Policies and permissions in Amazon S3 - Amazon Simple Storage Service

Policies and permissions in Amazon S3

This page provides an overview of bucket and user policies in Amazon S3 and describes the basic elements of a policy. Each listed element links to more details about that element and examples of how to use it.

For a complete list of Amazon S3 actions, resources, and conditions, see Actions, resources, and condition keys for Amazon S3 in the Service Authorization Reference.

In its most basic sense, a policy contains the following elements:

  • Resource – The Amazon S3 bucket, object, access point, or job that the policy applies to. Use the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) of the bucket, object, access point, or job to identify the resource.

    An example for bucket-level operations:

    - "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::bucket_name".

    Examples for object-level operations:

    - "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::bucket_name/*" for all objects in the bucket.

    - "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::bucket_name/prefix/*" for objects under a certain prefix in the bucket.

    For more information, see Policy resources for Amazon S3.

  • Actions – For each resource, Amazon S3 supports a set of operations. You identify resource operations that you will allow (or deny) by using action keywords.

    For example, the s3:ListBucket permission allows the user to use the Amazon S3 GET Bucket (List Objects) operation. For more information about using Amazon S3 actions, see Policy actions for Amazon S3. For a complete list of Amazon S3 actions, see Actions.

  • Effect – What the effect will be when the user requests the specific action—this can be either allow or deny.

    If you do not explicitly grant access to (allow) a resource, access is implicitly denied. You can also explicitly deny access to a resource. You might do this to make sure that a user can't access the resource, even if a different policy grants access. For more information, see IAM JSON Policy Elements: Effect.

  • Principal – The account or user who is allowed access to the actions and resources in the statement. In a bucket policy, the principal is the user, account, service, or other entity that is the recipient of this permission. For more information, see Principals for bucket policies.

  • Condition – Conditions for when a policy is in effect. You can use AWS‐wide keys and Amazon S3‐specific keys to specify conditions in an Amazon S3 access policy. For more information, see Bucket policy examples using condition keys.

The following example bucket policy shows the effect, principal, action, and resource elements. The policy allows Akua, a user in account Account-ID, s3:GetObject, s3:GetBucketLocation, and s3:ListBucket Amazon S3 permissions on the awsexamplebucket1 bucket.

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Id": "ExamplePolicy01", "Statement": [ { "Sid": "ExampleStatement01", "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": { "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::123456789012:user/Akua" }, "Action": [ "s3:GetObject", "s3:GetBucketLocation", "s3:ListBucket" ], "Resource": [ "arn:aws:s3:::awsexamplebucket1/*", "arn:aws:s3:::awsexamplebucket1" ] } ] }

For complete policy language information, see Policies and permissions in IAM and IAM JSON policy reference in the IAM User Guide.

Permission delegation

If an AWS account owns a resource, it can grant those permissions to another AWS account. That account can then delegate those permissions, or a subset of them, to users in the account. This is referred to as permission delegation. But an account that receives permissions from another account can't delegate permission cross-account to another AWS account.

Amazon S3 bucket and object ownership

Buckets and objects are Amazon S3 resources. By default, only the resource owner can access these resources. The resource owner refers to the AWS account that creates the resource. For example:

  • The AWS account that you use to create buckets and upload objects owns those resources.

  • If you upload an object using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) user or role credentials, the AWS account that the user or role belongs to owns the object.

  • A bucket owner can grant cross-account permissions to another AWS account (or users in another account) to upload objects. In this case, the AWS account that uploads objects owns those objects. The bucket owner does not have permissions on the objects that other accounts own, with the following exceptions:

    • The bucket owner pays the bills. The bucket owner can deny access to any objects, or delete any objects in the bucket, regardless of who owns them.

    • The bucket owner can archive any objects or restore archived objects regardless of who owns them. Archival refers to the storage class used to store the objects. For more information, see Managing your storage lifecycle.

Ownership and request authentication

All requests to a bucket are either authenticated or unauthenticated. Authenticated requests must include a signature value that authenticates the request sender, and unauthenticated requests do not. For more information about request authentication, see Making requests.

A bucket owner can allow unauthenticated requests. For example, unauthenticated PUT Object requests are allowed when a bucket has a public bucket policy, or when a bucket ACL grants WRITE or FULL_CONTROL access to the All Users group or the anonymous user specifically. For more information about public bucket policies and public access control lists (ACLs), see The meaning of "public".

All unauthenticated requests are made by the anonymous user. This user is represented in ACLs by the specific canonical user ID 65a011a29cdf8ec533ec3d1ccaae921c. If an object is uploaded to a bucket through an unauthenticated request, the anonymous user owns the object. The default object ACL grants FULL_CONTROL to the anonymous user as the object's owner. Therefore, Amazon S3 allows unauthenticated requests to retrieve the object or modify its ACL.

To prevent objects from being modified by the anonymous user, we recommend that you do not implement bucket policies that allow anonymous public writes to your bucket or use ACLs that allow the anonymous user write access to your bucket. You can enforce this recommended behavior by using Amazon S3 Block Public Access.

For more information about blocking public access, see Blocking public access to your Amazon S3 storage. For more information about ACLs, see Access control list (ACL) overview.


We recommend that you don't use the AWS account root user credentials to make authenticated requests. Instead, create an IAM role and grant that role full access. We refer to users with this role as administrator users. You can use credentials assigned to the administrator role, instead of AWS account root user credentials, to interact with AWS and perform tasks, such as create a bucket, create users, and grant permissions. For more information, see AWSsecurity credentials in the IAM User Guide and Security best practices in IAM in the IAM User Guide.