Hosting a static site on Amazon S3: ec2instances.info

Amazon added the ability to host static sites on S3 recently so to try it out I made a small site comparing the different types of EC2 instances: www.ec2instances.info. It’s not much of a site but it was the only thing in my ideas list that didn’t require some sort of database backend.

The setup was very simple:

  1. Buy the domain (name.com is so much nicer than GoDaddy by the way).
  2. Point domain’s nameservers at my slicehost account.
  3. Add a new DNS domain in slicehost and add a single CNAME record with a name of ‘www’ and data of ‘s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com.’
  4. Install the latest Cyberduck (Mac). Windows users can use one of the tools here.
  5. Create a new S3 bucket called ‘www.ec2instances.info’ and configure it for static site hosting.
  6. Upload all my files and change their permissions to make them readable by everyone.
  7. Done!

Updating the site is easy – just select the file in Cyberduck and click the ‘Edit’ icon in the toolbar (or hit ⌘K) and it will automatically upload the file whenever you save. If I needed a real deploy system it’d be pretty easy to whip up something with Fabric and Boto.

Overall it seems like a great way to host a static site on the cheap (~$1.50/year for this). The only real downside is that you can’t have your root domain hit the bucket because a CNAME must be used. This means that ec2instances.info does not resolve properly. More details here.

Note: I tried to use Amazon’s new Route 53 DNS service instead of my slicehost account but the configuration is still a bit more involved than I’d like. Hopefully they’ll add it to the AWS web console soon.


  • http://magnetik.info Ilshat Shavaliev

    It`s a little bit late, but in case you still don`t know, now we have a service for redirecting naked domains to www – wwwizer. Read their FAQ here: 
    http://wwwizer.com/naked-domain-redirect

  • http://powdahound.com Garret Heaton

    Been using that for a while now, thanks!

  • http://appstretto.com/ Nader

    Nice tool, thanks!