How To Deliver Secure Video Content With WordPress & Amazon S3

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 <a href=”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.

Did you like this video? Have you tried either of these tools? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

22 thoughts on “How To Deliver Secure Video Content With WordPress & Amazon S3”

  1. Why do you say that YouTube is less robust for serving private video? The unlisted function would work for almost everyone in this situation, wouldn’t it? Is the fear that users would manually share the link with others?

  2. The unlisted function on YouTube is great for free content but there are a number of drawbacks for premium content.

    1. You don’t retain absolute control so they can delete it at any time.
    2. In many cases they will overlay adverts or run pre-roll ads to which you do not benefit.
    3. It is beyond easy for people to share links to your videos and if they contain premium or restricted content then you are losing potential revenue.

    Further to my last point there are entire sites dedicated to hacking, cracking and distributing premium content for free.When somebody shares your content via these sites it is not uncommon to receive thousands of unauthorised (unpaid) hits to premium content and in some cases have the unauthorised version rank above or next to you in the search engines which hurts your natural sales in addition to people that will try and circumvent restrictions anyway.

  3. Hi There, I wonder if you could help me? I need to store private videos but these vidoes need to be attached to a private member page on my wordpress site. that is, they buy a particular program, then get sent daily log ins to a private page for 28 days. during these 28 days they get a video but i have no idea how to get the video into the page and keep it private. PLEASE help me:)

  4. I agree CloudBerry Explorer is the best tool available to manage AWS on Windows.
    But I find that S3Media Stream has more powerful security options then S3Flowshield mentioned above because it works with private streaming via CloudFront as opposed to progressive download via an S3 bucket used by S3flowshield.
    Progressive download can be downloaded very easily since it is locally stored in the temporary folder of the user, while RTMP streaming only feeds little chunks to the video card at a time.
    Support of S3Media Stream is simply fantastic. They helped me configure my cloudfront distributions all the way. I know the guy from S3Flowshield is helpful as well (I once tried his software) but the folks at wp21century.com do not only check your AWS account, they also give security advice to keep your account itself as safe as possible.

  5. Does S3Flowshield prevent downloading of files? Can users download videos by tools like IDM or DownloadHelper?
    Hard to understand but no samples are provided @S3Flowshield website.
    Considering buying the plug-in, I need to find this out.
    Thanks.

  6. I’m not 100% sure on the specific tools you mention, however it generates a unique token each time so the download links can’t be shared. However anyone that already has access to download will probably be able to download via a manager.

  7. Psychoo, everything can be stolen from the internet, you can only make it difficult. s3flowshield does a good job but s3media stream offers a triple layer of protection: rtmp streaming, signed URLs, link encryption and a dynamic watermark for videos and audios with details of your members to discourage screen capturing. That’s the main difference.

    And yes, Daniel, you need a JWplayer license but it is worth it in my book.

  8. S3 Flowshield doesnt work real well anymore especially with the Avada theme. It doesnt work at all!!!!

  9. S3 flowshield does not play video on any Android device… And their support essentially says “too bad”. Pass on S3FlowShield if you are searching.

  10. You can create a WordPress based website and embed YouTube videos in members area. Check out this plugin that protects YouTube videos from unauthorized sharing – embedprivatevideo.com.

  11. I haven’t tried this plugin but if a YouTube video is saved as unlisted then people who discover the URL one way or another can still see it. Recently I’ve been using Vimeo more for its ability to lock playback to a certain domain so the only way to view it is through approved channels even if you know the ID. The Vimeo Pro or Business plans are a lot less complex than S3 and more secure than YouTube for private or paid content.

  12. The plugin solves exactly that problem. It allows you to embed Private videos, as it’s name says. And it’s cheaper solution compared to Vimeo Pro.

  13. Looks interesting but the pricing seems weird. Advertised at different prices in English pounds. And when you go to check out, it’s more than double the advertised price?

    I’m guessing that they are charging you up front for a year of the ongoing monthly fee?

    Another thing that seems rather off putting is that you still have to deal with the YouTube logo perched majestically atop your video. It would be nicer if the YouTube controls could be changed or removed.

  14. Wow, you are right. The prices on that plugin have gone crazy! The 99 “lifetime” version comes out at 207 in the cart and plus annual fees. You can get setup with Vimeo Pro for less than than that and it includes hosting, unlimited domains (plugin is limited to 10), additional security features, customisation options, plus you can remove all Vimeo branding.

  15. If you are set on using Amazon S3 for video then another solution I’ve had success with is Easy Video Suite (Link: http://link4.biz/easyvideoplayer ) but it is primarily for video whereas S3Flowshield could also protect downloadable files such as Word Documents or PDFs. That said I’ve fully converted to using Vimeo Pro at the moment.

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