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AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) is an open source tool built on top of the AWS SDK for Python (Boto) that provides users with Linux-like commands to interact with AWS services (including S3 object storage).

 1. How to install AWS CLI


It is recommended to install AWS CLI via Homebrew for Mac users.

1. install Homebrew

$ ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

2. install AWS CLI (after Homebrew is installed)

$ brew update
$ brew install awscli

Ubuntu, Debian

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install awscli

RHEL, CentOS or Fedora

$ sudo yum -y update
$ sudo yum install awscli


If you prefer not to install AWS CLI via pip method as listed below, there is also a MSI installer for deploying AWS CLI in a Windows environment. Please follow the instructions here.

Installing AWS CLI via Python Package Manager (pip)

AWS CLI is a Python module so you can also install AWS CLI using Python's package manager 'pip'. Installing AWS CLI via pip might allow users to get the latest version of AWS CLI and no super user privileges is needed as it's been deployed as a Python module. Using Ubuntu as an example below but the same steps should be similar to other Linux distributions, Mac or Windows environments:

$ sudo apt-get install python3-pip
$ pip3 install awscli
$ pip3 install awscli --upgrade

After the installation, open a Terminal window and executes the following command:

  $ aws --version

and you should see the followings (the version number can vary):

  aws-cli/1.16.20 Python/3.7.0 Darwin/16.7.0 botocore/1.12.10

If you can, you have successfully install AWS CLI.

2. Obtain the access details of your S3-compatible object storage

You will be provided with the access information (i.e. access_key and secret_key) on how to access your S3 object storage via email.

3. Configure your AWS CLI environment

Once your user account (either admin or access account) is created, you will need to configure your AWS CLI environment using the information provided in the provision email via executing the command below:

  $ aws configure

you will now need to provide the information for the following questions:

AWS Access Key ID [None]:

copy-and-paste your access_key and press enter,

  AWS Secret Access Key [None]:

copy-and-paste your secret_key and press enter,

  Default region name [None]:

leave it blank and just press enter,

  Default output format [None]:

insert json and press enter.

The aws configure command will create two files: credentials & configuration as a result.

  • Credentials file: located at ~/.aws/credentials on Linux and Mac, or C:\Users\USERNAME \.aws\credentials on Windows. This file can contain multiple named profiles in addition to a default profile.

  • Configuration file: located at ~/.aws/config on Linux and Mac, or at C:\Users\USERNAME \.aws\config on Windows. This file can contain a default profile, named profiles, and CLI specific configuration parameters for each.

You can add additional configuration values directly to those files or via aws configure set command. A full list of configuration values can be found here. E.g.: setting concurrent requests to 20 (from the default 10):

  $ aws configure set default.s3.max_concurrent_requests 20

3.1. More than one S3 object storage?

You will need to create individual profile for each S3-compatible object storage that you want access. To create a new credential profile, open your credentials file (location of your credentials file can be found above) and adding the following at the bottom of that file:

  aws_access_key_id = UF1xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  aws_secret_access_key = pxhxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

You can modify the contain of each profile by using the –profile «ANY-PROFILE-NAME» option, e.g.:

$ aws configure --profile project02

and you will just follow the same steps as stated above. You can then append this profile option in combination with any S3 file command that listed at the section below.

NOTE: please keep your access_key and secret_key secure!!

4. Test access to your S3-compatible object storage

Open a Terminal window and execute the following command (make sure you have configured your AWS CLI as stated in the steps above):

  $ aws s3 ls --recursive --human-readable --summarize --endpoint-url

or for a specific S3 object storage (e.g. project02):

  $ aws s3 ls --recursive --human-readable --summarize --profile project02 --endpoint-url

and you probably will see something similar as listed below (if there is no bucket/object created inside):

$ aws s3 ls --recursive --human-readable --summarize --endpoint-url

Total Objects: 0
   Total Size: 0 Bytes

Try the following command (to create a bucket/folder):

  $ aws s3 mb s3://testBucket --endpoint-url

and you should see the following message:

  make_bucket: testBucket

if you re-run the above aws s3 ls command again, you will see the following output:

  2018-09-25 19:05:46 testBucket

5. Some useful examples of AWS CLI

5.0. Do I need to include "--endpoint-url" all the time?

The standard AWS CLI uses * as its default service endpoint so in order to use University's S3-compatible object storage, you will need to specify a different endpoint. There is a awscli plugin called awscli-plugin-endpoint you can install to set different service endpoint with your AWS CLI.

  • Via Homebrew:
  $ /usr/local/opt/awscli/libexec/bin/pip install awscli-plugin-endpoint
  • Via pip:

  $  pip install awscli-plugin-endpoint

after the plugin is installed, run the following two commands set the endpoint to

  $ aws configure set plugins.endpoint awscli_plugin_endpoint
  $ aws configure set s3.endpoint_url

or if you have multiple AWS CLI profiles, you can include specific profile name, e.g.:

$ aws configure --profile project02 set plugins.endpoint awscli_plugin_endpoint
$ aws configure --profile project02 set s3.endpoint_url

now, you can just issue the AWS CLI S3 commands without using the –endpoint-url parameter, e.g.:

  $ aws s3 cp testFile_500MB.file s3://testBucket


  $ aws s3 cp testFile_500MB.file s3://testBucket --profile project02

5.1. How to upload file to your S3-compatible object storage (using ''cp'')

  $ aws s3 cp testFile_500MB.file s3://testBucket --endpoint-url

5.2. How to upload directory of files to your S3-compatible object storage (using ''cp'')

  $ aws s3 cp --recursive /random/ s3://testBucket/random/ --endpoint-url

and you should see the following progress until it is finished:

  upload: Users/netTest/random/testFile1.1 to s3://testBucket/random/testFile1.1
  upload: Users/netTest/random/testFile1.2 to s3://testBucket/random/testFile1.2

5.3. How to list all files inside your bucket (folder)

  $ aws s3 ls s3://testBucket/ --endpoint-url

5.4. How to delete files inside your object storage

  • For deleting a single file inside a bucket (folder):

  $ aws s3 rm s3://testBucket/random/testFile1.1 --endpoint-url
  • For deleting ALL files inside a bucket (folder):

  $ aws s3 rm --recursive s3://testBucket/random/ --endpoint-url
  • For deleting a bucket (folder):

$ aws s3 rb s3://testBucket --endpoint-url
  remove_bucket: testBucket

NOTE: you will need to remove/delete all the files inside the bucket/folder first before you can remove a bucket, otherwise you will see this message: An error occurred (BucketNotEmpty) when calling the DeleteBucket operation: Unknown.

External Links

A list of available AWS CLI S3 file commands can be found here.