Transfer files to amazon s3 using browser instead of server

By : Shiva Krishna

So basically when we try to upload a file to amazon s3, we will do it in a regular way of

  1. Getting the file from frontend
  2. Passing it to server
  3. Make a connection to amazon s3 using python code
  4. Upload file to amazon s3

But you should also know that, we have a way of uploading directly from browser to s3 instead of server

We are going to show that how to do it, and we are using django, boto, html, jquery, ajax to achieve this

Hope all the above requirements are already installed and your django site is up and running

Concept of uploading to s3

  1. In order to upload a file to amazon s3 we need to generate a signed url using amazon's python boto package.
  2. Next step is to make the uploaded file public in order for to access it.

Lets start designing it

Create a template called upload_s3.html in your tempalte directory

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="description" content="amazon">
    <form action="#" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">
        Select image to upload:
        <input type="file" name="fileToUpload" id="fileToUpload">
        <input class="amazon_upload" type="submit" value="Upload File" name="submit">
<script type="text/javascript" src="{% static 'js/amazon/amazon.js' %}"></script>
<script src=""></script>

Create django urls to generate the signed url and make them public


from django.conf.urls import url, include
from .views import GetS3SignedUrl, Makes3VideoPublic

urlpatterns = [
    url(r'^generate_signed_url/$', GetS3SignedUrl.as_view(), name='generate_signed_url'),
    url(r'^make_video_public/$', Makes3VideoPublic.as_view(), name='make_video_public'),

Create django views to generate the signed url and make them public

You need to copy your AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID, AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY, S3_BUCKET_NAME in to your file


from django.views import View
from django.conf import settings
from django.http import HttpResponse

import os
import boto
from boto.s3.connection import S3Connection

def get_s3_connection(use_host=False):
    key = getattr(settings, 'AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID', None)
    secret = getattr(settings, 'AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY', None)
    if not key or not secret:
        return None
    if use_host:
        return S3Connection(key, secret, host='')
    return S3Connection(key, secret)

class GetS3SignedUrl(View):
    Generate Signed url for s3

    def get(self, request, *args, **kwargs):
        os.environ['S3_USE_SIGV4'] = 'True'
        c = get_s3_connection(use_host=True)
        file_name = request.GET.get('file_name')
        username = request.GET.get('username')
        final_file_name = 'videos/{0}/{1}'.format(username, file_name)
        secondsPerDay = 24*60*60
        url = c.generate_url_sigv4(
            secondsPerDay, "PUT", bucket=settings.S3_BUCKET_NAME, key=final_file_name, force_http=True)
        out_url = '' % (settings.S3_BUCKET_NAME, final_file_name)
        del os.environ['S3_USE_SIGV4']
        return HttpResponse({'signed_request': url, 'url': out_url, 's3_key': final_file_name, 'status': 'ok'})

class Makes3VideoPublic(View):
    Make s3 video public
    def post(self, request, *args, **kwargs):
        post_data = request.POST
        aws_access_key_id = settings.AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID
        aws_secret_access_key = settings.AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY
        conn = boto.connect_s3(aws_access_key_id, aws_secret_access_key)
            bucket = conn.get_bucket(settings.S3_BUCKET_NAME, validate=True)
        except S3ResponseError:
            bucket = conn.create_bucket(settings.S3_BUCKET_NAME)
        k = bucket.get_key(request.POST.get('s3_key'))
        print post_data
        return Response(post_data)

Let's create js file 'js/amazon/amazon.js' in your js directory to make calls to the endpoints

$( document ).ready(function() {
    // Get the file from frontend
    var myFile = $('#fileToUpload').prop('files');
    // Send a get request to generate signed url
    var config = {
         params: {
            file_name :,
            username : 'Username'
         headers : {'Accept' : 'application/json'}

    $http.get('generate_signed_url/', config).then(
        function(response) {
            self.signed_data =
            var url =

            // Upload file directly to amazon s3
            var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
  "PUT", url);
            xhr.setRequestHeader('Access-Control-Allow-Headers', '*');
            xhr.upload.onprogress = updateProgress;
            xhr.onerror = function() {
                alert("Could not upload file.");

            function updateProgress (ev) {
                    if (ev.lengthComputable) {
                        var percentComplete = Math.round((ev.loaded / * 100);

            // Make posted url / video as public
            var s3_config = {
                params :,
                headers : {'Accept' : 'application/json'}
            var data = {
                signed_request :,
                s3_key :,
                status :,
                url :,
              type: "POST",
              url: 'make_video_public/',
              data: data,
              success: function(response){

         },function(response) {}



So from the above js code we are making two ajax calls, one is for generating the signed request with below response data

    signed_request: "…EKQLHA%2F20170425%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request", 
    url: "", 
    s3_key: "videos/shivaagiliq/FunnyCat.mp4", 
    status: "ok"

and another is to make the video public

After this when you navigate to amazon file/video url you can able to access it

Finally we achieved posting the file from browser to amazon s3 directly

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Topics : Django S3 Upload
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