Using Amazon S3 for Videos – Tools and Tips for Securing Your Content
An excellent webinar, providing very specific demonstration of using and managing Amazon S3 content was hosted recently by Jason Fladlien. Wilson Mattos gave an overview of Amazon S3’s advantages, tools to use and some useful tips for managing content securely online using either php code or WordPress. Jason demonstrated how to instantly embed video in a WordPress blog with a specific tool designed for this purpose.
S3 (Simple Storage Service) is a scalable, reliable, and fast file hosting service provided by Amazon. There are no -fees or contracts and S3 can manage content securely if you do it right. As of the date of this article, pricing is based on the following (prices have been dropping over time):
- Storage – $0.14 per GB
- Data Transfer IN – $0.10 per GB
- Data Transfer OUT $0.15 per GB
- Requests (Put, List, Copy) – $0.01 per 1,000
- Requests (Get) – $0.01 per 10,000
1,000 20 minute videos with 30,000 views per month would result in $4.24 storage, $137.85 data transfer, and $.04 requests for a total of $142.13. Jason Fladlien, who is considered a power user, typically pays less than $100 per month for his membership training videos, etc. A more typical S3 user would pay from $5 to $10 per month. Sign-up is easy by simply using your Amazon account (or create one if you don’t already have). Both free and paid tools are available to manage content, including the S3 Organizer Toolset for Firefox and CloudBerry Explorer for Amazon S3.
There are different video formats used online, including FLV, MP4, and MOV. All these are h.264 encoded. SWF, a precursor to flash videos, is not a video format. Smart phones always produce MP4 (h.264) files and both iPhone and Android are able to play this content vs. SWF, which is not readable.
When publishing online, you must balance quality vs. bandwidth. Encoding above typical bandwidth, e.g., 768Kbps for DSL is not recommended. MP4’s should be encoded at 450 to 500 Kbps. Although most hosting accounts advertise unlimited bandwidth, continually abusing your bandwidth can result in suspension of your account with no prior warning. Therefore, you should never serve videos from your hosting account for maximum throughput. This is why the top 10 products on ClickBank all use Amazon S3 to host their videos, although 4 of the 10 are failing to properly secure their online content. By comparison, YouTube.com accounts can be closed on a whim, and their servers aren’t optimized as well as Amazon’s for the user experience, so are not a good choice for anyone doing Internet marketing to any degree.
Although php code is readily available, S3Flowshield is a WordPress plugin that greatly simplifies the process of embedding videos and adds significant video capabilities not easily programmed by other means. Content is obfuscated and links to your Amazon content can only be used once. Also, the actual Amazon S3 buckets are not obviously displayed in your source code. And, S3Flowshield includes a single domain commercial license for FlowPlayer for a limited time, valued at nearly the entire purchase price.