5 min read

Last week on Tuesday Amazon announced that Amazon S3 will no longer support path-style API requests. Currently Amazon S3 supports two request URI styles in all regions:

  • path-style (also known as V1) that includes bucket name in the path of the URI (example: //s3.amazonaws.com//key) and
  • virtual-hosted style (also known as V2) which uses the bucket name as part of the domain name (example: //.s3.amazonaws.com/key).

Amazon team mentions in the announcement that, “In our effort to continuously improve customer experience, the path-style naming convention is being retired in favor of virtual-hosted style request format.”

They have also asked customers to update their applications to use the virtual-hosted style request format when making S3 API requests. And this should be done before September 30th, 2020 to avoid any service disruptions. Customers using the AWS SDK can upgrade to the most recent version of the SDK to ensure their applications are using the virtual-hosted style request format.

They have further mentioned that, “Virtual-hosted style requests are supported for all S3 endpoints in all AWS regions. S3 will stop accepting requests made using the path-style request format in all regions starting September 30th, 2020. Any requests using the path-style request format made after this time will fail.”


Users on Hackernews see this as a poor development by Amazon and have noted its implications that collateral freedom techniques using Amazon S3 will no longer work.

One of them has commented strongly on this, “One important implication is that collateral freedom techniques [1] using Amazon S3 will no longer work.

To put it simply, right now I could put some stuff not liked by Russian or Chinese government (maybe entire website) and give a direct s3 link to https:// s3 .amazonaws.com/mywebsite/index.html. Because it’s https — there is no way man in the middle knows what people read on s3.amazonaws.com. With this change — dictators see my domain name and block requests to it right away.

I don’t know if they did it on purpose or just forgot about those who are less fortunate in regards to access to information, but this is a sad development.

This censorship circumvention technique is actively used in the wild and loosing Amazon is no good.

Amazon team suggests that if your application is not able to utilize the virtual-hosted style request format, or if you have any questions or concerns, you may reach out to AWS Support.

To know more about this news check out the official announcement page from Amazon.

Update from Amazon team on 8th May

Amazon’s Chief Evangelist for AWS, Jeff Barr sat with the S3 team to understand this change in detail. After getting a better understanding he posted an update on why the team plans to deprecate the path based model. Here’s his comparison on old vs the new:

S3 currently supports two different addressing models: path-style and virtual-hosted style. Take a quick look at each one. The path-style model looks either like this (the global S3 endpoint):

https://s3.amazonaws.com/jbarr-public/images/ritchie_and_thompson_pdp11.jpeg

https://s3.amazonaws.com/jeffbarr-public/classic_amazon_door_desk.png

Or this (one of the regional S3 endpoints):

https://s3-useast2.amazonaws.com/jbarrpublic/images/ritchie_and_thompson_pdp11.jpeg

https://s3-us-east-2.amazonaws.com/jeffbarr-public/classic_amazon_door_desk.png

For example, jbarr-public and jeffbarr-public are bucket names; /images/ritchie_and_thompson_pdp11.jpeg and /jeffbarr-public/classic_amazon_door_desk.png are object keys.

Even though the objects are owned by distinct AWS accounts and are in different S3 buckets and possibly in distinct AWS regions, both of them are in the DNS subdomain s3.amazonaws.com. Hold that thought while we look at the equivalent virtual-hosted style references:

https://jbarr-public.s3.amazonaws.com/images/ritchie_and_thompson_pdp11.jpeg

https://jeffbarr-public.s3.amazonaws.com/classic_amazon_door_desk.png

These URLs reference the same objects, but the objects are now in distinct DNS subdomains (jbarr-public.s3.amazonaws.com and jeffbarr-public.s3.amazonaws.com, respectively).

The difference is subtle, but very important. When you use a URL to reference an object, DNS resolution is used to map the subdomain name to an IP address. With the path-style model, the subdomain is always s3.amazonaws.com or one of the regional endpoints; with the virtual-hosted style, the subdomain is specific to the bucket. This additional degree of endpoint specificity is the key that opens the door to many important improvements to S3.

The select few in the community are in favor of this as per one of the user comment on Hacker News which says, “Thank you for listening! The original plan was insane. The new one is sane. As I pointed out here

https://twitter.com/dvassallo/status/1125549694778691584

thousands of printed books had references to V1 S3 URLs. Breaking them would have been a huge loss. Thank you!”

But for the other few Amazon team has failed to address the domain censorship issue as per another user which says, “Still doesn’t help with domain censorship. This was discussed in-depth in the other thread from yesterday, but TLDR, it’s a lot harder to block https://s3.amazonaws.com/tiananmen-square-facts than https://tiananmen-square-facts.s3.amazonaws.com because DNS lookups are made before HTTPS kicks in.”

Read about this update in detail here.

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Being a Senior Content Marketing Editor at Packt Publishing, I handle vast array of content in the tech space ranging from Data science, Web development, Programming, Cloud & Networking, IoT, Security and Game development. With prior experience and understanding of Marketing I aspire to grow leaps and bounds in the Content & Digital Marketing field. On the personal front I am an ambivert and love to read inspiring articles and books on life and in general.