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Noble Obioma
Noble Obioma

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Deploy a React App to Amazon S3 using Github Actions

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)?

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is one of the numerous services offered by Amazon Web Services(AWS), an on-demand cloud computing platform. Amazon S3 provides scalable object storage through a web service interface that is used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web.

Github Actions?

GitHub Actions makes it easy to automate your workflows like build, test, and deploy when using Github, a platform that provides hosting for software development version control using Git.

In this post, we will go through:

  1. How to create an Amazon S3 bucket.
  2. How to set up an S3 bucket for Web Hosting.
  3. How to configure our Github actions to automatically deploy changes to the S3 bucket. In the end, deploy a React App to live.

Before we get started, you need to have:

  1. A Github account.
  2. An AWS Account

This exercise can be accommodated within the AWS Free Tier

Create Amazon S3 Bucket

First, log in to your AWS account. On the AWS Management Console, click S3 from the list of services under the Storage section or use the search bar.
Select S3

On the Amazon S3 page, click on Create Bucket
Create bucket

To create a bucket, provide a Bucket Name. An S3 bucket name must be unique amid all buckets universally in Amazon S3. Also, take note of the Region you are creating the bucket in. For this post, we are using US East (N. Virginia) which is us-east-1.
Create bucket

Uncheck the checkbox for Block all public access. After, click on Next and Review bucket configurations. Then click Create bucket.

Allow Access

Add Bucket Policy

This makes the contents of your bucket publicly available. This action is not recommended when working with S3 buckets, but for this our purpose this is fine.

Under Buckets, choose the name of your bucket(s3-github-actions) > Choose Permissions > Choose Bucket Policy.

Copy the following bucket policy, and paste it in the editor.

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Sid": "PublicReadGetObject",
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": "*",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": [
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Update the snippet to include your bucket name. In the bucket policy, <bucket-name> you must update this name to match your bucket name.
Then, click on Save.

Enable Static Website Hosting

Click Use this bucket to host a website.
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Type index.html in the Index document field and Save.
Alt Text

Note: Take note of the Endpoint URL, our website will be accessible in the browser using this URL.

Create and Push React App to GitHub

Now we have our S3 bucket, it's time to create and push our React App to GitHub.

  • First, create a New Repository on GitHub.

After creating a repository, You could:

  • Create a React application using Create React App or Parcel-Bundler and ensure that there is a build script in the package.json file will output to a dist folder.
  $ git init # initialize git locally
  $ git add . # add changes to git
  $ git commit -m "React App" # commit changes
  $ git remote add origin <your-github-repo-url.git> # add remote origin
  $ git push -u origin master # push to remote master branch
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To add new remote (this will add a new remote called actions):

  $ git remote add actions <your-github-repo-url.git> # add remote actions
  $ git push -u actions master # push to remote master branch
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To set up our workflow, we need to provide the AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY and AWS_REGION of the S3 bucket in other to connect successfully to Amazon S3.

Get AWS Authorization

On the AWS Console:

  1. Click on IAM under the Security, Identity, & Compliance section.
  2. Click on Users and select your preferred user.
  3. Under Security Credentials, click on Create Access Key. This will create an AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY, copy these values. You can also manage key access by either deleting or making it inactive.

Even with a confidante, you do not ever what to share your access keys. Your confidante might have a confidante. Who knows! πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ.

So that's why we will be passing some very important values as Secrets on GitHub then later access them in the workflow file using the expression syntax. ${{ <expression> }}

Back to Github

Click on the Settings tab, Select Secret on the left menu, then click on New Secret to add a secret providing the Name and Value.

Name Value
AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID your-aws-access-key-id
AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY your-aws-secret-access-key
AWS_REGION us-east-1 or your-aws-s3-region


Setup Github Actions

Now, we have the S3 bucket set up and a React app to deploy.

On the GitHub repository, click on the Actions tab to open the Github actions page. On the Actions page, click on the Set up this workflow or set up a workflow yourself -> button, this will redirect to a new page with a web editor containing some boilerplate code but we will get rid of that.

Click on Actions and Setup this workflow

First, let's name the workflow file. Change blank.yml to s3-depl. You can leave the filename as blank.yml, but it is best to give it a descriptive name.

name file

Copy and paste the code snippet into the editor. Copy and Paste, a developer's superpower πŸ¦ΈπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ¦ΈπŸ»β€β™€οΈ.

name: s3-depl

      - master

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - name: Configure AWS Credentials
        uses: aws-actions/configure-aws-credentials@v1
          aws-access-key-id: ${{ secrets.AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID }}
          aws-secret-access-key: ${{ secrets.AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY }}
          aws-region: ${{ secrets.AWS_REGION }}
      - name: Build React App
        run: npm install && npm run build
      - name: Deploy app build to S3 bucket
        run: aws s3 sync ./dist/ s3://<bucket-name> --delete
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Mehhnnn! So many lines!!πŸ₯Ά
Now, let's breakdown the code snippet above.

  • name: We define the name of this action. This will be used to identify the action amid may others you may have.

  • on: We define trigger with on : push also the branch. This workflow will run anytime you push code to the master branch.

  • jobs: Workflow run is made up of one or more jobs and they run in parallel by default.

    • steps: A job contains a sequence of tasks called steps. Steps can run commands, run setup tasks, or run action in your repository and each step starts either with a uses: or a name:.
    • actions/checkout@v2: This action checks-out your repository, so your workflow can access it.
    • aws-actions/configure-aws-credentials@v1: This configures AWS credentials and region environment variables for use in other GitHub Actions.
    • Build React App: This step block installs the node packages and runs the build in the package.json file, which creates a dist folder in the root directory.
    • Deploy app build to S3 bucket: This deploys the newly created build to S3 bucket <bucket-name> (replace <bucket-name> with the name of your S3 bucket. Mine is s3-github-actions).

To save, click on the Start Commit then Commit New File. This will,

  • save the action, creating a .github directory with a workflows directory in it that contains the new file s3-depl(the file name you used earlier)
  • Trigger the action.

To check the progress, click on the Actions tab.

Voila!! The action ran successfully. Yay! Party After Party!! 🎊

You can now check your S3 bucket, you would see that the build files have been uploaded to it.

s3 update

Our site is now live!!! On the browser, go to the Endpoint URL (http://<s3-bucket>.s3-website-<s3-region> that we came across when enabling Static Website Hosting. Now, any change you make to your react app will build and upload to your S3 bucket which will update live.
Live app

You can go on to work with Github Actions by triggering an action on Pull Request that might run some CI tests and perform several steps before deploying to your S3.

Thank you. 🎊

Discussion (8)

daveu1983 profile image

Great post, can I check do you upload everything in the build folder to the bucket or the build folder itself?

kessir profile image
Kessir Adjaho

The simplest way is to upload the content of the build folder so that the index.html is at the root of the S3 bucket.

If you upload the build folder you may have to tweak some S3 settings to get it working.

kaushpat22 profile image
Kaushal Patel

Once you push this live, Does it route anything through github actions when a user visits?

nobleobioma profile image
Noble Obioma Author

No, it will not route anything through GitHub Actions when a user visits your site. After a successful deploy to your S3 bucket, the GitHub action terminates and will only be triggered when you make a new push to the master branch.

kaushpat22 profile image
Kaushal Patel

Great, Thanks for clarifying! How will the website performance be if there are 100 users on the website at a time vs. 10,000 users at a time?

Thread Thread
nobleobioma profile image
Noble Obioma Author

Thank you for your question πŸ™‚. For Amazon S3, it is inherently scalable and scales seamlessly to serve thousands of HTTP or HTTPS requests per second without any changes to the architecture. But we can improve our current architecture by configuring the site to be served from the S3 bucket through AWS Cloudfront, which will give some benefits and more like:

  • Low latency across different locations with the use of edge locations.
  • Better page speed across different locations
007_dark_shadow profile image
Asif Vora


shivarajnaidu profile image

What about node installation.. Will it be available in the actions container. ?