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Amazon CloudFront is a global, content distribution network for delivering content stored in your S3 buckets. It's an additional service that's offered by Amazon that you must sign-up for in order to use. CF distributions provide an efficient way of delivering key content to end users all over the world by using a global network of "edge locations." An edge location is a geographical site where CloudFront caches copies of commonly downloaded objects such as web pages, images, media files, etc. Since EC2 instances are region-specific, delivering content with low latencies around the world can be difficult. In order to provide faster download times for your global userbase, set up CloudFront distributions for commonly downloaded assets.
An origin server for CloudFront is an S3 bucket that contains the original version ("master copy") of an object. When a user requests one of the objects in your CF distribution, CloudFront determines which edge location is best able to serve the content for future requests. Although normal latencies are expected for the first request, subsequent requests will be downloaded much faster because a copy of the object will remain cached at the edge location until the object's TTL expires. (default = 1hr)
There are two types of CF distributions that you can create:
You can set up a CloudFront distribution to serve both public and private content. See Serving Private Content.
To learn more, check out our blog post: Amazon releases CloudFront: a cloud content distribution network or see Amazon CloudFront or the Getting Started Guide.
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