How to deploy application code from S3 using AWS CodeDeploy

In a previous post, we discussed the top 5 deployment tools for AWS. Out of them, AWS CodeDeploy is a tool which is especially designed for AWS. It is a new service by Amazon Web Services which was launched during the Re:Invent 2014 conference held in Las Vegas last November. The primary focus of AWS CodeDeploy is to automate deployment process, minimize downtime, easy adoption and centralized control.
In this post, we will see how you can leverage on AWS CodeDeploy to deploy your latest application code to your EC2 instances. AWS CodeDeploy deploys applications from Amazon S3 or GitHub. We will focus on deploying application using Amazon S3 here.
Before starting, please go through the terminology used across this post which are specific to AWS CodeDeploy:

  • Application: Unique name provided to your application.
  • Revision: A combination of archive files with Application Specification File (AppSec). The archive file comprises source code, deployment scripts, web pages, executables etc. Revisions are stored in S3 or GitHub repositories.
  • Deployment Configuration: set of deployment rules and deployment success and failure conditions that AWSCodeDeploy uses during a deployment.
  • Deployment Group: set of deployment targets, i.e.: individual instances or autoscaled instances. Deployment on individual instances works based on tags.

Deploying code from S3 to CodeDeploy: application prerequisites

Operating System: Amazon Linux 2014.09.1
Application Type: Simple HTML, CSS, JS application
Region: N. Virginia (us-east-1)


We need to have two IAM roles: a Service Role and an Instance Profile Role.
Service Role: Service Role access will be granted to AWS CodeDeploy to read through your EC2 instance tags. For auto-scaled instances, it looks for your autoscaling name tags. Service Role Policy is as following:

"Version": "2012-10-17",
"Statement": [
     "Action": [
     "Effect": "Allow",
     "Resource": "*"

Once the IAM role is created, you need to establish a trusted relationship for this role with AWSCodeDeploy. Modify trust relationship policy for this particular role and set it to below mentioned policy :

"Version": "2012-10-17",
"Statement": [
    "Sid": "",
    "Effect": "Allow",
    "Principal": {
    "Service": [
    "Action": "sts:AssumeRole"

Instance Profile Role: EC2 instances needs to be launched with proper permissions to access files from S3 buckets.

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
        "Action": [
        "Effect": "Allow",
        "Resource": "*"

Building Deployment Revision

To build a deployment revision for S3, you need to create a compressed archive file with your application code and an application specification file (AppSpec). AppSpec is the heart of CodeDeploy and is written in YAML. AppSpec defines how the application code will be deployed on deployment targets and which deployment lifecycle event hooks to run in response to various deployment lifecycle events. It should be in the root of an application source code’s directory structure.
High Level Structure of AppSpec File:

version: 0.0
os: operating-system-name
files: source-destination-files-mappings
permissions: permissions-specifications
hooks: deployment-lifecycle-event-mappings

In the structure above, you can find the following fields:
Version: version of your application
OS: Operating system of your deployment targets, i.e.: Linux or Windows
Files: name of the files copied to deployment target
Permissions: how permissions are applied to files copied to deployment target
Hooks: scripts to run at specific deployment lifecycle events during the deployment. The available event hooks are:

  • ApplicationStop: events to be performed when application is stopped
  • DownloadBundle: occurs when CodeDeploy agent downloads bundle from S3 bucket
  • BeforeInstall: occurs before AWSCodeDeploy starts deployment of application code to deployment target
  • Install: AWSCodeDeploy copies files to deployment targets
  • AfterInstall: occurs once files are copied and installed to deployment targets
  • ApplicationStart: occurs just before your application revision is started on the deployment target
  • ValidateService: occurs after the service has been validated

The sample AppSpec File used for this example deployment is as below:

version: 0.0
os: linux
   - source: /
     destination: /var/www/html
   - object: /var/www/html
     pattern: "**"
     owner: apache
     group: apache
     mode: 755
       - file
   - location: Scripts/
     runas: root
   - location: Scripts/
     runas: root
   - location: Scripts/
     runas: root

The Sample AWSCodeDeploy application used for this blogpost is available over here.

Creating the CodeDeploy Application and Performing Deployment

1. Launch an EC2 instance with the Instance Profile role created before, a tag that you like (e.g. Environment = Production or Name = CodeDeployDemo) and with the following userdata :

sudo yum update
sudo yum install aws-cli
cd /home/ec2-user
aws s3 cp s3://aws-codedeploy-us-east-1/latest/install . --region us-east-1
chmod +x ./install
sudo ./install auto

2. Go back to the AWS Management Console and select the “CodeDeploy” service.
AWSCodeDeploy Getting Started
Click on Get Started Now to create your first application and deployment group. It provides you two options:

  • Sample Deployment allows you to deploy a sample WordPress application on EC2 instances.
  • Custom Deployment allows you to deploy your application on existing EC2 instances.

AWSCodeDeploy Deployment Type
We will pick with the Custom Deployment model.
3. Create your application
A CodeDeploy application helps you to create deployment groups and to identify deployment targets (EC2 instances) on which a particular revision is applied.
To create an application, you need to provide:

  • Application Name: suitable name for your CodeDeploy application
  • Deployment Group Name: name provided to your deployment group on which you will be deploying your application
  • Amazon EC2 tags: specified key-value pair basis on which deployment targets are identified. For auto-scaling, you need to provide auto-scaling group name.
  • Deployment Configuration: Desired deployment configuration. This determines how application will be deploy on EC2 instances. There are three possible options i.e., CodeDeployDefault.AllAtOnce, CodeDeployDefault.HalfAtOnce, CodeDeployDefault.OnceAtOnce.
  • Service Role: This is the service role created by you during pre-requisites step 1.

AWS CodeDeploy Application Creation
AWS CodeDeploy Application CreationOnce all the necessary details are filled up, click on “Create Application” and move towards creating new deployments and publishing new revisions.
4. Create new deployment
Once the application is created, it is time to create a new deployment which will deploy a revision to deployment targets.
To create a deployment, go to that application and select deploy new revision.
AWSCodeDeploy Deployment Group
For new deployment, we need to pass:

  • Application Name: name of the application you created in a previous step.
  • Deployment Group: select deployment group you created in a previous step.
  • Revision Type: whether deployment code is available at S3 or GitHub
  • Revision Location: S3/GitHub path of the deployment code
  • Deployment Description: Description about this deployment
  • Deployment Config: Desired deployment configuration. This determines how application will be deploy on EC2 instances. There are three possible options: CodeDeployDefault.AllAtOnce, CodeDeployDefault.HalfAtOnce, CodeDeployDefault.OnceAtOnce.

AWSCodeDeploy Deployment Creation
AWSCodeDeploy Deployment Creation
That’s it. Deployment process has started and you can monitor deployment process on the next screen.
AWSCodeDeploy Creation Progress
The deployment process goes from Created to In Progress to Succeeded.
AWSCodeDeploy Successful Completion
Once the deployment process is completed, you can go back and view your application.
If you used the above application, you will see something like this:
Sample AWSCodeDeploy Application

Re-Deploying Application with latest revision

Deploying your latest revision is very easy. All you need to do is to build a compressed archive file (sample new build archive file) and put it into S3 bucket. Once done, go back to your application and create new deployment where you need to pass latest S3 archive file path as revision location.
New revision of sample application used for this post is available over here.
New AWSCodeDeploy Deployment Creation
Now, initiate the deployment procedure and new application code will be deployed to your instances.
AWSCodeDeploy Successful Deployment
Once done, go back to your browser and browse the application using the public IP address of your instance.
Updated AWSCodeDeploy Application

Limitations of AWS CodeDeploy

  • Only available for N.Virginia and Oregon region.
  • Existing running instances without IAM roles cannot use AWS CodeDeploy. You need to re-launch them using Instance Profile IAM role created above under Pre-requisites section.

Written by

Sanket Dangi

Head of Managed Services at REAN Cloud. Before joining REAN Cloud, I was CEO and Founder of StraightArc Solutions which was later acquired by REAN Cloud.I started my career working on cloud computing. Loves to talk about DevOps, System Administration, Scalability, High Availability, Disaster Recovery and Cloud Security. Apart from work, I love to meet people, travel and watch sports.

Related Posts

— February 11, 2019

WaitCondition Controls the Pace of AWS CloudFormation Templates

AWS's WaitCondition can be used with CloudFormation templates to ensure required resources are running.As you may already be aware, AWS CloudFormation is used for infrastructure automation by allowing you to write JSON templates to automatically install, configure, and bootstrap your ...

Read more
  • AWS
— January 24, 2019

The 9 AWS Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?

As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in the cloud.As the market leader and most mature p...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS certifications
— November 28, 2018

Two New EC2 Instance Types Announced at AWS re:Invent 2018 – Monday Night Live

The announcements at re:Invent just keep on coming! Let’s look at what benefits these two new EC2 instance types offer and how these two new instances could be of benefit to you. If you're not too familiar with Amazon EC2, you might want to familiarize yourself by creating your first Am...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2
  • re:Invent 2018
— November 21, 2018

Google Cloud Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2018, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the first time. In t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
Khash Nakhostin
— November 13, 2018

Understanding AWS VPC Egress Filtering Methods

In order to understand AWS VPC egress filtering methods, you first need to understand that security on AWS is governed by a shared responsibility model where both vendor and subscriber have various operational responsibilities. AWS assumes responsibility for the underlying infrastructur...

Read more
  • Aviatrix
  • AWS
  • VPC
— November 10, 2018

S3 FTP: Build a Reliable and Inexpensive FTP Server Using Amazon’s S3

Is it possible to create an S3 FTP file backup/transfer solution, minimizing associated file storage and capacity planning administration headache?FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a fast and convenient way to transfer large files over the Internet. You might, at some point, have conf...

Read more
  • Amazon S3
  • AWS
— October 18, 2018

Microservices Architecture: Advantages and Drawbacks

Microservices are a way of breaking large software projects into loosely coupled modules, which communicate with each other through simple Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).Microservices have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The modular architectural style,...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Microservices
— October 2, 2018

What Are Best Practices for Tagging AWS Resources?

There are many use cases for tags, but what are the best practices for tagging AWS resources? In order for your organization to effectively manage resources (and your monthly AWS bill), you need to implement and adopt a thoughtful tagging strategy that makes sense for your business. The...

Read more
  • AWS
  • cost optimization
— September 26, 2018

How to Optimize Amazon S3 Performance

Amazon S3 is the most common storage options for many organizations, being object storage it is used for a wide variety of data types, from the smallest objects to huge datasets. All in all, Amazon S3 is a great service to store a wide scope of data types in a highly available and resil...

Read more
  • Amazon S3
  • AWS
— September 18, 2018

How to Optimize Cloud Costs with Spot Instances: New on Cloud Academy

One of the main promises of cloud computing is access to nearly endless capacity. However, it doesn’t come cheap. With the introduction of Spot Instances for Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) in 2009, spot instances have been a way for major cloud providers to sell sp...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • SpotInst
— August 23, 2018

What are the Benefits of Machine Learning in the Cloud?

A Comparison of Machine Learning Services on AWS, Azure, and Google CloudArtificial intelligence and machine learning are steadily making their way into enterprise applications in areas such as customer support, fraud detection, and business intelligence. There is every reason to beli...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Machine Learning
— August 17, 2018

How to Use AWS CLI

The AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) is for managing your AWS services from a terminal session on your own client, allowing you to control and configure multiple AWS services.So you’ve been using AWS for awhile and finally feel comfortable clicking your way through all the services....

Read more
  • AWS