How to Use an Amazon S3 WordPress Plugin to Offload Media

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Using an Amazon S3 WordPress plugin to store your media in the cloud can drastically improve the performance of your site and the media playback experience for your visitors. This short guide will show you how to make it happen.

S3 Media Maestro, our Amazon S3 WordPress plugin, was initially designed to scratch our own itch. In 2011, we began creating our own online courses and wanted to deliver those courses through our WordPress-powered website so that we’d have complete control over our course content.

Our courses consisted entirely of video, so we also knew that uploading dozens of massive media files (some several gigabytes each) to the WordPress Media Library would cause major problems once we got past just a handful of students logging on at the same time.

Finally, while the idea of a video hosting platform such as YouTube, Wistia, or Vimeo was attractive, those weren’t viable options either due to our desire to keep our videos locked down (YouTube) or our desire not to break the bank (Vimeo, Wistia).

We finally decided that the best balance between cost and performance could be achieved by using Amazon Web Services’ S3 cloud storage platform. At the time, there wasn’t a solution to make S3 and WordPress play nicely together, so our Amazon S3 WordPress plugin, S3 Media Maestro, was born.

Now we had a plugin which included a media player, direct access to S3 for media uploading and media playback, and even link sharing protection to prevent media piracy.

We’ve continued to build on the initial S3 Media Maestro release ever since and in this post, we’ll look at how to put this Amazon S3 WordPress plugin to work on your site.

1. Set Up Your Amazon Web Services Account

First, you’ll need to set up a free Amazon Web Services account. This is a relatively simple signup process and although your first few media uploads will fall under the free usage tiers for storage and bandwidth, you’ll need to enter a valid payment method to get started.

For details on calculating what your monthly AWS S3 bill might run once you have an entire course (or more) uploaded to S3 and students actually viewing the video lessons, you can use our Guide to Calculating Amazon Web Services S3 Costs.

2. Obtain Security Credentials from AWS

After you’ve set up your free Amazon Web Services account, you’ll need to obtain two security keys to use within S3 Media Maestro’s main Settings panel. One of the biggest advantages of using an Amazon S3 WordPress plugin like S3 Media Maestro is that after these keys are entered into the plugin settings, you won’t need to go back to the cumbersome AWS console for anything else. You’ll be able to manage everything (file uploads, media placement, etc.) from within your WordPress admin dashboard!

Once you’re logged into the AWS console, hover over your name in the upper-right corner of the screen and select My Security Credentials from the dropdown menu.

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In the Security Credentials screen, choose the Access Keys option and then Create New Access Key.

Copy and paste both the Access Key ID and the Secret Key into an empty text document and store them in a safe place for later.

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3. Install and Activate the S3 Media Maestro Amazon S3 WordPress Plugin

Installing S3 Media Maestro is just like installing any other WordPress plugin. Once logged into your WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to the Add New Plugin option in the sidebar, upload the S3 Media Maestro zip file, and activate the plugin.

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4. Enter Your AWS Security Credentials in the Plugin Settings

Now that you have S3 Media Maestro installed and activated, you’ll want to navigate to the Settings sidebar option in the WordPress admin dashboard and find the S3 Media Maestro submenu. You’ll initially be directed to the Amazon: S3 tab where you enter your S3 Access Key ID and S3 Secret Key. Be sure to save your settings after doing so.

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5. Create or Edit a Post or Page and Add the S3 Media Maestro Block

Now you can simply create a new page, a new post, or edit an existing page or post and you’ll have an option to use the S3 Media Maestro block within the visual builder.

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From here, you can access or add a new Amazon S3 storage bucket, upload media, or manage existing media.

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It’s that simple to use an Amazon S3 WordPress plugin like S3 Media Maestro to offload media from your WordPress Media Library, ensuring faster site performance and a better media playback experience for your visitors!

About Nate Johnson

Nate Johnson is one of the co-founders of Fly Plugins, creators of the first and most widely-implemented learning management system for WordPress, WP Courseware. Since 2012, he has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, corporate training departments, and higher education institutions develop and deploy online training courses from their WordPress websites.

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