What is S3 Browser?

S3 Browser is a Freeware Windows client for Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) A part of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Amazon S3 is a well regarded, highly available, resilient object storage service offering industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. If there is a criticism it is that it can be hard to navigate and hard to ensure security is implemented thoroughly. S3 Browser can help shine some light on your S3 Buckets and files, and its dead easy to use and powerful.

Main features

  • Access Key ID based login
  • Upload / Download with built in data integrity
  • Publish
  • Browse, create and delete S3 buckets
  • Share S3 buckets
  • Use other shared buckets
  • Set Access Controls on S3 Buckets and files
  • Create encrypted backups
  • Manage Amazon CloudFront

TL:DR: If you use Windows, then this is an invaluable tool for working with Amazon S3 files and buckets from multiple Amazon S3 accounts. You should download it, upgrade to Pro and expense the modest cost! If you don't use Windows this is not for you.

Killer features

Data integrity checking in file uploads and downloads

Data integrity checking uses a calculated hash of a file, to determine that the source and destination of an uploaded or downloaded file are identical. If you are working with data in any kind of professional setting these options ought to be turned on.

If you always use S3 Browser for uploading, and turn this feature on, S3 Browser writes the hash in file metadata during the file upload. When you download the file, S3 Browser uses the hash from the metadata to compare it with the hash calculated for the downloaded file. 

Thats brilliant, and very likely exactly what you want.

  • To turn it on, Choose Options, Data Integrity and select the check boxes.
  • Now try an upload to your bucket Files: Upoad or Ctrl-U
S3 Browser : Options : Data Integrity tab
S3 Browser : Files Menu

Finding the sha256 hash of your file

  • Select the file you just uploaded and look at the headers tab
  • You should see one for x-amz-meta-sha256 which contains the sha256 value of the hash of the file. This will always be the same if calculated for an identical file.

So S3 Browser can help you be assured with proof that a given file is identical to a downloaded or uploaded copy.

S3 Browser : File Headers showing x-amz-meta-sha256 - the sha256 hash of the file
S3 Browser : File Headers showing x-amz-meta-sha256 - the sha256 hash of the file

If you have historic data it won't have the sha256 header. Using S3 Browser to do your uploads with data integrity on ensures the meta data is set. Whether this works for you is dependent on your workflow.

See also