Deploy React App to Amazon S3 Using Github Actions

Published on 20 Apr, 2022

We are going to setup a development work-flow using which, our code pushed to Github will be automatically deployed to AWS S3.

So Far

I am learning this as part of Tambola game development. So far, I have:

  • created a Github repo with a starter React code
  • build the React code locally and deployed the distribution files to AWS S3 manually. Here is the S3 link.

We are going to see how we can automize the deployment process.


If we need to deploy our React application to AWS, we need to use our AWS credentials. In the same line, if Github needs to deploy our applcation to AWS, it needs valid AWS credentials.

For that, we create an IAM user to be used by Github. This IAM user will only have enough permission to deploy our code.

Here is the link to AWS documentation about creating IAM users.

I created a user with username githubuser. You can give any user name. Only programmatic access is required for this user.

Also, I gave permission only to S3 service. My policy json looks like this:

  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
      "Sid": "VisualEditor0",
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": ["s3:*", "s3-object-lambda:*"],
      "Resource": "*"

After creating the IAM user, we will get an Access Key ID and Secret Access. Store it somewhere safe.

Github Secrets

When Github does the deployment for us to AWS S3, it requires AWS credentials which we created. These credentials must be stored somewhere safe, but at the same time accessible to Github actions. Github Secrets is the answer.

Go to our repo > Settings > Secrets > Actions. Add two repository secrets with name AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY. Provide the credential values to each secrets.

Github secrets

We just set two environment variables in Github environment. We will be using those in Github actions.

Github Actions

Our goal is to build and deploy code from dev branch to AWS S3, when code is pushed to dev branch. Github Actions is a CI/CD platform.

To use Github Actions, create a folder .github/workflows in the project root. We write workflows in YAML files. Create dev-build-deploy.yml file under workflows directory. Paste below YAML code:

# Name of workflow as seen in Github actions tab
name: dev-build-and-deploy
# Run workflow only on push to dev branch
      - dev
  # To build the project
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - name: Checking out code
        uses: actions/checkout@v3
      - name: Installing Node.js
        uses: actions/setup-node@v3
          node-version: "16"
      - name: Installing dependencies
        run: npm install
      - name: Building project
        run: npm run build
      - name: Configure AWS Credentials
        uses: aws-actions/configure-aws-credentials@v1
          aws-access-key-id: ${{ secrets.AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID }}
          aws-secret-access-key: ${{ secrets.AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY }}
          aws-region: us-west-1

      - name: Deploy to S3 bucket
        run: aws s3 sync ./dist/ s3://dev-tambola --delete

We can see above YAML content as the instructions to Github. Where ever we see name key, that will be used by Github Actions console to show the message.

Here are the different steps defined in the YAML file:

  • Run the workflow only when someone pushes code to dev branch
  • Take a VM with latest Ubuntu OS for running the next steps
  • Checkout the code from dev branch
  • Install Node.js v16 in the VM to enable NPM command
  • Install project dependencies
  • Build the project to create /dist folder with deployable files
  • Configure AWS credentials using aws-actions
  • Upload contents from /dist folder to our S3 bucket

Save the YAML file. Then, push all code to remote dev branch. Immediately, go to Github actions tab in Github site. There we can see our workflow running.

Github actions

Once all the steps are complete, we can see our S3 link updated with latest changes.


In this article, I hope I could explain things related to:

  • Create AWS IAM user for CI/CD pipelines
  • Store credentials in Github secrets instead of using directly in code
  • Enable Github Actions workflow in a repository
  • Write Github Actions YAML file to define build and deployment rules