Amazon Gets More Competitive With Announcement Of Custom SSL Support For Static & Dynamic Content Delivery

Late in the day on Tuesday, Amazon announced that custom SSL domain names and root domain hosting support features have now been enabled for content owners who want to deliver static and dynamic content via Amazon’s CloudFront delivery service. These two new features are something a lot of content owners have been waiting on and many I have spoken with have been wanting to move to or use Amazon, but couldn’t until Amazon supported these features, especially SSL domain support. While Amazon still has more work to do before they have most of the same functionality as Akamai’s dynamic site acceleration (DSA) product, this new announcement by Amazon opens up a much larger portion of the market to them and puts more pressure on other CDNs. Not to mention, the pricing they just announced with this, not surprisingly, is really cheap. Here’s more details on what Amazon now supports:

Custom SSL Domain Names

  • Custom SSL Certificate support lets content owners deliver content over HTTPS using their own domain name and SSL certificate. This gives visitors lower latency and higher reliability along with the security benefits of CloudFront over an SSL connection that uses their own domain name. Amazon customers can also configure CloudFront to use HTTPS connection for origin fetches so that the data is encrypted end-to-end from origin to the end user.
  • Customers can sign up for an invitation to use the Custom SSL Certificate feature by filling out the form on the AWS website and once approved, customers can upload the SSL certificate and use the AWS Management Console to associate it with their CloudFront distributions.
  • Customers will pay $600 per month for each custom SSL certificate associated with one or more CloudFront distributions. This monthly fee is pro-rated by the hour. For example, if a customer had a custom SSL certificate associated with at least one CloudFront distribution for just 24 hours (i.e. 1 day) in the month of June, their total charge for using the custom SSL certificate feature in June will be (1 day / 30 days) * $600 = $20.

Root Domain Hosting

  • With Root Domain Hosting, customers can use Amazon CloudFront to deliver content from the root domain, or “zone apex” of their website. For example, they will be able to configure both and to point at the same CloudFront distribution, without the performance penalty or availability risk of managing a redirect service.
  • To use this feature, customers create an Amazon Route 53 Alias record to map the root of their domain to their CloudFront distribution.
  • There will be no extra fees from Route 53, as Alias queries that are mapped to a CloudFront distribution are provided free of charge.

These two newly supported features in CloudFront come on the heels of them recently adding functionality for configurable minimum time-to-live (TTL), query string caching, support for multiple origins and URL based cache behaviors. Add in new support for cookies, front-end-optimization, lower pricing and new edge locations and Amazon’s CloudFront service is quickly becoming a real-world content delivery service, for static and dynamic objects, that many content owners are relying on. I continue to hear more and more large content owners using Amazon and that’s only going to grow faster, now that CloudFront has even more functionality.

As I blogged about back in February, one of the biggest reasons companies have taken note of Amazon’s new dynamic content delivery service is the fact that Amazon doesn’t charge a premium for their service, something most other vendors do. Amazon’s dynamic content delivery pricing is exactly the same as their CloudFront CDN pricing. There are also no platform fees, setup fees, overage charges, and many customers find that they don’t need to use expensive professional services to configure dynamic applications, further decreasing the cost of using CloudFront for dynamic content delivery.

Amazon’s strength, with all of their AWS services, is their ability to develop products that specifically target the largest portion of any market they enter, make it simple and easy to use, bring transparency to the offering and offer low pricing. That’s the definition of a company that has the ability to disrupt any market it enters and that’s exactly what Amazon is starting to do with their CloudFront delivery service and will continue to do even more over time.