I recently migrated my mattbutton.com blog away from Wordpress hosting in favor of a static site generated by Hugo, hosted on Amazon S3.
Initially, I hosted the static site via Aerobatic.io, who recently removed their free tier, and started charging $15 per month for hosting with a custom domain.. 50% more than the $10 per month I was previously paying for Hostgator Wordpress hosting. Unless I have certain specific requirements, I can’t justfy that kind of cost to host a static site.
Setting up the S3 bucket to host my site was fine. For the CDN/SSL side of things I initially tried using CloudFront because most of the AWS Hugo Hosting, HowTo guides were using it.
When trying to set up CloudFront via my personal AWS account, I got an error saying a distribution already exists for mattbutton.com. The reason for this error is because Aerobatic.io had already created a CloudFront distribution pointing to their own S3 bucket. CloudFront isn’t an option for me until Aerobatic.io delete their mattbutton.com CloudFront distribution.
I still wanted to use SSL, and had decided on setting up mattbutton.com with it mainly out of interest, partly because Google uses HTTPS as a ranking signal, and partly because Chrome will eventually show a Not Secure warning for all pages served over HTTP.
I wasn’t having any luck searching for a solution to this error for this particular error. Fortunately, there’s a simple fix, if you know what you’re looking for, and you’re happy with the trade-offs involved.
For reference, my DNS CNAME settings for mattbutton.com in CloudFlare are:
CNAME mattbutton.com mattbutton.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com CNAME www www.mattbutton.com.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com
After some investigation, the CloudFlare error was due to the combination of the fact that I hadn’t set up S3 website HTTPS endpoints, and the fact that CloudFlare defaults to Full SSL, which expects HTTPS everywhere.. including the AWS S3 website endpoints.
One solution to this is to enable Flexible SSL, which means that there will be a secure connection between the site visitor and CloudFlare, but no secure connection between CloudFlare and Amazon S3. In the context of this blog, I don’t really need SSL between S3 and CloudFlare, so I enabled Flexible SSL as below:
That was the final hurdle in getting my site set up with SSL. https://www.mattbutton.com