HELP: Advantages and disadvantages for using Amazon S3 verses Amazon CloudFront please

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I have videos for a paid-for membership site where members can view online and also download them. They are currently hosted by Amazon S3 but I'm considering using Amazons CloudFront instead. I Googled "advantages and disadvantages to using Amazon S3 CloudFront" but don't really understand some of what they are describing.

By the way, I'm also using EasyVideoPlayer 2.0.

1) Is quick loading videos for faster viewing the main reason for using Amazon CloudFront over Amazon S3?

2) Since my videos are to be viewed by paid members only, will my videos using Amazons CloudFront be secure or can the links be passed around and viewed by anyone?

3) Do you know of any disadvantages to using CloudFront over S3?

4) Can you recommend any non-nerdy super simple instructions for setting up Amazons CloudFront with EVP 2.0?

4) I used Screenflow to create my desktop videos and also used it as my video editor (Screenflow is like Camtasia). I'm wondering if this information here about enabling your Screenflow created videos to load faster for viewing would make it so I don't even need to use CloudFront and can continue to use S3?

Thanks again.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #advantages #amazon #cloudfront #disadvantages #verses
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    The main reason for using the Amazon Cloudfront network is speed and performance. The Cloudfront Network uses a global network of edge locations. These locations are currently:

    United States
    Ashburn, VA
    Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
    Jacksonville, FL
    Los Angeles, CA
    Miami, FL
    New York, NY
    Newark, NJ
    Palo Alto, CA
    Seattle, WA
    St. Louis, MO


    Hong Kong

    When a user downloads or streams a file from your site, the request is routed to the edge location closest to them. This ensures the content is delivered to the end user with the best possible speed and performance.

    You will need to secure your links if you are planning on using Amazon S3 or the Cloudfront network for your member content. There are a few ways to do this and it really depends on the type of membership site you are running. You can use the S3FlowShield Wordpress plugin if you are running a Wordpress members area. For static pages there is very simple php code you can use to protect all your file and download links. That code and instructions can be found in this webinar: Amazon S3 Security - S3 Webinar Recording

    The one slight disadvantage of Cloudfront, but I wouldn't really call it a disadvantage as such, is that any changes you make to your current files on the Cloudfront network do take some time to show up and propogate across the whole network. What this means is, if you are linking to a video on the Cloudfront network and you decide to make some changes to that video and upload the new file, the old file will keep showing for anywhere from 12-24hrs as the new file propogates across the system. This can be very confusing for new users. The simple way around this is to give your new file a new name, then it is accessible instantly. The lag time occurs only when uploading a new file using the same name as a file already on the Cloudfront network.

    If you can setup Amazon S3 then you can setup Amazon Cloudfront. It is very simple. There are a lot of tutorials available online but this one that came up in Google seems to be as good as any:

    How to Setup Amazon S3 with CloudFront

    Once you have setup your bucket you will then just upload all your EVP files and video files as you normally would to any other server. I highly recommend you download the free program called CloudBerry S3 Explorer. This program makes managing all your S3 files a piece of cake. It works much the same way as a regular FTP program.
    • Profile picture of the author magentawave
      That was awesome of you to take the time to post all the great information.

      I'm using Digital Access Pass (DAP) for the membership plugin and Easy Video Player 2.0.

      1) Do you have any experience with DAP and/or EasyVideoPlayer 2 when using Amazon CloudFront?

      2) If I start using Amazons CloudFront, is there any reason to keep my existing Amazon S3 account?

      3) Are the fee's for CloudFront similar to S3?

      4) Does using CloudFront make it any easier for my members to download my videos over using S3? Or is CloudFronts main advantage for those that watch the videos online?

      Thanks again!

  • Profile picture of the author raboo
    If you had bought S3Media Stream for wordPress from, they would have helped you setting up your account for CloudFront and so on. Their support is phenomenal and the player is very powerful. They have a Joomla version as well.

    Anyway, that is too late now ;-)
    Here is a whole range of articles and tutorials on S3 Amazon:
    The articles are listed with the latest one first, so you best scroll down to start with the introduction.
    I hope this is useful to you.

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