A quick visual enhanced tutorial covering every step that is needed to save your valuable files to AWS S3.

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How To Backup Your Files To AWS S3

A quick visual enhanced tutorial covering every step that is needed to save your valuable files to AWS S3.

Paul Knulst  in  Programming Dec 1, 2021 3 min read

This article will give you a quick visual enhanced tutorial covering every step that is needed to save your valuable files to AWS S3. It will guide you on how to back up your data to AWS S3. S3 is an abbreviation of Simple Storage Service and provides multiple ways to upload a file or folder.

  1. Upload using Drag and Drop
  2. Upload using AWS CLI in the terminal.

From the above-mentioned ways, I will explain How-To upload using the AWS CLI


Amazon AWS Account

To create a FREE AWS account go to https://aws.amazon.com/free/ and create your account. To follow this tutorial you need to have an account.

S3 Bucket

S3 will be used to store your backup. An S3 bucket can be created at https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/home. You have to choose a bucket name and can keep the default values except for encryption.

I would suggest that you enable default encryption

Choosing default encryption for an AWS S3 bucket
Screenshot of bucket creation taken by the author

IAM Credentials

To create IAM Credentials to access your S3 bucket open your account menu (top right corner) and click Security Credentials

Switch to security credentials after AWS S3 bucket was created
Screenshot of user menu taken by the author

Now switch to Access keys (access key ID and secret access key) and create a new access key by clicking the button

Set up AWS S3 bucket security credentials
Screenshot from AWS S3 bucket security credentials taken by the author

Additionally, you can find much information about creating AWS access keys in the Amazon knowledge base

Create an AWS access key

Install AWS CLI

Installing the AWS CLI can be done on Linux (and on Windows in the Ubuntu WSL 2 CLI) with

sudo apt-get install awscli

Configure AWS CLI

After the AWS CLI is installed check the version

aws --version 

As I created this How-To I was using Windows with this version

Execute wsl aws --version to detect the current CLI version of aws
Screenshot of AWS CLI version on windows taken by author

Now you can set your IAM credentials for your machine. Start the process to enter your credentials

aws configure

Type in your AWSAccess Key ID, AWSSecret Acces Key, a default region, and an output format. Confirm every line with <Enter>. It should look like this:

Use aws configure to set up AWS access key, secret key, region and output format
Screenshot of configuring AWS CLI taken by author 

Backup your files

Now you are ready to back up your files to your bucket. Two important commands can be used: Copy and Sync


Copy can be used to copy a file or folder to S3. It will overwrite files if they are already within your bucket. For copying a folder you have to use --recursive. The following command will copy a <SOURCE_FOLDER> to a DST_FOLDER in your YOUR_BUCKET_NAME within S3.

aws s3 cp --recursive <SRC_FOLDER> s3://BUCKET_NAME/DST_FOLDER/


With Sync you can keep the content of a folder on your machine in sync with the folder within your S3 bucket. The following command will sync your local SRC_FOLDER with your DST_FOLDER in the S3 bucket s3://BUCKET_NAME.


Closing Notes

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I hope it can help you to back up your valuable data to an Amazon AWS S3 bucket. I would love to hear your thoughts and if you have any questions please contact me.

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By Paul Knulst

I'm a husband, dad, lifelong learner, tech lover, and Senior Engineer working as a Tech Lead. I write about projects and challenges in IT.