Automated setup of a static site on S3 using Terraform

Many people, businesses don’t need a dynamic website. they just need a placeholder on the web that gives information to customers about their business, contact info, address etc. A static website is a pretty easy way to achieve this. AWS S3 allows you to host static content and serve it up as webpages. You can set it up manually by following instructions here.

This post provides scripts for automating it via Terraform.

NOTE: One thing to remember is that aws does not support https for static websites. If that is important to you (and it should be!) use other providers such as Netlify for your static needs.

(A reader pointed out that this is not entirely correct. Actually you can have https by fronting your static site via cloudfront / route53. For the curious, here is an aws knowledge base article that can help you do it. Automating this into the terraform manifests listed on this post is left as an exercise for the reader.)

NOTE: You cannot request a certificate for Amazon-owned domain names such as those ending in,, or i.e. if you use a vanilla static domain name ending in * and not a CNAME with cloudfront, you will not be able to use https even with cloudfront.

We will be using a Makefile as a top level interface for everything. So all you have to do to bring up a static site should be:

make tf-init
make tf-apply
make push-content NAMESPACE={your-namespace}

In the above namespace is any username you wish and all your static assets will be hosted in a S3 bucket named {namespace}-demos3staticweb.

The crux of the terraform script is a section like:

resource "aws_s3_bucket" "static_website_bucket" {
  bucket = "${var.namespace}-demos3staticweb"
  acl = "public-read"
  tags {
    Name = "DemoAWSS3StaticWeb"
    Environment = "production"
  policy = <<EOF
      "Principal": "*",

  website {
    index_document = "index.html"

As you can see above, it sets the ACL of the bucket to be public-read which allows the world to be able to read its content. Remember that the content uploaded to that bucket will have to have its Content-Type set appropriately to html/css etc, else you will get interesting error messages.

After applying terraform, you should be able to see your site at http://{namespace} e.g. you can see the example I uploaded here.

Instructions and details are on github