I build most (almost all) of my sites with WordPress, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the only solution that you will ever need. One of the first hurdles I had to come over was how to deliver secure video content through my blogs and membership sites.
Public video content is a simple choice; YouTube is one of the biggest search engines, has amazing viral potential and best of all does everything you need for free. In fact you can even earn money with its built-in ad system and partner platforms. Unfortunately when it comes to serving private members/customer only content it’s a little less robust and that is where Amazon S3 comes in…
When you need to protect videos and want full control over the access levels Amazon S3 is very powerful. It’s a completely scalable cloud solution where you only pay for your usage, you can host your content around the globe and most importantly you can secure your videos. The problem is that it hasn’t always been the easiest solution to use if you are a non-techie!
When I started using Amazon S3 I searched long and hard for instructions on how to get everything set up and I still managed to mess up a few times in the beginning (110,000 stolen downloads anyone? >.< ). Luckily after using their services for a while now I’ve managed to find two solutions that allow me to securely manage my video content with ease.
The first is CloudBerry Explorer and it’s a simple desktop application that allows you to explore your Amazon S3 buckets in a similar fashion to the Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. You can drag and drop your uploads and set access levels in just a couple of clicks. It’s definitely my favourite tool for managing S3 files although it is Windows Only (Mac Users – I would recommend Cyberduck).
Once your video files are in your Amazon S3 bucket you will still need an extra solution to deliver them securely through WordPress though and that is where this next tool comes in handy. It’s a WordPress plugin called S3Flowshield and it has saved me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in lost revenue and stolen bandwidth. It generates authenticated URLs for your files and streaming content so that only your members/customers can get access to your files even if the web address for your files are leaked by hackers, crackers and pirates. This is probably a lot more common than you think even for smaller businesses!
The video below shows you both of these tools and explains how you can start uploading your videos to Amazon S3 today. I use them both almost daily and would highly recommend them to anyone that is looking to deliver secure videos on WordPress.