Internet to view your content. The easiest way to update a bucket policy is to use the console. Select the bucket, choose the permission tab and then select Bucket Policy.

    1. In the S3 console, select the name of the bucket you created in section 1.
    2. Choose the Permissions tab, then choose Bucket Policy.
      1. In the S3 console, select the name of the bucket you created in section 1.
      2. Choose the Permissions tab, then make sure Public access settings is selected.
      3. Click on Edit and uncheck:
        • "Block new public bucket policies"
        • "Block public and cross-account access if bucket has public policies"
      4. Click Save.
      5. In the confirmation modal that appears, type 'confirm' and then click Confirm
      6. While still in the Permissions tab, choose Bucket Policy.  
    3. Enter the following policy document into the bucket policy editor replacing [YOUR_BUCKET_NAME] with the name of the bucket you created in section 1:
        "Version": "2012-10-17",
        "Statement": [
                "Effect": "Allow", 
                "Principal": "*", 
                "Action": "s3:GetObject", 
                "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::[YOUR_BUCKET_NAME]/*" 
    1. Choose Save to apply the new policy.
  • Step 5. Enable Website Hosting

    By default objects in an S3 bucket are available via URLs with the structure In order to serve assets from the root URL (e.g. /index.html), you'll need to enable website hosting on the bucket. This will make your objects available at the AWS Region-specific website endpoint of the bucket:

    You can also use a custom domain for your website. For example is hosted on S3. Setting up a custom domain is not covered in this workshop, but you can find detailed instructions in our documentation.

    In this step, you will use the console to enable static website hosting. You can do this on the Properties tab after you've selected the bucket. Set index.html as the index document, and leave the error document blank. See the documentation on configuring a bucket for static website hosting for more details.

    1. From the bucket detail page in the S3 console, choose the Properties tab.
    2. Choose the Static website hosting card.
    3. Select Use this bucket to host a website and enter index.html for the Index document. Leave the other fields blank.
    4. Note the Endpoint URL at the top of the dialog before choosing Save. You will use this URL throughout the rest of the workshop to view your web application. From here on this URL will be referred to as your website's base URL.
    5. Click Save to save your changes.
  • Step 6. Validate your Implementation

    After completing these implementation steps you should be able to access your static website by visiting the the website endpoint URL for your S3 bucket.

    Visit your website's base URL (this is the URL you noted in the prior section) in the browser of your choice. You should see the Wild Rydes home page displayed. If you need to lookup the base URL, visit the S3 console, select your bucket and then click the Static Web Hosting on the Properties tab.

    If the page renders correctly (see below for an example screenshot), you can move on to the next module User Management.