How to Make Files Publicly Accessible on Amazon S3

How to Make Files Publicly Accessible on Amazon S3

The Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) allows webmasters to store and deliver files cheaply and quickly. S3 is perfect for hosting large images, documents, audio files (MP3s) and video files. An excellent real-life example of how S3 can be used is with podcasting. Most podcast files are quite large and hosting them can be expensive, especially if the podcast is popular. However, S3’s architecture and pricing makes it affordable for almost any podcaster.

In the past, S3 has been a little complicated for webmasters to use. However, companies like Panic, Inc. have made the service much easier to access. Panic’s S3-friendly software is called Transmit. Transmit is an advanced FTP/SFTP client for Mac OS X that now supports Amazon S3. Below is a tutorial on how to use Transmit for hosting your files on S3. The tutorial also shows you how to make your files publicly available (which is not the default settings when you copy files to S3).

Amazon S3 & Transmit Tutorial

Get Transmit

The first step is to get Transmit. You can download it at

Get the S3 Access Key ID & Secret Access Key

The next step is to create your S3 account and then obtain your Access Key ID and your Secret Access Key. To create your S3 account and/or obtain your Key ID and Key, go to After you login with your account, click on the AWS Access Identifiers link to retrieves your Key ID and Key.

Create an S3 Favorite

The third step is to create a new Favorite in Transmit. First, choose the Amazon S3 protocol. Then provide a unique Nickname. Next, enter the Access Key ID into the User Name input field and the Secret Access Key into the Password input field. Finally, click the Save button.

Transmit S3 Favorite Window

Login & Create a Unique Bucket

Double-click the new S3 favorite. Once you’re connected, select File > New Bucket from the Transmit menu. Give your bucket a unique name. Since all buckets are hosted on the same server address, you will have to truly give your bucket a unique name. I suggest doing something like “[lastname_images].”

Create New S3 Bucket in Transmit

Upload the File

Double-click the new bucket. Find a file you would like to upload and upload it to your bucket.

Change the Permissions

By default, all files that are added to your bucket are not publicly accessible. In order to make your files accessible to anyone on the Internet, you must click on the file and then select File > Get Info from the Transmit menu. Click on the Read drop down menu (part of the Permissions options) and select World. Click on the Apply button to save the settings.

Change Permissions

Get the Public URL

The last step is to get the public URL. Simply right click (or ctrl + left click) the file and then click on Copy Path. Paste the URL in a browser or text document to view the publicly accessible link.

Get Public URL

You might be interested to know that the images in this entry are all hosted on Amazon S3.

Jon Henshaw
Co-Founder and President

Jon is the Co-founder and President of Raven Internet Marketing Tools.

Jon is the Co-founder and President of Raven Internet Marketing Tools.

  • Peter Payne

    Just a big THANK YOU. I was scratching my head for along time before you shed light on this. Salutations from Japan!

  • Raina Gustafson

    Fabulous! Thanks so much for this. I don’t have an interest in making anything I have on S3 publicly available at this time, but while following Christina Warren’s (mt) gridserver backup to S3 tutorial (, I got stuck because I couldn’t figure out how to make a bucket. This article made it dead easy!

  • s3fm

    Hey, great post.

    Also try S3fm, a free online file manager for Amazon S3. It works form anywhere with any browser and OS combination, no installation required. Nice slick interface, secure and convenient.

  • Justin Jones

    I love it. Thanks!

    Is there any way to set default permissions? I.e. I am uploading a few hundred files and don’t want to have to always change permissions. I know that you can change the permissions for more than one file at a time, but it would be nice not to have to change permissions at all…