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Amazon CloudFront

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Amazon S3

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Amazon CloudFront vs Amazon S3: What are the differences?


In this markdown, we will discuss the key differences between Amazon CloudFront and Amazon S3.

  1. Data Storage and Content Delivery: Amazon S3 is a cloud-based object storage service that allows users to store and retrieve large amounts of data from anywhere on the web. On the other hand, Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) that delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to end-users with low latency and high transfer speeds.

  2. Data Scope: Amazon S3 is primarily used for storage and retrieval of data objects. It offers simple storage and standard retrieval as its default storage class. On the contrary, Amazon CloudFront focuses on content delivery, caching, and accelerating the distribution of content worldwide.

  3. Edge Locations: Amazon CloudFront leverages a global network of edge locations spread across different geographical regions. These edge locations act as caching endpoints, reducing latency and improving content delivery. Conversely, Amazon S3 does not have edge locations as it is mainly used for object storage and retrieval from specific data centers.

  4. Cache Behavior: Amazon CloudFront automatically caches content at edge locations, which means subsequent requests for the same content can be served directly from the edge location without having to fetch it from the origin server. In contrast, Amazon S3 does not have built-in caching capabilities. When using Amazon S3, content needs to be retrieved from the origin server each time, without the automatic caching provided by CloudFront.

  5. Content Distribution Network: Amazon CloudFront acts as a global content distribution network (CDN), enabling faster and more efficient delivery of content to end-users across the globe. This is achieved by caching content at edge locations, reducing the round trip time for data requests. Amazon S3, on the other hand, does not offer the same level of content distribution and acceleration as it lacks the caching infrastructure of CloudFront.

  6. Pricing Model: The pricing model for Amazon S3 is primarily based on the amount of data stored and the number of requests made to access that data. In contrast, Amazon CloudFront pricing is based on data transfer out and the number of requests made to access content via the CDN. Therefore, CloudFront usage can incur additional charges for content delivery and caching services compared to S3.

In summary, Amazon S3 is a cloud-based object storage service primarily used for storing and retrieving data objects, while Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network that focuses on caching and accelerating the global distribution of content, providing faster and more efficient content delivery to end-users.

Decisions about Amazon CloudFront and Amazon S3
Gabriel Pa

We offer our customer HIPAA compliant storage. After analyzing the market, we decided to go with Google Storage. The Nodejs API is ok, still not ES6 and can be very confusing to use. For each new customer, we created a different bucket so they can have individual data and not have to worry about data loss. After 1000+ customers we started seeing many problems with the creation of new buckets, with saving or retrieving a new file. Many false positive: the Promise returned ok, but in reality, it failed.

That's why we switched to S3 that just works.

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Oleksandr Fedotov
Senior Software Engineer at joyn · | 2 upvotes · 7.8K views

At Joyn we use AWS infrastructures extensively, so we need a wide range of different tools starting from file storage until the health monitoring of our running services. For Smart TV stack we use S3 to mostly store static files (like scripts, styles and html), CloudFront to keep good response times using the cache, Lambda to recognize the TV platform and serve appropriate bundle (except Samsung Tizen platform where application is packaged), CloudWatch to receive alerts in case we have any issues inside of our lambda function.

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Pros of Amazon CloudFront
Pros of Amazon S3
  • 245
  • 166
  • 157
    Compatible with other aws services
  • 125
  • 108
  • 41
  • 36
  • 27
  • 19
    One stop solution
  • 9
  • 1
    Object store
  • 1
    HTTP/2 Support
  • 590
  • 492
  • 456
  • 329
    Simple & easy
  • 83
    Many sdks
  • 30
  • 13
    Easy Setup
  • 11
  • 11
    1000+ POPs
  • 6
  • 4
    Plug and play
  • 4
  • 3
    Web UI for uploading files
  • 2
    Faster on response
  • 2
  • 2
    GDPR ready
  • 1
    Easy to use
  • 1
  • 1
    Easy integration with CloudFront

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Cons of Amazon CloudFront
Cons of Amazon S3
  • 3
    UI could use some work
  • 1
    Invalidations take so long
  • 7
    Permissions take some time to get right
  • 6
    Requires a credit card
  • 6
    Takes time/work to organize buckets & folders properly
  • 3
    Complex to set up

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What is Amazon CloudFront?

Amazon CloudFront can be used to deliver your entire website, including dynamic, static, streaming, and interactive content using a global network of edge locations. Requests for your content are automatically routed to the nearest edge location, so content is delivered with the best possible performance.

What is Amazon S3?

Amazon Simple Storage Service provides a fully redundant data storage infrastructure for storing and retrieving any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web

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What companies use Amazon CloudFront?
What companies use Amazon S3?
See which teams inside your own company are using Amazon CloudFront or Amazon S3.
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What tools integrate with Amazon S3?

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What are some alternatives to Amazon CloudFront and Amazon S3?
If you've ever shopped online, downloaded music, watched a web video or connected to work remotely, you've probably used Akamai's cloud platform. Akamai helps businesses connect the hyperconnected, empowering them to transform and reinvent their business online. We remove the complexities of technology, so you can focus on driving your business faster forward.
Cloudflare speeds up and protects millions of websites, APIs, SaaS services, and other properties connected to the Internet.
Google Cloud Storage
Google Cloud Storage allows world-wide storing and retrieval of any amount of data and at any time. It provides a simple programming interface which enables developers to take advantage of Google's own reliable and fast networking infrastructure to perform data operations in a secure and cost effective manner. If expansion needs arise, developers can benefit from the scalability provided by Google's infrastructure.
Fastly's real-time content delivery network gives you total control over your content, unprecedented access to performance analytics, and the ability to instantly update content in 150 milliseconds.
The MaxCDN Content Delivery Network efficiently delivers your site’s static file through hundreds of servers instead of slogging through a single host. This "smart route" technology distributes your content to your visitors via the city closest to them.
See all alternatives