3 Easy Steps to Offload Media Files from WordPress to AWS S3

Amazon S3 comes as a popular object storage service provided by Amazon Web Services. It allows you to store your application or website data with huge file sizes.

Fortunately, it’s possible for you to connect AWS S3 with your WordPress site. And you know what? Storing the Media Library in Amazon S3 proves the most common usage. It enables you to save any media type there, from images, videos, and audio to PDF documents.

However, the process of migrating files from WordPress to S3 is not an easy task, unless you have a powerful tool and a detailed guide at hand.

Our article today focuses on 3 steps to upload WordPress media to S3 using the S3 Smart Upload plugin. But before digging into the full guide, let’s discuss 3 reasons why you should move your files to S3.

Why Moving WordPress Media to S3

There are numerous benefits of storing files in AWS S3 that make it the most favored storage of all time. Below are some particular ones:

#1 Reduce Server Request

Offloading your images and videos from WordPress into Amazon S3 means that you will serve those files from this storage to visitors, instead of loading them directly from your hosting. This helps reduce requests to your server.

Your server doesn’t have to serve images, CSS, JS, videos, PDFs, zips, and all other files anymore. Since then, it can concentrate on processing PHP and delivering pages to visitors faster.

#2 Spead up Page Loading Time

You might not notice but large images and videos drag down your site speed. And at the same time, visitors have to wait until these pages are completely loaded. This definitely frustrates your users and impacts their browsing experience.

Cleaning up your media library by uploading/offloading all files to S3 significantly decreases the average page load times.

#3 Boost Your Site Ranking

Google or any search engine considers page load time as an important factor to determine your page and site position on search results. It’s because page speed affects the crawling process.

Storing all your files on AWS S3 speeds up your page loading time which results in better rankings on SERPs. As a result, you can drive more traffic to your site and improve the conversion rate.

How to Offload Media Files from WordPress into S3

Once you understand the reasons for storing your WordPress files in Amazon S3, it’s time to head to the next part of how to achieve that. We recommend the S3 Smart Upload (SSU) plugin.

Despite the recent launch, the plugin quickly receives love from hundreds of users globally thanks to its diverse features and ease of use.

Unlike other WordPress offload media plugins, SSU frees you from having to upload your files to the server first. You can directly upload files from the local to Amazon S3 and Wasabi bucket within seconds.

Here are 4 main steps you must go through to successfully offload images and videos from WordPress to Amazon S3.

Step 1: Install the SSU Plugin

First, you need to have the plugin installed and activated before taking any further steps:

  1. Go to PluginsAdd New in your WordPress admin dashboard
  2. Type “SSU” or "S3 Smart Upload" in the keyword box to search for the plugin
  3. Install and activate it

Step 2: Enter Access Keys

Once the SSU plugin is ready on your site, you now can go to S3 Smart Upload under the Media section.

Step 3: Configure S3 Access Keys

Once landing on the S3 Smart Upload page from the admin dashboard, you’ll see a box containing a code snippet. Copy it then open your wp-config.php file using an FTP client and paste it into the top of the file.

Remember to replace the phrases such as ‘your-access-key,’ ‘your bucket,’ etc. with your own access key and bucket name.


After saving your changes, reload this page and you can start uploading files.

Step 3: Upload Files to Amazon S3

Everything you need to do now is hit the Upload File button and pick files to offload from your computer. You can drag and drop files there too.

There is a “Show image under Media Library” option enabling you to add S3 media to the WordPress Library as well. In this way, you can easily insert them into pages and posts via the Add Media button while editing the content.

Noticeably, the SSU plugin allows you to decide which folder will be stored.

Simply pick the desired folder then hit the Upload File button then you’re done.

Enable Uploading Files from Frontend

S3 Smart Upload gives you a chance to let users offload files to Amazon S3 buckets while visiting your site. For example, you can collect candidates' resumes and applicants, accept guest post documents, and other contributions from users.

Our plugin simplifies the process of frontend file offloading with a shortcode. Just add the [ssu_upload] shortcode to any of your pages, posts, or custom post types and you're ready to display a button for users to upload files directly to your S3 or Wasabi buckets.

This is what visitors see from the front end.




Ready to Offload WordPress Media to AWS S3?

It’s of significance to offload your media files from WordPress to Amazon S3 for a couple of reasons. It assists you in reducing the server request which helps improve the page loading time and boost site ranking.

We’ve walked you through the full guide on how to move your WordPress images or videos to S3 directly.

If you still have any difficulty offloading WordPress images, videos, and audio to AWS S3? Share your concern in the comment box below. Check out our article on the reason why you should never host your WordPress videos.