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SSH: Setup and configure the s3cmd tool for Amazon S3

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In this article, we will show you how to setup and configure the s3cmd tool for Amazon S3.

For this article, you will need SSH access to your account.

  • 1) Login to your account using your preferred SSH client.
  • 2) Lets make a folder so we can download all the files we need.
mkdir s3downloads

Now lets move into this new folder…

cd s3downloads
  • 3) Now we need to download the Amazon s3cmd tool.
  • 4) Lets unzip it and move into the folder.
unzip s3*zip
cd s3*
  • 5) Now its time to install it.
python2.6 install --user
  • 5) We need to move the file into a better folder, so lets do that now.
mkdir ~/bin
cp s3cmd ~/bin
cp -R S3 ~/bin
  • 6) Lets do some cleanup real fast.
rm -r s3downloads
  • 7) Lets edit our bashrc file so it knows we have installed the s3cmd tool
nano ~/.bashrc

and add the following to the end…

if [ -d "$HOME/bin" ]; then

  • 8) Now we need to source the bashrc file so the server knows we changed it.
source ~/.bashrc
  • 9) Now its time to configure the s3cmd tool. We can do this by running the following command.
s3cmd --configure
  • 9a) Enter your Amazon S3 Access Key
  • 9b) Enter your Secret Access Key
  • Note: Both of these can be found on the Security Credentials page at the following link:
  • 9c) Now we need to enter a password (NOT the same one for amazon account ) that will be used to encrypt the local configuration files.
  • 9d) When asked for the path to gpg, just press enter.
  • 9e) If you would like to use HTTPs (recommended) type yes when prompted. Please note that you do NOT need a SSL certificate to use this https function.
  • 9f) Test the account by typing “y” (when prompted) then pressing enter.
  • 9g) If everything connected correctly, enter “y” when prompted to save the settings. If not, please re-try the configuration.
  • 10) That’s it! You now know how to install the Amazon s3cmd tools. Below we will show you some of the basic commands you can use with this tool.



  • mb
    • Command: s3cmd mb
    • Description: This command makes a new bucket.
    • Example: s3cmd mb s3://newbucket
  • rb
    • Command: s3cmd rb
    • Description: This command removes a bucket.
    • Example: s3cmd rb s3://buckettoremove
  • ls
    • Command: s3cmd ls
    • Description: This command lists all file. You can also tell it to check a path/bucket
    • Example: s3cmd ls
    • Example 2: s3cmd ls s3://buckettocheck
  • la
    • Command: s3cmd ls
    • Description: Lists all files in all buckets
  • put
    • Command: s3cmd put
    • Description: This command puts/uploads a file to the path your specify.
    • Example: s3cmd put ~/filetoupload.txt s3://buckettouploadto
  • get
    • Command: s3cmd get
    • Description: This is the same as the put command but in reverse.
    • Example: s3cmd get s3://bucket/filetodownload.txt ~/locationtoputit
  • del
    • Command: s3cmd del
    • Description: This command deltes a file on the S3 server.
    • Example: s3cmd del s3://bucket/filetodelete.txt

For more commands, please click here.

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