Hosting images with Amazon S3

I switched almost all image hosting on to Amazon S3 this week. If you’re a regular visitor here, this should be completely transparent. The site gets enough traffic that hosting images on a separate server makes a difference in page load times, which is why I had a separate image server previously. I’m trying to eliminate extra headaches from my life, which is why I’m moving to S3 for hosting. Amazon gets the headache of keeping the servers up and running, I get the convenience of a high availability hosting solution that costs next to nothing. There server I used to host images on was approximately $300/month. Based on data for the first few days of hosting images on Amazon, it looks like the new cost will be less than $5.00/month. Certainly not the same scale of savings reported by SmugMug, but I don’t have their traffic either.
My two biggest criteria for making a move to a different hosting solution are reliability and not having to re-map URLs on any of my existing posts. Aside from an S3 outage earilier in 2008, I’m confident Amazon is at least as reliable as any hosting I’ve used in the past. Amazon makes the URL mapping easy, supporting CNAME forwarding at the DNS level. Most images are hosted at the subdomain. I simply created a bucket in S3 named and then updated DNS to point to as a CNAME record. So as DNS updated across the Web, it was as if nothing ever moved. I realize that’s how things are supposed to work with server moves, but nothing is ever typical for me.
The one thing I still need to find is the perfect desktop client for uploading stuff to S3. I’ve tried both the browser-based S3Fox plugin for Firefox and Bucket Explorer, but neither does the one thing I want – easily inherit permissions of the current folder. If anybody knows of a S3 desktop client for Windows that handles permission inheritance, let me know. Bonus if there’s a Android Market app that acts as an S3 client!

One comment

Comments are closed.