Understanding the Pricing Differences: AWS S3 vs CloudFront

Understanding the Pricing Differences: AWS S3 vs CloudFront

AWS offers a wide range of services to cater to different use cases. Two of the most commonly used services are Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) and Amazon CloudFront. When it comes to delivering content to end-users, many often wonder about the cost implications of using just S3 versus putting an S3 bucket behind a CloudFront distribution. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the pricing differences between these two setups based on the pricing available as of October 2023.

Amazon S3 Pricing (as of October 2023)

Amazon S3 is designed for large-capacity, low-cost file storage in the cloud. Its pricing model is based on the following components:

  • Storage Costs: Prices start at $0.023 per GB for the first 50 TB/month.
  • Request Costs: GET requests are priced at $0.0004 per 1,000 requests. PUT, COPY, POST, or LIST requests are $0.005 per 1,000 requests.
  • Data Transfer Out: Prices start at $0.09 per GB for the first 10 TB/month.
  • Additional features: S3 offers a variety of additional features like versioning, cross-region replication, and lifecycle policies. Some of these features come with additional costs.

Amazon CloudFront Pricing (as of October 2023)

Amazon CloudFront is AWS’s content delivery network (CDN) service. Its pricing model comprises:

  • Data Transfer Out: For the US & Canada, prices start at $0.085 per GB for the first 10 TB/month.
  • HTTP/HTTPS Requests: HTTP/HTTPS GET requests are $0.0075 per 10,000 requests in the US. Other types of HTTP requests, like POST and PUT, are $0.01 per 1,000 requests.
  • Additional Costs: There are other costs associated with features like invalidation requests, dedicated IP custom SSL, etc.

Comparing Costs: Example Scenario of 1 Million GET Requests

Using Just S3:

  • Request Costs: $0.0004 per 1,000 requests x 1,000 (for 1 million requests) = $0.40
  • Data Transfer Costs: Assuming 1GB of data is transferred out, it would cost $0.09.

Using S3 with CloudFront:

  • CloudFront Request Costs: $0.0075 per 10,000 requests x 100 (for 1 million requests) = $0.75
  • CloudFront Data Transfer Out Costs: Assuming 1GB of data is transferred, it might cost $0.085.


The decision to use just S3 or S3 in conjunction with CloudFront isn’t purely a financial one. While CloudFront might introduce some additional costs, the performance benefits, especially for a global audience, can outweigh the costs.

Always consider both your application’s requirements and the projected traffic patterns. Additionally, AWS offers a pricing calculator that you can use to get a more detailed cost breakdown based on your expected usage.

Note: This article provides a general overview and does not account for potential discounts, free tier usage, or specific data transfer scenarios that might affect costs. Always refer to the official AWS pricing documentation for the most up-to-date and detailed information.

Roberto Founder and Author of Codevup