Amazon S3 is one among top choices for storage need. Currently, you can grab free one year Amazon Simple Storage Solution, as I have mentioned about this nice offer few days ago.
Here in this article, I want to discuss the most simple ways to manage and control Amazon S3 by an apple – to – apple comparison three solution: Amazon S3 console, S3Fox and Cloud Explorer, as far as I knew.
1. Amazon S3 Web Interface
Of course, this is the first and foremost solution to reach your data on Amazon S3. After you have purchased an Amazon S3 account (or get free one year as I did), you can immediately go to https://console.aws.amazon.com/s3/, provide your account information to log in. This web based console is designed very clear and simple. In fact, on Console you can manage not only S3 but also many other Amazon services such as EC2, VPC, CloudWatch, CloudFront etc…. In my case, I am using S3 only so there is only S3 service tab available to manage. At here, you can easily purchase other Amazon services too.
On the left, you can manage your Buckets. In this case, the “Buckets” term is considered like a site or project name. Creating a bucket or delete it at here is very simple as you may encounter more than thousand times using Windows.
On the right of the frame, there are some basic task options such as Upload, Create new Folder. If you want to upload to a specific folder, access it first then upload any files you want. The Action tab is very important. At here, you can do all tasks on your data such as upload, create new folder, rename, delete, make public, view properties etc … In my opinion, this basic solution is good at first time but then, when you need a more powerful or more convenient solution, it is not a good choice.
2. Firefox S3Fox extension from RJonna
S3 Fox is one of the most easy way to master your Amazon S3 account. This is a quite popular and simple solution to manage your cloud drive. Despite S3Fox is only a browser extension, it works very efficiently like a regular FTP solution
To use S3Fox to maintain Amazon S3, you need to work with Firefox browser (the newest version is Firefox 4 Final version). Then, install S3Fox extension from RJonna like other extension. Restart Firefox to activate S3Fox extension.
Currently, I am using this extension to manage my S3 account. Everything is hassle-free and if you are familiar with FTP, I am sure you will have no drawback to use S3Fox.
To configure your Amazon S3 account on S3Fox, you need to login Amazon Web service to get Security Credentials including Access Key ID (as ID, username) and Secret Acess Key (as password).
On Firefox, access Tools ==> S3 Oragizer. Then, click on the Manage Accounts. You can choose your account name, no matter it is. Then give S3Fox your Access Key and Secret Acess Key. Click on Add to finish the configuration process.
From now onwards, you not need to use Amazon S3 console to manage your data any more. Instead of that, just turn on Firefox, surf Internet as usual and when you want to get access to Amazon S3 data, hit the Tools ==> S3 Oragizer.
S3Fox allows you to create new folder, upload new files or download them to your hard disk. Though it does not offer drag and drop function, you can easy upload or download by choose the files you want to transfer then click on the Back and Forward button in the middle of the S3Fox interface.
3. Amazon S3 CloudBerry Explorer (Freeware)
That freeware seems to be the most professional solution to manage your Amazon S3, CloudFront, Identity and even Authenticaion Management… Working as a real FTP client, you will have the same experience like managing a shared hosting account.
I try to download CloudBerry Explorer on its homepage and happy to know it is completely free of charge. Install it as easy as installing a regular Windows application. Make note that at the moment, Cloud Berry supports Windows only (I mean, S3Fox works on Firefox and therefor, no matter what OS you are using Linux, Mac OS X or Windows).
There are many advantages CloudBerry Explorer offers in comparison with two solution above. You can find a conclusion here with a comparison table provided by CloudBerry.
Of course, CloudBerry Explorer is very professional with many features but as a regular users, perhaps I will not use all of them. On the top of the main interface, there are up to 9 opinion tabs. However, you need to buy a license of Pro version to get more premium features.
Personally, I am very interested in CloudBerry Explorer ‘s capacity, specially it supports multiple S3 account and transfer data between them. Perhaps, there is only one disappointed thing is that the free version does not allow to manage CloudFront, one of the cheapest CDN running by Amazon.
It can be concluded that each solution has its own advantage but in my case, S3Fox is the first choice, despite it is not the best choice but CloudBerry Explorer. S3Fox can meet all of my need and that is why I choose it.
Of course, there are few other Amazon S3 tools but perhaps I will introduce them in the next article. Also, how to use Amazon S3 as a cheap and free CDN solution will be presented within it. So, stay turned friend!
PS: In case you have any question or problem related to Amazon S3, please do some comments below. Sharing is also welcome, mates!
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