Cloud storage is useful for mobile and web apps because it provides an efficient and scalable way to store and retrieve data from anywhere in the world.
With cloud storage, mobile and web apps can easily scale their storage needs up or down depending on usage patterns. This means that developers don’t need to worry about running out of storage space or having to invest in expensive hardware to handle increased storage needs.
Files stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere in the world, as long as there is an internet connection. This makes it easy for mobile and web apps to store and retrieve data from different locations and devices.
Cloud services are typically offered as pay-as-you-go pricing model, which means that developers only pay for the storage and resources they actually use. This makes cloud storage an affordable option for mobile and web apps, especially those with limited budgets. also cloud providers typically have robust security measures in place to protect data from unauthorized access and ensure data privacy.
Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is a cloud-based storage service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It is not an open-source technology, meaning that the source code of the service is not available for modification or redistribution by users. Instead, it is a proprietary technology owned and operated by AWS.
S3 Compatible services
An S3 compatible service is a cloud-based storage service that is designed to be compatible with the Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) API. This means that it provides a similar interface and functionality as Amazon S3, allowing users to easily migrate data and applications between the two services.
Some examples of S3 compatible services include:
- Wasabi: A cloud storage service that provides an S3-compatible interface with no egress fees or API request fees.
- DigitalOcean Spaces: A cloud storage service from DigitalOcean that provides an S3-compatible API with a simple pricing model.
- Google Cloud Storage: A cloud storage service from Google Cloud Platform that provides an S3-compatible API along with additional features like object versioning and lifecycle management.
- IBM Cloud Object Storage: A cloud storage service from IBM that provides an S3-compatible API along with features like built-in encryption and multi-region support.
- Contabo: is a cheap alternative with unlimited free transfer to AWS S3 and other vendors. Billing is simple and month-to-month at all-inclusive rate and you can easily migrate from S3
Simple Storage Service gives you a URL for each file by assigning a unique URL to each object stored in the S3 bucket. The URL includes the bucket name, the key (or path) to the object, and the S3 endpoint, which is used to access the object.
For example, if you have an S3 bucket named “my-bucket” and a file named “my-file.jpg” stored in the bucket, the URL to access the file would be:
As you can see the URL includes the domain name of your cloud provider but even when there is nothing technically wrong with it, can bring some disadvantages.
Some common problems on how URLs are created in S3 storage
Here are some of the of disadvantages of not using a custom domain with Amazon S3 storage can cause several problems, including:
- URL appearance: When you access an S3 bucket using the default endpoint, the URL contains the bucket name and the Amazon S3 endpoint. The resulting URL can be long and difficult to remember, which can cause issues with branding and user experience.
- SEO: Using the default S3 endpoint can also negatively impact your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, as search engines may view the URL as less trustworthy or relevant.
- SSL certificate: If you access an S3 bucket using the default endpoint, the SSL certificate presented to the user will be issued for the Amazon S3 endpoint, rather than your custom domain name. This can cause warnings to appear in the user’s browser, which can negatively impact trust and user experience.
- CORS: If you are using cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) to allow access to your S3 bucket from other domains, the default S3 endpoint may not allow those requests due to security restrictions.
- Maintenance: If you are using the default S3 endpoint, any changes to the S3 bucket or endpoint URLs may require updates to all references to the S3 bucket, which can be time-consuming and error-prone.
Overall, using a custom domain with an S3 storage can provide several benefits, including improved branding, better user experience, and stronger SEO.
There are several ways to provide a solution for the custom domain problem, most of the solutions you will find on the internet are related to cloud providers like Cloud Flare but in this article I want to propose a different approach of showing how this can be fixed using apache web server as a proxy, my goal is not to provide a step by step guide on how to setup a proxy but to provide the conceptual framework to understand how the proxy works
What is Apache
The Apache HTTP Server, commonly referred to as Apache web server, is a free and open-source cross-platform web server software developed and maintained by the Apache Software Foundation. It is one of the most widely used web servers in the world, serving as the backbone for many popular websites and web applications.
Apache web server is designed to be highly configurable and extensible, with a modular architecture that allows users to add or remove functionality as needed. It supports a wide range of features, including dynamic content generation, SSL/TLS encryption, proxying and caching, and authentication and authorization.
Apache web server is also highly portable, running on a wide range of operating systems including Windows, Linux, macOS, and Unix. It can be configured using a variety of tools and languages, including configuration files, command-line utilities, and programming languages such as Perl, PHP, and Python.
Overall, Apache web server is a versatile and powerful web server that provides a stable and reliable platform for serving web content and applications.
What is an Apache proxy
An Apache proxy, also known as an Apache reverse proxy, is a module of the Apache HTTP Server that allows the server to act as an intermediary between clients and other servers.
With an Apache proxy, incoming requests from clients are forwarded to one or more backend servers, which handle the request and return a response. The Apache proxy then forwards the response back to the client.
This can be useful for a variety of reasons, including load balancing, caching, and security. For example, an Apache proxy can be used to distribute incoming traffic across multiple backend servers to improve performance and availability. It can also be used to cache responses from backend servers to reduce the load on those servers and improve response times.
In addition, an Apache proxy can be used to add an extra layer of security to incoming traffic, by acting as a firewall and only allowing traffic from trusted sources.
Setting up an Apache proxy involves configuring the Apache HTTP Server to act as a reverse proxy and directing traffic to one or more backend servers. This can be done using the Apache mod_proxy module, which provides the necessary functionality to act as a reverse proxy.
Apache proxy flow
+-------------------+ +-------------+ +----------+ | Apache Web Server | |Amazon S3 | | | | (Virtual Host) | | | | Client +----> | example.com +----> | bucket-name| | | | (HTTPS) | | | +----------+ +-------------------+ +-------------+
Apache proxy configuration
#this is the configuration of the virtual hosting SuexecUserGroup "#1010" "#1010" ServerName files.jocheojeda.com DocumentRoot /home/files/public_html ErrorLog /var/log/virtualmin/files.jocheojeda.com_error_log CustomLog /var/log/virtualmin/files.jocheojeda.com_access_log combined ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /home/files/cgi-bin/ ScriptAlias /awstats/ /home/files/cgi-bin/ DirectoryIndex index.php index.php4 index.php5 index.htm index.html <Directory /home/files/public_html> Options -Indexes +IncludesNOEXEC +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch +ExecCGI Require all granted AllowOverride All Options=ExecCGI,Includes,IncludesNOEXEC,Indexes,MultiViews,SymLinksIfOwnerMatch AddType application/x-httpd-php .php AddHandler fcgid-script .php AddHandler fcgid-script .php7.4 FCGIWrapper /home/files/fcgi-bin/php7.4.fcgi .php FCGIWrapper /home/files/fcgi-bin/php7.4.fcgi .php7.4 </Directory> <Directory /home/files/cgi-bin> Require all granted AllowOverride All Options=ExecCGI,Includes,IncludesNOEXEC,Indexes,MultiViews,SymLinksIfOwnerMatch </Directory> ProxyPass /.well-known ! RewriteEngine on RemoveHandler .php RemoveHandler .php7.4 FcgidMaxRequestLen 1073741824 <Files awstats.pl> AuthName "files.jocheojeda.com statistics" AuthType Basic AuthUserFile /home/files/.awstats-htpasswd require valid-user </Files> #these 2 likes are the one who forward the traffic from the custom domain files.jocheojeda.com to the contabo storage ProxyPass / https://usc1.contabostorage.com/ade25b1c43c1457b87f0716a629d0ff8:files.jocheojeda/ ProxyPassReverse / https://usc1.contabostorage.com/ade25b1c43c1457b87f0716a629d0ff8:files.jocheojeda/ SSLProxyEngine on
Where the magic happens
You only need 2 lines in the configuration when you already have an apache virtual hosting already running to proxy the request from the client to the S3 storage service
ProxyPass / https://usc1.contabostorage.com/ade25b1c43c1457b87f0716a629d0ff8:files.jocheojeda/ ProxyPassReverse / https://usc1.contabostorage.com/ade25b1c43c1457b87f0716a629d0ff8:files.jocheojeda/ SSLProxyEngine on
As you can see is really easy to fix the problem of custom domains for an S3 storage, specially if you already have an apache webserver with virtual hosting running