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Is it Practical to Host Images on S3?

Charles asks, “How difficult or practical is it to host your images on S3 and then call them to your website as needed in real time?”

As long as you’re not using the Media Library, you can do it. It will speed up your site although it’s better to use… not S3 but it’s better to use CloudFront for that instead. CloudFront is Amazon’s content delivery network and CloudFront is designed specifically as a content delivery system so you would upload your images to CloudFront and then use the CloudFront links instead.

Now as a practical matter, that’s what happens to everything on my site. Absolutely every image on my site is delivered to you from Amazon CloudFront. If we inspect the image here, you can see that the URL is and that is a CloudFront distribution. Now it’s not something I’m going to teach because there’s a lot to making a content delivery network system work properly. And I don’t manage this on my own. I have a system administrator that takes care of all this kind of stuff for me. And as a practical matter, the caching plugin that I use on the site is the one that makes the connection between my CloudFront distribution and my website. So we don’t actually upload images to CloudFront directly. We upload them into the WordPress system and then we let W3 Total Cache interact with the CloudFront distribution network and upload the files that way and manage the files. So it happens sort of invisibly.

So if you’re using a caching plugin that will integrate with a content delivery network or a CDN, then it is a practical easy thing to do. But you may need to hire somebody to set it up for you because that’s what I end up doing.

What’s in the AWS Console?

Jared asked me to explain what all those different things are in the console. I’m not going to… I can’t, actually. I don’t know what all those different things are. Most of that stuff is way more technical than I’m capable of dealing with and are for very specialized cloud computing uses. And I really don’t know how to use them or even to be able to explain to you what they do. I can tell you, as from my perspective, the only thing you’re ever going to use, without hiring somebody to help you do it, is Amazon S3. And the chances of you doing anything with CloudFront without actually hiring somebody to help you are pretty slim and everything else there as well.

Naming Conventions

Let’s see… Jared – it would be nice if I would, someday, talk at length about how I name folders. I want to be able to tell what the content is about and by looking at the folder name. So it seems to me to be sort of you know, reasonably… you know, this is our network drive. The main folder under our network drive is websites. Inside of that main folder, there are a variety of you know, big organizational aspects of the websites and the main part of our website, of our folder is byob website, right? And so then inside of byob website folder, I’ve got things like admin and article. And then the tutorial site and you know, all kinds of stuff like this, including videos. And when I get into videos, we have, for example, seminars. And when I get into seminars, we have all of the seminars that we teach. And then if you open up the seminars, you now get into the videos and… I mean, it’s just sort of… it needs to be rational, easily understandable by the people who use it. And that’s what I use for this. This is my network drive and all of the staff uses drive all the time so it needs to be rational to them. I apply that same logic to all file-naming, folder-naming, hard drive-naming, bucket-naming, whatever.

Compare Free Download to WP eStore Delivery Method

Let’s see… Linda, I’m going to unmute your microphone… Linda Warner. I’m not sure I really understood. Go ahead, Linda. I just unmuted your microphone.

Linda: Hey Rick. Thanks for this webinar. It’s really great.

You bet.

Linda: So I just want to get clarity on what you’ve shown us today. I haven’t seen your other videos on WP eStore. For like a classic opt-in free gift, is your recommendation to follow this protocol or to use a WP eStore? Because quite frankly, they will be able to see the URL if you don’t use WP eStore, right?

Yes. They will be able to see the URL and they can email the URL to their friends and… although, I’m not sure that really matters. If you know, if you’ve got a store where you’re selling a product and you already got WP eStore set up, you may as well use the same system all the time and let WP eStore deliver it. But if you’re not selling a product then this is exactly how I would do it because there’s no use… no reason to add sort of the additional overhead when you’re giving something away free, right?

Linda: Right. I guess in my particular instance, I would be doing it as a list building… so it’s not really free because I want their email address. And the intention would be then to offer a product once I had a certain number of people in my list. So Step 1 is kind of building a list and hence, the opt in gift.

So then you’d want to look at the new series that we just completed yesterday on WP eStore and the last week’s, the 4th week… our 4th lesson was about setting up the free products and delivering the free products digitally in the context of an opt in list.

Linda: Beautiful. And then the other part of my question was what you have shown us like from the very early part of the webinar, would we have to do this regardless whether or not this was a public or private offering? All of the things that you…

Yes. That is in terms of setting up the users and setting up the buckets and that kind of stuff. The only difference between the private and the public distribution is this permission that you set here. Everything else is exactly the same except for this grantee everyone open download. If you don’t have this grantee everyone open download then… and the only grantee is the original account holder or the main account holder then it’s all private. It’s this one thing here that makes this file publicly available. Without it, it’s automatically private.

Linda: Okay, beautiful. Thank you.

You’re welcome. Have a good day. Bye bye.

Linda: You too.

Grantee in Amazon S3

Okay let’s see… John, I’m going to unmute your microphone. John Greig… actually, the person we’re doing this with.

Hi John.

John: Oh hi Rick.

So you asked about this grantee.

John: Yeah, I actually got a couple of questions… several questions.


John: But yeah, I just wondered how… because I generated it from somewhere which seems like… it seems like the first part of my email address so I just wanted where that… it automatically fills that in. I suppose…

Yeah, it does take the first part of your email address. If you look at… if you come over and look at mine for a moment, if I can still look at mine. I can still look at mine, yeah. Okay and look at premium and… I need to log out of yours to log in to mine.

Well, anyway. Way back when, my Amazon AWS email was So it still has rickandersonaia as a primary grantor even though I changed my email address and I don’t use that anymore and that it doesn’t have anything to do with my login currently. It just took that first section of my email address and made that the primary grantee.

You can also take me, right? Me is the same thing as jam.grieg and that is the person who is the… well actually, me because I’m logged in as an administrator is the same thing as that. But if I was logged in as a power user, me would just mean me, personally.

John: So whoever’s logged in actually is me.

Yeah. However, in your context, the only thing that really matters here is that if you want something to be publicly available then you just choose everyone and let them open and download it. And you don’t have to set any other permissions because all of your other permissions are being managed by that, IM system. So there’s nothing else we’d do.

John: Okay, great. So…

Grantee means to whom permission is granted.

John: Right.

Versus grantor whose granting the permission.

John: But it says grantee for both of them. Isn’t that the same thing?

To whom permission is granted, right?

John: Okay.

This is saying that the primary user of this account is granted permission to open, download, view and edit permissions.

John: Got it, okay.

It’s saying that everyone else is granted the permission to open and download.

John: Right, okay. So I shouldn’t grant a permission to myself basically to do all those things.


John: Okay. I think that’s clear. The other question I had is how… the files are quite big and it may not always be… it may be easier, certainly, for the video file, that would be a big file for it to download. How can it be just play on the website?

Well, in order to just play on the website, you need a player.

John: Right, okay.

And that’s not inside the scope of this conversation. I mean, we can talk about… I’ve tons of videos on the site about how to play videos on your site and both of the series that I teach talk about how to do it from Amazon. That requires a player. That’s not… what we’re talking about here is essentially the public download.

John: Okay, will that be the same for… well, presumably, for the audio, that may… process have a player built in to them so that’s probably not much of a problem.

Well, you can turn on… I mean, you could go back and change these permissions, change that attachment rule so that essentially, you’d get rid of the content disposition rule so it just plays in the computer instead of giving them the chance to download it.

John: Right, okay. I was really thinking more of the size of the file it’s going to take as we saw here. I mean, it’s just… even at 600 kilobyte file was taking 2 minutes to download.

Well, you have to bear in mind that I have employees downloading multi-gigabyte files to the Philippines right now on a server. I am teaching live audio and video and I was uploading video to Amazon S3. All that stuff is happening on the same time on my internet connection. So that’s why it was slower.

John: Okay.

It wasn’t… it’s not necessarily because a typical user is going to have that download problem. You know, I just have so many things going on that my server is prioritizing and placing downloading that stuff at a pretty low priority.

John: Okay alright. I suppose I can always just put it on YouTube and give a link to it. That could be another way of doing it.

Well, if you want to play it on your site, you certainly put it on YouTube and just put the YouTube video on your site, yeah.

John: Okay.

This conversation is all about how to set up Amazon S3 so that you can have a place where people can download stuff.

John: Yeah, I got that. That’s fine. Yeah so that’s… the page that they go to, that should be a public page, not a private page, right? Do they get directed to from AWeber?

Yeah, if it was private, they wouldn’t be able to get into it.

John: Right, okay. So it has to be public. And what you’re saying is that it doesn’t really matter that this is… that the URL is available to people because it’s not that it’s… I mean, peple are not really going to be able to find that page unless they email it to people. So I am going to end up being able to collect email address, really, when people go through the AWeber process. That’s why you’re saying it doesn’t really matter when it’s done through WP eStore or just how you’re doing it now.

Yeah, the… somebody could copy that URL and email it to a thousand people. And all thousands of those people could download that stuff without ever signing up with you.

John: Right.

That’s what it means for this to be public.

John: Right, yeah.

So however, if you have it set up through WP eStore, the download link that they would have, if they emailed it to somebody, that download link wouldn’t work for anybody else.

John: Right, yeah.

Okay so that’s the difference.

John: But I mean that was the reason you were saying it doesn’t really matter so much.

Well, the reason I was saying it doesn’t matter is because it’s free. It’s not a question of whether or not you lose income because somebody’s distributing it without you capturing their email.

John: Yeah. But the reason I’m making it free is to capture their email so…

Well, so your only possible protection then is to use WP eStore or something like that provides an encrypted download link that expires and cannot be distributed.

John: Yeah okay so…

And still, once they’ve downloaded it, they can still email it to somebody else.

John: Exactly, yeah. So it’s… yeah, it’s…

I mean, the video and the audio are too big for somebody to email. Obviously not too big for somebody to put in a Dropbox and share but too big for somebody to email.

John: Sure, yeah. So it’s not such a big deal, for me anyway. Okay well, that’s great, Rick. Thank you.

You’re welcome.

John: That’s really helpful.

You bet. Have a good day.

John: Okay thank you so much.

Bye bye.

Is this Practical for Articles You Post With Images?

Okay, let’s see… so Charles says, “This wouldn’t be practical for most articles you post which contain images, for example.” No, absolutely not. This is… the purpose for this is to take the resource load off of your server so that it’s being delivered, not by your own server, but by another faster dedicated server for delivery. And so you know, you can tell that if you were delivering a 170 MB file to 3 or 4 people at the same time, it would bring your server to a slowdown, but not to Amazon. And so that’s why you use a content delivery system or S3 to deliver those large files like that.

Richard asks, “Is it a good thing to add the .com to your bucket name?” I don’t think so but you can if you want.

Viewing a Document Online vs Downloading It

Let’s see, okay… Tom McDee. Good morning, Tom. I just unmuted your microphone.

Tom: Hi.


Tom: Just wonder if… because I know like sometimes, I usually say download the file and people do expect it to download. Other times, I just want to view it online. Is there a way to give them the option to either view or download? Would you give them like create two separate files with different meta data on it? You know the same file with different names?

Yeah, that’s what I would do.

Tom: Okay.

Now, if you’re talking about video or audio though, you could just use your video or audio player. The meta data’s not going to matter. So you could have a video player with a link connected to the same file as the download link. If you click the download link, it’ll download. If you click the video player, it’s going to play.

Tom: Okay.

So for video and audio, that’s how I would handle that rather than having two different files because your video player doesn’t need to consider content disposition. It already knows what’s it supposed to do. The content disposition thing is for browsers.

Tom: Alright, good.

And actually you know, the whole… I haven’t played with this yet but you know, 3.6 just came out with new HTML 5 video playing capacity. And it could very well be that in an HTML 5 site, that this video, if it was just placed there as a link, as an embed link, the video would start to play rather than download. But I haven’t experimented with that so I can’t say that for sure yet.

Tom: Alright. Thank you.

Okay, you’re welcome. Have a good day.

Tom: You too.

How do you Make Links Hidden?

Okay, let’s see. Peter asks, “How can I make the links hidden so that no one can pass a link?” Okay, the way you make the link hidden is to use… well, the easiest way actually is to use WP eStore to do that. There may be other tools out there that can be used but WP eStore is the best at expiring encrypted download links. And I’ve talked about that at length last week in the videos on how to… let’s see, where is that one? Give me just a second here. This isn’t what I’m looking for.

We just recorded the last session yesterday so it hasn’t actually made its way on to our menu, yet. But once that session 5 is posted, it’ll go on the menu. And Lesson 4 – Building Your List With Free Products, we have the integrating email marketing with the store and setting your AWeber list and then setting up the WP eStore download options and configure a free product and add a free product or rather, a free download and a call to action and all the rest of that stuff. So we’ve got quite a bit of stuff on how to do that if you want to protect a link.

Do you Need Something to Manage AWS Buckets Users and Permissions?

Richard Bradshaw says “Cloud Berry Explorer Pro’s a convenient way to manage AWS Buckets users and permissions.” I will say that the new management console though makes the whole Cloud Berry thing not nearly as necessary. It wasn’t very long ago that you had that Amazon AWS Services did not have a graphical user interface and there was very little that you could do and a very limited functionality. And so people had to purchase things like Cloud Berry or S3 Fox or other kinds of applications to interface between Amazon Web Services and your browser. But now, with the AWS Management Console, I don’t really think there’s much benefit to pursuing a 3rd party application anymore. But maybe there is. Maybe there’s something handy about that.

File Names for Anything Online

Craig says, “In your naming convention, on your hard drive, you don’t use dashes or put them together so you have to change your thought process when you use AWS.” Actually, it’s not just AWS. You change a thought process whenever you think about anything online. File names online shouldn’t have spaces in them, whether they’re images or files or folders or whatever they are. They shouldn’t have spaces in them and sometimes, things choke on capital letters and special characters. I recently saw something choke on… you know, this is a French language website and file names had the French diacritical marks in the… like the accent and the accent grave and stuff like that. And there was a plugin that wouldn’t work with those files because the special characters prevented it from reading the file name.

You know, in all things web, you should consider the file names that you’re using which you don’t ever have to worry about when you are not working on the web.

What Other Programs Can You Use Besides WP eStore?

Richard asks, “Is there a program other than WP eStore that will deliver content from AWS and now show the URL?” Well, sure. Shoppe… although, I don’t usually recommend Shoppe anymore. Shoppe had expiring encrypted links. WP eCommerce… I mean, I’m sorry… Woo Commerce has them. MarketPress does not. There is… there may be something else. Those are the ones that I’m familiar with and that I teach. Oh yeah, S3 FlowShield actually does the same thing. S3 FlowShield allows you to place encrypted links in your web page for file downloads. So there are other tools as well but probably the cheapest and most straight-forward is WP eStore.

WP eMember, WP eStore and S3 FlowShield

Ernst Simon says, “If you have WP eMember and WP eStore, do you also need S3 FlowShield for reasonable content protection?” You only need S3 FlowShield if you want to protect your video content. If you want to have your video content in a protected… you know, without permissions and then have a player that connects up with your Amazon S3 system. Now, if you don’t care about that then no, you don’t need it.

But if you do care about that, if you want to add an extra layer of difficulty in downloading your videos then you need a player that will also encrypt that connection. WP eStore actually… or Tips and Tricks HQ, they have a plugin that… they have a video player plugin that kind of does that although, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a fair bit more cumbersome to use than is S3 FlowShield. What they make you do, if you want to have it encrypted, then what you have to do is you have to create a product for every video and then pretend each video’s a product for its connection into the player. And I don’t… it doesn’t make any sense to me to do it that way so yes, depends on what level of protection you’re looking for.

Video Size and Compression Rate for Downloadable Videos

Okay, Linda asks, as in the site, what video size and compression rate do I recommend for downloadable videos? Our thing is to create HD videos so our size is 1280 by 720 and we have 5000 kbits per second, bitrate because we want to deliver high definition, high quality videos. That’s, I think, generally the standard for website video that is HD in quality. And that’s our primary setting. We don’t do anything else intermittent. If somebody is connecting to our stuff with a mobile device then they actually get to it through our Vimeo account which does change the data rate and does downsize the image for our… or downsize the video for various speeds and device sizes. But we don’t do that for download. We only do that for video devices.

How to Setup Video Play on Mobile Devices Not Using Flash?

So let’s see… Andrea says, “How can the videos be set up to play on mobile devices, in other words, not using a Flash player?” Well, that’s all a whole different subject. There are HTML 5 video players that will work on an HTML 5 site and they don’t use Flash. This WordPress 3.6 has a new video embed feature that will allow you on a HTML 5 site to embed videos directly using their embed code. And I do plan on teaching that here in the not very distant future. But I haven’t really done it myself so I don’t actually know exactly how that works.

The main problem with delivering mobile video is that you probably don’t want to deliver a full 1280 by 720 HD video to a small mobile device because that’s tons and tons and tons of data on a slower data connection. And in a format that they can’t take advantage of because their devices aren’t large enough. So what that means then is you want to have some kind of varying video delivery based on the device that is being used.

Now, services like Vimeo handle that for you. There are other services that will also encode many different versions of their video… of the video and will deliver those different versions of the video depending upon the bandwidth of the connection and the size of the device. There’s no way that I know of for you to do that yourself so you end up needing a contract with a service to provide that for you or use Vimeo to deliver your videos and that sort of thing.

Does WordPress 3.6 work on Thesis 2.0? Well, I’ve heard that there’s a little admin problem but I haven’t myself seen it. So if you’re still using WordPress… if you’re still using Thesis 2.0, you may as well just stick with Thesis… with WordPress 3.5 until you’re ready to upgrade to 2.1 which you probably will pretty soon.

Should You Reload Files in Lower Case?

Should you reload the files in lowercase? No. Actually, the files, the whole question of file-naming is different than folder naming. File naming is more lenient than folder naming is. So… and as we saw first-hand, folder naming still works, mostly, even though they’re incorrectly named. But I didn’t know.

You know, I don’t upload my own videos. I don’t use my own Amazon AWS account very much. I don’t do any of that stuff. That’s all stuff that staff do for me so I haven’t… as a practical matter, I almost never look in there and I certainly haven’t noticed that they’re using a bad file naming convention. But it’s still seems to be working so…

Easy Video Player Suite

Jared asks, “What about Easy Video Player Suite?” Well, we use EVP 1 and we use it quite a bit. We use EVP 1 for essentially displaying all of our public videos to our non-mobile users and we like it just fine. It’s perfectly acceptable and it does interact just fine with Amazon AWS. And so actually, I never really think about EVP in terms of using it behind the firewall or for secure delivery because we don’t use it in that context. But you could use EVP, both for you know, both for premium content or secure content and for insecure content. We just use it for insecure content because we use it primarily for you know, people to like it and stuff like that. It doesn’t make any sense to put that stuff on to a video is only available if you pay.

So… but we do like Easy Video Player. It’s a nice suite of management tools and it’s got a few nice little features so we like it just fine. But Easy Video Player Suite, that is EVP 2, we do not use. It has lots of bells and whistles that don’t interest us so we’ve never bothered buying it. It mostly attempts to replace tools that we already have, professional tools that we already have and we already use all the time like Camtasia and stuff like that. And I can’t imagine why I would want to change the tools I use and that I like just so that I would… and then buy this new tool too. So we’re not a… we don’t do that.

But let’s see, Andrea says she’s streams to her Kindle HD all the time but can’t watch BYOB videos on it because they’re in Flash. Actually, Andrea, you should always, on your Kindle, you should always be getting the mobile version. Every single video on our site has a mobile version that should be opening up in every mobile device. And I haven’t heard… you are the first person to tell me that a regular mobile device is not opening up my videos. So I have all kinds of mobile devices although I do not have a Kindle HD. I would be interested in you opening up one of the videos and telling me that it’s not playing because we are very deliberate about… I’m just going to show you what it looks like in our system.

We’ll edit this course and when we enter a video, we have a video for the public. Well, since this one is a protected video, we don’t have a public mobile version of it but then we have the private HD version of it. And we have the private video. We have the private mobile video and then we have the public video which is the Easy… EV Player. And then we don’t have a public mobile because it’s not a public video, really.

So we have 3 different versions of the video that play and when you’re logged in to the site and looking at this, you should be getting a Vimeo player video that entirely works in every mobile device. It does not require Flash. And if that’s not happening, I need to know. I don’t really know why.

Okay but this really isn’t about video hosting. And if everybody wants to talk about video hosting, I’d be glad to do a seminar on video hosting.

Is My Membership Stuff Controlled by WP eStore?

Linda asks, “Is my membership stuff controlled by WP eStore?” Well, yes and no. The financial transaction is managed by WP eStore. But the membership component of it, the membership aspect of it is managed by Wishlist Member. Now I strongly dislike Wishlist Member and I would not recommend anybody buy it or use it. And in our upgrade process to Thesis 2.1, we will be upgrading away from Wishlist Member. But the financial transaction part of it is all managed by WP eStore. And Wishlist Member and WP eStore communicate with each other so that’s how that works.

Okay well, and so the permissions controlled for access to the video are controlled by S3 FlowShield. That is, this video is playing right here because I’m logged in as a premium member. I’m logged in as administrator. This video plays using the S3 FlowShield Player. If I was here on a mobile device, I would be seeing a Vimeo Player. And if I was here logged out, I would be seeing the little Easy Video Player video version – promo version. And that, the choices to which of those is being displayed is custom programming on my part. The connection to Amazon AWS is handled either by EV Player or by S3 FlowShield depending upon which… whether it’s premium or not.

I think we will call that a day and thank you very much. Everybody have a lovely day. Bye bye.

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