Migrating Jekyll to Amazon S3 and CloudFront

As of this morning, this site is now being served using CloudFront backed by an S3 bucket. I’d looked into doing this a while back, but the TLS support wasn’t there (I believe they had support, but you needed to get a dedicated IP, which cost an arm and a leg). You can now get TLS support using SNI only for free.

The setup is mostly self explanatory, with some steps that are not so obvious from the Amazon documentation.

S3 setup

  1. Create S3 buckets for chrisdown.name, with and without the www prefix
  2. On non-www, set up a bucket policy that allows global read. I use something like this (replace chrisdown.name with your bucket name):

        "Statement": [
                "Sid": "AllowPublicRead",
                "Effect": "Allow",
                "Principal": {
                    "AWS": "*"
                "Action": "s3:GetObject",
                "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::chrisdown.name/*"
  3. Enable static website hosting
  4. Set up the www bucket to redirect to the literal non-www url for your site
  5. Set up Jekyll to deploy to S3, here’s the diff where I did that

CloudFront setup

  1. Upload your SSL certificate(s) to IAM. You can do this using the aws cli. According to the docs, since the cert will be used for CloudFront, it must adhere to the following:

    If you are uploading a server certificate specifically for use with Amazon CloudFront distributions, you must specify a path using the --path option. The path must begin with /cloudfront and must include a trailing slash (for example, /cloudfront/test/).

    As such, something like this should work:

    aws iam upload-server-certificate \
        --server-certificate-name chrisdown.name-2014-07 \
        --certificate-body file://chrisdown.name.crt \
        --private-key file://chrisdown.name.key \
        --certificate-chain file://chrisdown.name.chained.crt \
        --path /cloudfront/chrisdown.name-2014-07/
  2. Create a new CloudFront distribution that points to the static website hosting endpoint for non-www (not the bucket itself). Connect to the origin using HTTP only, set viewer protocol to redirect HTTP to HTTPS, add your domain name as an alternate CNAME, select your SSL certificate, and set that only clients supporting SNI can use HTTPS (otherwise you have to pay for a dedicated IP).
  3. Do the same for www (this is just used to keep using the same SSL cert)
  4. You can test it using openssl’s s_client:

    openssl s_client \
        -connect foo.cloudfront.net:443 \
        -servername chrisdown.name < /dev/null

Set up DNS

Since the entry for CloudFront is dynamic, you need to use Route 53. All you need to do is set up a hosted zone and set up your records, using aliases for CloudFront endpoints.