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S3 Pre-signed URLs vs CloudFront Signed URLs vs Origin Access Identity (OAI)

S3 Pre-signed URLsCloudFront Signed URLsOrigin Access Identity (OAI)
  • All S3 buckets and objects by default are private. Only the object owner has permission to access these objects. Pre-signed URLs use the owner’s security credentials to grant others time-limited permission to download or upload objects.

  • When creating a pre-signed URL, you (as the owner) need to provide the following:

    • Your security credentials

    • An S3 bucket name

    • An object key

    • Specify the HTTP method (GET to download the object or PUT to upload an object)

    • Expiration date and time of the URL.
  • You can control user access to your private content in two ways

    • Restrict access to files in CloudFront edge caches

    • Restrict access to files in your Amazon S3 bucket (unless you’ve configured it as a website endpoint)

  • You can configure CloudFront to require that users access your files using either signed URLs or signed cookies. You then develop your application either to create and distribute signed URLs to authenticated users or to send Set-Cookie headers that set signed cookies on the viewers for authenticated users.

  • When you create signed URLs or signed cookies to control access to your files, you can specify the following restrictions:

    • An expiration date and time for the URL

    • (Optional) The date and time the URL becomes valid

    • (Optional) The IP address or range of addresses of the computers that can be used to access your content

  • You can use signed URLs or signed cookies for any CloudFront distribution, regardless of whether the origin is an Amazon S3 bucket or an HTTP server.
  • You can configure an S3 bucket as the origin of a CloudFront distribution. OAI prevents users from viewing your S3 files by simply using the direct URL for the file. Instead, they would need to access it through a CloudFront URL.

  • To require that users access your content through CloudFront URLs, you perform the following tasks:

    • Create a special CloudFront user called an origin access identity.

    • Give the origin access identity permission to read the files in your bucket.

    • Remove permission for anyone else to use Amazon S3 URLs to read the files (through bucket policies or ACLs).

  • You cannot set OAI if your S3 bucket is configured as a website endpoint.

 

References:

https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonS3/latest/dev/PresignedUrlUploadObject.html
https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonS3/latest/dev/ShareObjectPreSignedURL.html
https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonCloudFront/latest/DeveloperGuide/PrivateContent.html
https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonCloudFront/latest/DeveloperGuide/private-content-restricting-access-to-s3.html

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