Usage of Amazon Cloudfront or S3

+4 votes

Are there use cases that lend themselves better to Amazon cloudfront over s3 or the other way around? Use cases or sample examples would make it easier to understand the concepts better.

Apr 3, 2018 in AWS by hemant
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+4 votes

When to use S3?

S3 is like many other hosting solutions. It stores your files at a central location for access. This is a great thrifty option as it is less expensive in bandwidth aspect and storage when compared to traditional shared or virtual private server (VPS) hosting accounts. It is highly reliable and faster when it comes to accessing to data.

 This is where Amazon S3 is ideal:

 when low cost of bandwidth and storage is more critical than access speed Some good examples would be:

  • Non-public-facing elements of your site (like storage and access to backups)
  • Large downloads (like podcasts, software, and games)

When to use Cloudfront?

If it is about speed of access, then better go for CloudFront. Whenever you upgrade an S3 bucket to CloudFront, your data is immediately pushed out to their edge locations around the world, means faster access to the data. But the speed makes it costlier

This is where Cloudfront best suited:

Best for smaller, static files when speed matters more than economy. Good examples would be:

  • Images, JavaScript, and CSS files.
  • Smaller files that need to load quickly, but they will use only a minimal amount of bandwidth, making them cost-effective to distribute over the content delivery network (CDN)
answered Apr 3, 2018 by brat_1
• 7,080 points
+3 votes

Both S3 and CloudFront allow domain aliases, however CloudFront allows multiple aliases so that d1.mystatics.comd2.mystatics.com and d3.mystatics.com could all point to the same location increasing the capacity for parallel downloads (this used to be recommended by Google but with the introduction of SPDY and HTTP/2 is of lesser importance).

answered Oct 16, 2018 by Peter
+3 votes

CloudFront and S3 Bucket is not the same. In layman's terms: CloudFront enables you to accelerate content delivery of your web contents via Content Delivery Network (CDN) in edge locations, whereas S3 Buckets are where you store your actual files. CloudFront sources may not necessarily be from S3 but for easier visualization of S3 integration with CloudFront

answered Oct 16, 2018 by Domain
+3 votes

Amazon CLOUDFRONT and S3 are two different services provided by Amazon Web Services.

Amazon S3 is a storage service in which we can store static files like:

css, images, javascripts,videos, etc...

Amazon CloudFront is a middle-ware which stands in between a user requesting for a file from AWS and the S3 data center in a specific region, CloudFront is used to speeds up distribution of your static and dynamic web content from S3 to the User.

You can understand it better by an example:-

For example, your S3 is located in AWS region US East (N. Virginia) which a data center location to store your files.

If a user from India tries to access a file from a AWS server in Virginia, then user would need to go to that specific location with a request, and this will take a lot of time.

What CloudFront does is that it stands as a middleware between user and AWS S3.


The most often used files can be cached on CloudFront and what it does is, it replicates those files on edge locations (To deliver content to end users with lower latency, Amazon CloudFront uses a global network of edge locations for content delivery).

If the content is already in the edge location with the lowest latency, CloudFront delivers it immediately. If the content is not currently in that edge location, CloudFront retrieves it from an Amazon S3 bucket and provides it to user as faster as it can.

Every request is given a new DNS from CloudFront to the S3, so this would result in lower traffic as well as more parallel request processing.

answered Oct 16, 2018 by Abhinav
+2 votes

Amazon S3 is designed for large-capacity, low-cost file storage in one specific geographical region.* The storage and bandwidth costs are quite low.

Amazon CloudFront is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) which proxies and caches web data at edge locations as close to users as possible.

When end users request an object using this domain name, they are automatically routed to the nearest edge location for high performance delivery of your content. (Amazon)

The data served by CloudFront may or may not come from S3. Since it is more optimized for delivery speed, the bandwidth costs a little more.

If your user base is localized, you won't see too much difference working with S3 or CloudFront (but you have to choose the right location for your S3 bucket: US, EU, APAC). If your user base is spread globally and speed is important, CloudFront may be a better option.

answered Oct 16, 2018 by Rachel Dany

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