Set up file and image uploads to S3

So, you want to use S3 to handle image uploads? Here’s the definitive guide:

S3 registration

Head over to https://aws.amazon.com/free/ and click on Create a Free Account

During the create account process, make sure you provide payment information, otherwise you won’t be able to use S3. There’s no registration fee, you will only be charged for what you use, if you exceed the AWS Free Usage Tier.

Bucket

Go to S3 and click on Create bucket, then fill out the Bucket name. Remember this name because we’ll need it for the next step.

Name of your bucket

Select a Region. You should enter the location (eg. “EU (Frankfurt)”) that is nearest to your users for better performance.

Scroll down a little until you get to the Permissions panel.

  • When you set up the permissions, make sure that you allow public ACLs, otherwise uploads will fail. Uncheck Block all public access and check the bottom two checkboxes. You’ll also have to acknowledge that your settings may make the bucket public in the warning at the top.

User creation

Creating a policy

Sign in to AWS Management Console and search for the “IAM” service to access the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) console which enables you to manage access to your AWS resources.

First, click Policies in the sidebar. Then, click on Create Policy and choose the JSON tab:

image

Use the following piece of code as a template for your policy document:

{
  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
    {
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
               "s3:List*",
               "s3:Get*",
               "s3:AbortMultipartUpload",
               "s3:DeleteObject",
               "s3:PutObject",
               "s3:PutObjectAcl",
               "s3:PutObjectVersionAcl",
               "s3:PutLifecycleConfiguration",
               "s3:CreateBucket",
               "s3:PutBucketCORS"
      ],
      "Resource": [
        "arn:aws:s3:::=BUCKET=",
        "arn:aws:s3:::=BUCKET=/*"
      ]
    },
    {
       "Effect": "Allow",
       "Action": [
           "s3:ListAllMyBuckets",
           "s3:ListBucket"
       ],
       "Resource": "*"
    }
  ]
}

:warning: Make sure that these two lines contain the actual name of your bucket. :blush:

image

:star2: If you also intend to do S3 backups, you can include your backup bucket here too like this:

image

Then click on Review Policy and fill out the Name field. For example, you can call it s3-discourse-policy

Then click on Create Policy at the bottom.

Creating a user account

Now that you’ve created the right policy, you’re ready to create the user account. Click on the Users link on the left side of the IAM console and then the Add user button.

Type in a descriptive user name and make sure the “Programmatic access” checkbox is checked.

Setting permissions

The next step in the process is to configure the user’s permissions. Click on the button that says Next: Permissions and then click on «Attach existing policies directly»:
image

Now search for the policy name you created in the previous step (in our case it’s s3-discourse-policy). When you find it, select the checkbox and click on Next: Tags, then Next: Review, then finally Create user.

Here’s the critical step: Make sure you either download the credentials (Download .csv) or you copy and paste somewhere safe both Access key ID and Secret access key values. We will need them in the next step.

Discourse configuration

Now that you’ve properly set up S3, the final step is to configure your Discourse forum. These instructions should work, but the preferred method is to use environment variables and a CDN as described in Configure an S3 compatible object storage provider for uploads.

Make sure you’re logged in with an administrator account and go the Settings section in the admin panel.

Type in “S3” in the textbox on the right to display only the relevant settings:

You will need to:

  • Check the “enable s3 uploads” checkbox to activate the feature
  • Paste in both “Access Key Id” and “Secret Access Key” in their respective text fields
  • Enter =BUCKET= in the “s3 upload bucket” field

You need to append a prefix to the bucket name if you want to use the same bucket for uploads and backups.

Examples of valid bucket settings
  1. Different buckets

    • s3_upload_bucket: =BUCKET=
    • s3_backup_bucket: =BACKUPS=
  2. Different prefixes

    • s3_upload_bucket: =BUCKET=/uploads
    • s3_backup_bucket: =BUCKET=/backups
  3. Prefix for backups

    • s3_upload_bucket: =BUCKET=
    • s3_backup_bucket: =BUCKET=/backups

The “s3_region” setting is optional and defaults to “US East (N. Virginia)”. You should enter the location (eg. “EU (Frankfurt)”) that is nearest to your users for better performance. If you created the bucket manually, you’ll need to select the region you selected during the creation process.

Enjoy

That’s it. From now on, all your images will be uploaded to and served from S3.

Backups

Do you want store backups of your Discourse forum on S3 as well? Take a look at Configure automatic backups for Discourse.

Frequently Asked Questions

I reused the same bucket for uploads and backups and now backups aren’t working. What should I do?

Name of your bucket for backups

The easiest solution is to append a path to the s3_backup_bucket. Here’s an example of how your settings should look afterwards.

  • s3_upload_bucket: =BACKUPS=
  • s3_backup_bucket: =BACKUPS=/backups

You can use the S3 Console to move existing backups into the new folder.

Do I really need to use separate buckets for uploads and backups?

No, you don’t, but it’s usually the easiest way to set-up. Essentially you need to either use two different buckets or a prefix for the backup bucket. For example, the following combinations will work:

  1. Different buckets

    • s3_upload_bucket: =BUCKET=
    • s3_backup_bucket: =BACKUPS=
  2. Different prefixes

    • s3_upload_bucket: =BUCKET=/uploads
    • s3_backup_bucket: =BUCKET=/backups
  3. Prefix for backups (not recommended unless you previously reused the same bucket – see above question)

    • s3_upload_bucket: =BACKUPS=
    • s3_backup_bucket: =BACKUPS=/backups

I've enabled S3 uploads in my Discourse instance (which has been going for a while); what do I do with the existing local uploads?

To migrate your existing uploads to S3, you can do a couple of rake tasks. To perform this, you need SSH access, root permissions, and have entered the discourse app (as per Administrative Bulk Operations). Oh, and you have to set some environmental variables in app.yml. Not for the faint-hearted.

Once you have done all that you are ready for the rake tasks:

rake uploads:migrate_to_s3

Once that is done, posts that need to be rebaked will be marked accordingly and will be rebaked by a regular task. If you have resources and are in a hurry, you can issue this command (which is recommended by the above rake task):

rake posts:rebake_uncooked_posts

Once the posts are all rebaked (and the uploads are working well) you no longer need to include uploads in your backups. And as a bonus, you will be able to Restore a backup from the command line in the event of catastrophe (just keep a copy of app.yml somewhere).

One-way door

Unlike many configuration decisions in Discourse, note that using S3 is a “one-way door;” that is, a move that cannot easily be reversed. There is no safe or maintained way to move files out of S3 to be in the local uploads. In particular, the migrate_to_s3 moves more than just post images to S3; files for which there is no reverse path. (For more details, see Migrate_from_s3 problems).

Backing up your S3 assets

Using versioning, or syncing to a different region are all good strategies.

94 Likes
Configure automatic backups for Discourse
Configure automatic backups for Discourse
After setting up S3 - Access denied
S3 region vs. Discourse region
IAM and bucket policy for S3 access
Optimize images before uploading?
Images are disappearing off of s3!
Configure automatic backups for Discourse
Configure an S3 compatible object storage provider for uploads
Extend S3 configuration for other S3 API compatible services
Setting up SSL with my domain name and Discourse instance
Access Denied error message when trying to upload images
Setting up s3: what happens to previous uploads?
Downloading remote images disabled due to disk space
Upload img/content via image/content host
S3 Backup ... suspect access issue
Uploading Images stalls and does not translate to img src tag
Policy and permission issues with s3 buckets?
File Reference and Deletion, will it really be deleted?
Backups failing, and admin page inaccessible
Would it be worth resizing uploaded images (to save space)?
S3: Failed to optimize image: no images defined
Backups have started failing due to server time being wrong
Awareness for path dependencies when setting up a discourse forum
Hosting the pictures on external storage
Broken Images and Their S3 URLs
Image upload error: The bucket does not allow ACL's
Configure an S3 compatible object storage provider for uploads
Automatic backup not working
Problem with Backblaze for backup- Failed to list backups from S3: Signature validation failed
Configure automatic backups for Discourse
Incorrect S3 warning in admin menu
Can I increase the 1024000 kb limit on attachment?
How to develop discourse in a team?
Issues with changing File/Image upload location to S3 Server from local storage
MKJ's Opinionated Discourse Deployment Configuration
How might we better structure #howto?
How to run rake tasks?
S3 Bucket objects restricted access policy as per Discourses groups
Can't upload PDF to S3
Please explain how hosting photos within the forum works. Does that get crazy expensive?
Where to Upload a File
AWS S3 Object Ownership
Error in rebuilding using minio as object store
Configure an S3 compatible object storage provider for uploads
Configure automatic backups for Discourse
S3 bucket policy current example
The s3 cdn url setting makes no effect
[SOLVED] My forum stop working... could not do Rebuild App
S3 backups for multisite show up in root directory of bucket
Problems with Patreon Login, Force HTTPS, and S3 CDN (three) Issues
Cron task to sync local backups to DigitalOcean Spaces
Discourse 如何备份到 S3
Configure an S3 compatible object storage provider for uploads
Best Practices for Backups
Help restoring - system hung at midnight
Upload objects to private S3 is not working
Placeholder Forms
Image uploads path in posts will not change after rebake and remap
Upload objects to private S3 is not working
Configure an S3 compatible object storage provider for uploads
Digital file repository in forum
S3 migrating certs- how does this affect Discourse sites?
Backups failing, and admin page inaccessible
More descriptive warning when recategorising a topic into a category with moderator approval
Configure an S3 compatible object storage provider for uploads
Policy and permission issues with s3 buckets?
The bucket does not allow ACLs
S3 Backup ... suspect access issue
Policy and permission issues with s3 buckets?
Policy and permission issues with s3 buckets?
Install Discourse on Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Using s3: "backup with uploads" settings
After setting up S3 - Access denied
Broken Images and Their S3 URLs
Can't restore backup with images on S3
Automatic backup not working

A post was split to a new topic: Can’t restore backup with images on S3

Seem to be getting this error with following above:

Failed to load resource: the server responded with a status of 404 ()

On the console log

1 Like

Did you use environment variables as described in Configure an S3 compatible object storage provider for uploads? If so, Did you include the rake task to push the assets to s3?

1 Like

No, I did not :sweat_smile:

Will try that, in all fairness it did say it might work without it :joy:

1 Like

It will work for some, I think, but it falls back to serving them locally if they aren’t pushed to S3.

1 Like

Can any one describe this issue in layman terms please :slight_smile:

rake aborted!
Aws::S3::Errors::PermanentRedirect: The bucket you are attempting to access must be addressed using the specified endpoint. Please send all future requests to this endpoint.
1 Like

FYI, this is a broken link.

3 Likes

Fixed! Thanks for letting us know.

1 Like