Configuring an index document - Amazon Simple Storage Service

Configuring an index document

When you enable website hosting, you must also configure and upload an index document. An index document is a webpage that Amazon S3 returns when a request is made to the root of a website or any subfolder. For example, if a user enters in the browser, the user is not requesting any specific page. In that case, Amazon S3 serves up the index document, which is sometimes referred to as the default page.

When you enable static website hosting for your bucket, you enter the name of the index document (for example, index.html). After you enable static website hosting for your bucket, you upload an HTML file with the index document name to your bucket.

The trailing slash at the root-level URL is optional. For example, if you configure your website with index.html as the index document, either of the following URLs returns index.html.

For more information about Amazon S3 website endpoints, see Website endpoints.

Index document and folders

In Amazon S3, a bucket is a flat container of objects. It does not provide any hierarchical organization as the file system on your computer does. However, you can create a logical hierarchy by using object key names that imply a folder structure.

For example, consider a bucket with three objects that have the following key names. Although these are stored with no physical hierarchical organization, you can infer the following logical folder structure from the key names:

  • sample1.jpg — Object is at the root of the bucket.

  • photos/2006/Jan/sample2.jpg — Object is in the photos/2006/Jan subfolder.

  • photos/2006/Feb/sample3.jpg — Object is in the photos/2006/Feb subfolder.

In the Amazon S3 console, you can also create a folder in a bucket. For example, you can create a folder named photos. You can upload objects to the bucket or to the photos folder within the bucket. If you add the object sample.jpg to the bucket, the key name is sample.jpg. If you upload the object to the photos folder, the object key name is photos/sample.jpg.

If you create a folder structure in your bucket, you must have an index document at each level. In each folder, the index document must have the same name, for example, index.html. When a user specifies a URL that resembles a folder lookup, the presence or absence of a trailing slash determines the behavior of the website. For example, the following URL, with a trailing slash, returns the photos/index.html index document.

However, if you exclude the trailing slash from the preceding URL, Amazon S3 first looks for an object photos in the bucket. If the photos object is not found, it searches for an index document, photos/index.html. If that document is found, Amazon S3 returns a 302 Found message and points to the photos/ key. For subsequent requests to photos/, Amazon S3 returns photos/index.html. If the index document is not found, Amazon S3 returns an error.

Configure an index document

To configure an index document using the S3 console, use the following procedure. You can also configure an index document using the REST API, the AWS SDKs, the AWS CLI, or AWS CloudFormation.


In a versioning-enabled bucket, you may upload multiple copies of the index.html but only the newest version will be resolved to. For more information about using S3 Versioning see, Using versioning in S3 buckets.

When you enable static website hosting for your bucket, you enter the name of the index document (for example, index.html). After you enable static website hosting for the bucket, you upload an HTML file with this index document name to your bucket.

To configure the index document
  1. Create an index.html file.

    If you don't have an index.html file, you can use the following HTML to create one:

    <html xmlns="" > <head> <title>My Website Home Page</title> </head> <body> <h1>Welcome to my website</h1> <p>Now hosted on Amazon S3!</p> </body> </html>
  2. Save the index file locally.

    The index document file name must exactly match the index document name that you enter in the Static website hosting dialog box. The index document name is case sensitive. For example, if you enter index.html for the Index document name in the Static website hosting dialog box, your index document file name must also be index.html and not Index.html.

  3. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the Amazon S3 console at

  4. In the Buckets list, choose the name of the bucket that you want to use to host a static website.

  5. Enable static website hosting for your bucket, and enter the exact name of your index document (for example, index.html). For more information, see Enabling website hosting.

    After enabling static website hosting, proceed to step 6.

  6. To upload the index document to your bucket, do one of the following:

    • Drag and drop the index file into the console bucket listing.

    • Choose Upload, and follow the prompts to choose and upload the index file.

    For step-by-step instructions, see Uploading objects.

  7. (Optional) Upload other website content to your bucket.

Next, you must set permissions for website access. For information, see Setting permissions for website access.

You can also optionally configure an error document, web traffic logging, or a redirect.