How to Deploy on AWS w/ S3 and Cloudfront?

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services.
S3 is their static storage which can be configured for Static Site Hosting. Cloudfront is their CDN (content delivery network)

Hosting a static generated Nuxt app on AWS w/ S3 + Cloudfront is powerful and cheap.

AWS is a death by 1000 paper cuts. If we missed a step, please submit a PR to update this document.


We'll host super cheap with some AWS services. Briefly:

  • S3
    • cloud data "bucket" for our website files
    • can be configured to host static websites
  • CloudFront
    • a CDN (content delivery network)
    • offers free HTTPS certs
    • Makes your site load faster

We'll push the site like this:

Nuxt Generate -> Local folder -> AWS S3 Bucket -> AWS Cloudfront CDN -> Browser
  [      nuxt generate       ]    [         gulp deploy          ]
  [                                           ]

First, we'll generate the site with nuxt build && nuxt export(>= v2.13) or nuxt generate(<= v2.12). Then, we'll use Gulp to publish the files to a S3 bucket and invalidate a CloudFront CDN.

Our deploy script needs these environment variables set:


We'll have these files:       -  run `nuxt build && nuxt export` or `nuxt generate` and `gulp deploy`
gulpfile.js     -  `gulp deploy` code to push files to S3 and invalidate CloudFront

Setting it up

  1. Make a S3 bucket and configure it for static site hosting
  2. Create a CloudFront distribution
  3. Configure security access
  4. Setup build script in your project

AWS: Setup your S3 bucket and CloudFront Distribution

Please follow this tutorial to setup your S3 and CloudFront for step one and two.

You should now have this data:


AWS: Configure security access

For step 3, we need to create a user that can:

  • Update the bucket contents
  • Invalidate the CloudFront distribution (propagates changes to users faster)

Create a programmatic user with this policy:

NOTE: replace 2x with your S3 bucket name below. This policy allows pushing to the specified bucket, and invalidating any CloudFront distribution.

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [ {
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [ "s3:ListBucket" ],
            "Resource": [
        }, {
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": [
        }, {
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "*"

Then get an access key and secret.

You should now have this data:


Laptop: Setup your project's build script

4.1) Create a script. See optional nvm (node version manager).


export AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID="key" 
export AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY="secret" 
export AWS_BUCKET_NAME="" 

# Load nvm (node version manager), install node (version in .nvmrc), and npm install packages
[ -s "$HOME/.nvm/" ] && source "$HOME/.nvm/" && nvm use
# Npm install if not already.
[ ! -d "node_modules" ] && npm install

npm run generate
gulp deploy

4.2) Make runnable and DON'T CHECK INTO GIT ( has secrets in it)

chmod +x
echo "
# Don't commit build files
" >> .gitignore

4.3) Add Gulp to your project and to your command line

npm install --save-dev gulp gulp-awspublish gulp-cloudfront-invalidate-aws-publish concurrent-transform
npm install -g gulp

4.4) Create a gulpfile.js with the build script

const gulp = require('gulp')
const awspublish = require('gulp-awspublish')
const cloudfront = require('gulp-cloudfront-invalidate-aws-publish')
const parallelize = require('concurrent-transform')


const config = {

  // Required
  params: {
    Bucket: process.env.AWS_BUCKET_NAME
  credentials: {
    accessKeyId: process.env.AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID,
    secretAccessKey: process.env.AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY,
    signatureVersion: 'v3'

  // Optional
  deleteOldVersions: false, // NOT FOR PRODUCTION
  distribution: process.env.AWS_CLOUDFRONT, // CloudFront distribution ID
  region: process.env.AWS_DEFAULT_REGION,
  headers: { /* 'Cache-Control': 'max-age=315360000, no-transform, public', */ },

  // Sensible Defaults - gitignore these Files and Dirs
  distDir: 'dist',
  indexRootPath: true,
  cacheFileName: '.awspublish',
  concurrentUploads: 10,
  wait: true // wait for CloudFront invalidation to complete (about 30-60 seconds)

gulp.task('deploy', function () {
  // create a new publisher using S3 options
  const publisher = awspublish.create(config)

  let g = gulp.src('./' + config.distDir + '/**')
  // publisher will add Content-Length, Content-Type and headers specified above
  // If not specified it will set x-amz-acl to public-read by default
  g = g.pipe(parallelize(publisher.publish(config.headers), config.concurrentUploads))

  // Invalidate CDN
  if (config.distribution) {
    console.log('Configured with CloudFront distribution')
    g = g.pipe(cloudfront(config))
  } else {
    console.log('No CloudFront distribution configured - skipping CDN invalidation')

  // Delete removed files
  if (config.deleteOldVersions) { g = g.pipe(publisher.sync()) }
  // create a cache file to speed up consecutive uploads
  g = g.pipe(publisher.cache())
  // print upload updates to console
  g = g.pipe(awspublish.reporter())
  return g

4.5) Deploy and debug

Run it:


You should get an output similar to this:

$ ./                                                                                                                 

Found '/home/michael/scm/' with version <8>
Now using node v8.11.2 (npm v5.6.0)

> generate /home/michael/scm/
> nuxt generate

  nuxt:generate Generating... +0ms
  nuxt:build App root: /home/michael/scm/ +0ms
  nuxt:build Generating /home/michael/scm/ files... +0ms
  nuxt:build Generating files... +36ms
  nuxt:build Generating routes... +10ms
  nuxt:build Building files... +24ms
  ████████████████████ 100% 

Build completed in 7.009s

 DONE  Compiled successfully in 7013ms                                                                                                                                     21:25:22

Hash: 421d017116d2d95dd1e3
Version: webpack 3.12.0
Time: 7013ms
                                   Asset     Size  Chunks             Chunk Names
     pages/index.ef923f795c1cecc9a444.js  10.6 kB       0  [emitted]  pages/index
 layouts/default.87a49937c330bdd31953.js  2.69 kB       1  [emitted]  layouts/default
pages/our-values.f60c731d5c3081769fd9.js  3.03 kB       2  [emitted]  pages/our-values
   pages/join-us.835077c4e6b55ed1bba4.js   1.3 kB       3  [emitted]  pages/join-us
       pages/how.75f8cb5bc24e38bca3b3.js  2.59 kB       4  [emitted]  pages/how
             app.6dbffe6ac4383bd30a92.js   202 kB       5  [emitted]  app
          vendor.134043c361c9ad199c6d.js  6.31 kB       6  [emitted]  vendor
        manifest.421d017116d2d95dd1e3.js  1.59 kB       7  [emitted]  manifest
 + 3 hidden assets
Hash: 9fd206f4b4e571e9571f
Version: webpack 3.12.0
Time: 2239ms
             Asset    Size  Chunks             Chunk Names
server-bundle.json  306 kB          [emitted]  
  nuxt: Call generate:distRemoved hooks (1) +0ms
  nuxt:generate Destination folder cleaned +10s
  nuxt: Call generate:distCopied hooks (1) +8ms
  nuxt:generate Static & build files copied +7ms
  nuxt:render Rendering url /our-values +0ms
  nuxt:render Rendering url /how +67ms
  nuxt:render Rendering url /join-us +1ms
  nuxt:render Rendering url / +0ms
  nuxt: Call generate:page hooks (1) +913ms
  nuxt: Call generate:page hooks (1) +205ms
  nuxt: Call generate:page hooks (1) +329ms
  nuxt: Call generate:page hooks (1) +361ms
  nuxt:generate Generate file: /our-values/index.html +2s
  nuxt:generate Generate file: /how/index.html +0ms
  nuxt:generate Generate file: /join-us/index.html +0ms
  nuxt:generate Generate file: /index.html +0ms
  nuxt:render Rendering url / +2s
  nuxt: Call generate:done hooks (1) +4ms
  nuxt:generate HTML Files generated in 11.8s +5ms
  nuxt:generate Generate done +0ms
[21:25:27] Using gulpfile ~/scm/
[21:25:27] Starting 'deploy'...
Configured with CloudFront distribution
[21:25:27] [cache]
[21:25:27] [cache]  android-chrome-192x192.png
[21:25:27] [cache]  android-chrome-512x512.png
[21:25:27] [cache]  apple-touch-icon.png
[21:25:27] [cache]  browserconfig.xml
[21:25:27] [cache]  favicon-16x16.png
[21:25:27] [cache]  favicon-32x32.png
[21:25:27] [cache]  favicon.ico
[21:25:27] [cache]  favicon.svg
[21:25:27] [cache]  logo-branches.svg
[21:25:27] [cache]  logo-small.svg
[21:25:27] [cache]  logo.svg
[21:25:27] [cache]  mstile-150x150.png
[21:25:27] [cache]  og-image.jpg
[21:25:27] [cache]  safari-pinned-tab.svg
[21:25:27] [cache]  site.webmanifest
[21:25:28] [create] _nuxt/manifest.421d017116d2d95dd1e3.js
[21:25:29] [update] 200.html
[21:25:30] [create] videos/flag.jpg
[21:25:30] [create] _nuxt/vendor.134043c361c9ad199c6d.js
[21:25:34] [create] videos/flag.mp4
[21:25:34] [cache]  _nuxt/pages/how.75f8cb5bc24e38bca3b3.js
[21:25:34] [cache]  _nuxt/pages/join-us.835077c4e6b55ed1bba4.js
[21:25:34] [cache]  _nuxt/pages/our-values.f60c731d5c3081769fd9.js
[21:25:36] [update] our-values/index.html
[21:25:36] [create] _nuxt/layouts/default.87a49937c330bdd31953.js
[21:25:36] [create] _nuxt/app.6dbffe6ac4383bd30a92.js
[21:25:37] [create] _nuxt/pages/index.ef923f795c1cecc9a444.js
[21:25:38] [update] join-us/index.html
[21:25:38] [update] how/index.html
[21:25:43] [create] videos/flag.webm
[21:25:43] [update] index.html
[21:25:43] CloudFront invalidation created: I16NXXXXX4JDOA
[21:26:09] Finished 'deploy' after 42 s

Note that the CloudFront invalidation created: XXXX is the only output from the CloudFront invalidation npm package. If you don't see that, it's not working.

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