CloudFront app for the Elefant CMS

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1.0 2012-05-11 13:40 UTC

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Last update: 2024-06-25 06:20:32 UTC



This is a ridiculously simple app to help integrate an Elefant website with the Amazon CloudFront content distribution network (CDN).


1. Sign up for an AWS account and add CloudFront to your services in the AWS Management Console.

2. Still in the AWS Management Console, go to CloudFront and click the Create Distribution button. Choose the following options in the Create Distribution Wizard:

  • Delivery Method: Download
  • Distribution Type: Custom Origin
  • Origin DNS Name: www.example.com

Be sure to change www.example.com to match your website's domain name.

You can find more information about the other settings here. Now click Continue.

Create Distribution Wizard

3. Optional Under Distribution Details, choose a subdomain like cdn.example.com and enter it into the CNAMEs field. We'll be pointing this CNAME to CloudFront in our DNS settings in a later step. For more info on the other settings, click here.

Distribution Details

4. Optional Once you've created your CloudFront distribution, copy the domain name shown in the Domain Name tab. Log into your registrar and add a CNAME to your DNS as follows:

Subdomain         Record Type   IP or Domain
cdn.example.com   CNAME         d604721fxaaqy9.cloudfront.net

5. Copy the cloudfront app into your Elefant install's apps folder, then visit Extras > CloudFront in the Elefant admin toolbar and enter the Amazon AWS CDN domain name (from step 3) into the domain field.

If you decided not to use a CNAME and skipped steps 3 and 4, simply copy the domain under the Domain Name tab for your newly created CloudFront distribution and use that instead.


In your views and layouts, any files you want to serve through CloudFront should be changed to look like this:

<img src="{! cloudfront/files/images/logo.png !}" />

The file path is simply wrapped in {! !} tags (the single spaces are optional and are ignored), and the file path gets cloudfront added to it. This passes the file path to the CloudFront app's main handler to be rewritten as a CloudFront reference.

You can also call it directly via PHP like this:


echo $this->run ('cloudfront/files/images/logo.png');


Alternately, you can simply refer to the same file paths directly on the CDN like this:

<img src="https://cdn.example.com/files/images/logo.png" />

This is more direct and eliminates the extra handler call. The dynamic handler does do some extra checking of the validity of the requested file, which can be useful for dynamic requests where the file name is not known ahead of time, at the expense of being slightly less optimized. So where possible, use a direct URL, and where the file requested is dynamic, it may be better to use the handler.

Gzip compression

CloudFront doesn't automatically gzip files on its own, but you can add a few lines to your server configuration to ensure that it correctly sends gzipped files whenever possible. Here is a brief configuration for Nginx users that will tell CloudFront to serve correctly gzipped files:

gzip on;
gzip_http_version 1.0;
gzip_proxied any;
gzip_types text/css application/x-javascript;
gzip_vary on;