Check out our latest pet project, our Solar Installers Directory.   Solar Installers Directory is a mobile friendly website hosted on an Amazon S3 bucket.   It has full https security, Cloudfront distributed content, and virtually zero server overhead.    The locations map is provided by our Store Locator Plus® SaaS service.

About S3 Hosting

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides high-availability cloud storage via their S3 service.   Typically this is used to host off-site content such as backups or data that is not needed on a regular basis.    Some people use it to see AWS Cloudfront, a content distribution network, to speed up their sites for images or other content.   A lesser-known trick is using the S3 bucket to host a website.

While there are some limitations to what you can do, the site is static HTML + JavaScript + CSS, those last two components make “static” websites a far more viable option.    Modern user experiences can be built for any business that does not need a full database-driven site.    This is an exceptionally good fit for a “calling card” web presence.

Securing S3 Hosting

Adding Route 53 domain routing services and the free AWS Certificate Manager we are also able to host a fully secured site.     The Certificate Manager supplies a validated SSL certificate for any domain (zone) hosted on Amazon.    Route 53 helps direct requests for domains to the proper resource, in this case a Cloudfront copy of the S3 bucket which also managed the secured content.     As an added bonus, we can tell Cloudfront to redirect any HTTP traffic to HTTPS.

Building The Site

To build the site, this project uses Mobirise.    Mobirise is a free downloadable site builder that is mobile-centric.    For this site we opted for the “all in” $149 purchase so we could access the more advanced themes.  Themes and plugins extend the functionality of the sites with pre-built blocks you can use to build the page.   It also includes the Custom HTML object, which is necessary for deploying our Store Locator Plus® SaaS maps without manually editing the resulting HTML that Mobirise produces.    You can purchase that plugin separately but for the price we opted to not “nickle and dime” our testing process.

Want to do something similar?  Sign up for MySLP and ask us any questions you may have about static S3 hosting.