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      CORS

      Working with CORS Policies on Linode Object Storage


      Linode Object Storage offers a globally-available, S3-compatible storage solution. Whether you are storing critical backup files or data for a static website, S3 object storage can efficiently answer the call.

      To make the most of object storage, you may need to access the data from other domains. For instance, your dynamic applications may opt to use S3 for static file storage.

      This leaves you dealing with Cross-Origin Resource Sharing, or CORS. However, it’s often not clear how to effectively navigate CORS policies or deal with issues as they come up.

      This tutorial aims to clarify how to work with CORS and S3. It covers tools and approaches for effectively reviewing and managing CORS policies for Linode Object Storage or most other S3-compatible storage solutions.

      CORS and S3 Storage – What you Need to Know

      Linode Object Storage is an S3, which stands for simple storage service. With S3, data gets stored as objects in “buckets.” This gives S3s a flat approach to storage, in contrast to the hierarchical and logistically more complicated storage structures like traditional file systems. Objects stored in S3 can also be given rich metadata.

      CORS defines how clients and servers from different domains may share resources. Generally, CORS policies restrict access to resources to requests from the same domain. By managing your CORS policies, you can open up services to requests from specified origin domains, or from any domains whatsoever.

      An S3 like Linode Object Storage can provide excellent storage for applications. However, you also want to keep your data as secure as possible while also allowing your applications the access they need.

      This is where managing CORS policies on your object storage service becomes imperative. Applications and other tools often need to access stored resources from particular domains. Implementing specific CORS policies controls what kinds of requests, and responses, each origin domain is allowed.

      Working with CORS Policies on Linode Object Storage

      One of the best tools for managing policies on your S3, including Linode Object Storage, is s3cmd. Follow along with our guide
      Using S3cmd with Object Storage to:

      1. Install s3cmd on your system. The installation takes place on the system from which you intend to manage your S3 instance.

      2. Configure s3cmd for your Linode Object Storage instance. This includes indicating the instance’s access key, endpoint, etc.

      You can verify the connection to your object storage instance with the command to list your buckets. This example lists the one bucket used for this tutorial, example-cors-bucket:

      s3cmd ls
      
      2022-09-24 16:13  s3://example-cors-bucket

      Once you have s3cmd set up for your S3 instance, use it to follow along with the upcoming sections of this tutorial. These show you how to use the tool to review and deploy CORS policies.

      Reviewing CORS Policies for Linode Object Storage

      You can get the current CORS policies for your S3 bucket using the info flag for s3cmd. The command provides general information on the designated bucket, including its policies:

      s3cmd info s3://example-cors-bucket
      
      s3://example-cors-bucket/ (bucket):
         Location:  default
         Payer:     BucketOwner
         Expiration Rule: none
         Policy:    none
         CORS:      <CORSConfiguration xmlns="http://s3.amazonaws.com/doc/2006-03-01/"><CORSRule><AllowedMethod>GET</AllowedMethod><AllowedMethod>PUT</AllowedMethod><AllowedMethod>DELETE</AllowedMethod><AllowedMethod>HEAD</AllowedMethod><AllowedMethod>POST</AllowedMethod><AllowedOrigin>*</AllowedOrigin><AllowedHeader>*</AllowedHeader></CORSRule></CORSConfiguration>
         ACL:       31ffbc26-d6ed-4bc3-8a14-ad78fe8f95b6: FULL_CONTROL

      This bucket already has a CORS policy in place. This is because it was set up with the CORS Enabled setting using the Linode Cloud Manager web interface.

      The basic CORS policy above is fairly permissive, allowing access for any request method from any domain. Keep reading to see how you can fine-tune such policies to better fit your particular needs.

      Deploying CORS Policies on Linode Object Storage

      As you can see above, the Linode Cloud Manager can set up a general CORS policy for your bucket. However, if you need more fine-grained control, you need to deploy custom CORS policies.

      Creating CORS policies follows a similar methodology to the one outlined in our
      Define Access and Permissions using Bucket Policies tutorial.

      These next sections break down the particular fields needed for CORS policies and how each affects your bucket’s availability.

      Configuring Policies

      The overall structure for CORS policies on S3 looks like the following. While policies on your object storage instance can generally be set with JSON or XML, CORS policies must use the XML format:

      File: cors_policies.xml
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      <CORSConfiguration>
        <CORSRule>
          <AllowedHeader>*</AllowedHeader>
      
          <AllowedMethod>GET</AllowedMethod>
          <AllowedMethod>PUT</AllowedMethod>
          <AllowedMethod>POST</AllowedMethod>
          <AllowedMethod>DELETE</AllowedMethod>
          <AllowedMethod>HEAD</AllowedMethod>
      
          <AllowedOrigin>*</AllowedOrigin>
      
          <ExposeHeader>*</ExposeHeader>
      
          <MaxAgeSeconds>3000</MaxAgeSeconds>
        </CORSRule>
      </CORSConfiguration>

      To break this structure down:

      • The policy introduces a list of one or more <CORSRule> elements within a <CORSConfiguration> element. Each <CORSRule> element contains policy details.

      • Policies tend to have some combination of the five types of elements shown in the example above.

        The <AllowedHeader>, <AllowedMethod>, and <AllowedOrigin> elements are almost always present. Further, there may be multiple of these elements within a single <CORSRule>.

        The other two elements, <ExposeHeader> and <MaxAgeSeconds>, are optional. There can be multiple <ExposeHeader> elements, but only one <MaxAgeSeconds>.

      • <AllowedHeader> lets you specify request headers allowed for the given policy. You can find a list of commonly used request headers in AWS’s
        Common Request Headers documentation.

      • <AllowedMethod> lets you specify request methods that the given policy applies to. The full range of supported HTTP request methods is shown in the example above.

      • <AllowedOrigin> lets you specify request origins for the policy. These are the domains from which cross-origin requests can be made.

      • <ExposeHeader> can specify which response headers the policy allows to be exposed. You can find a list of commonly used response headers in AWS’s
        Common Response Headers documentation.

      • <MaxAgeSeconds> can specify the amount of time, in seconds, that browsers are allowed to cache the response to preflight requests. Having this cache allows the browser to repeat the original requests without having to send another preflight request.

      Example CORS Policies

      To give more concrete ideas of how you can work with CORS policies, the following are two additional example policies. One provides another simple, but more limited, policy, while the other presents a more complicated set of two policies.

      • First, a public access read-only policy. This lets any origin, with any request headers, make GET and HEAD requests to the bucket. However, the policy does not expose custom response headers.

        File: cors_policies.xml
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        <CORSConfiguration>
          <CORSRule>
            <AllowedHeader>*</AllowedHeader>
        
            <AllowedMethod>GET</AllowedMethod>
            <AllowedMethod>HEAD</AllowedMethod>
        
            <AllowedOrigin>*</AllowedOrigin>
          </CORSRule>
        </CORSConfiguration>
            
      • Next, a set of policies for fine control over requests from example.com. The <AllowedOrigin> elements specify the range of possible example.com domains. The two policies distinguish the kinds of headers allowed based on the kinds of request methods.

        File: cors_policies.xml
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        <CORSConfiguration>
          <CORSRule>
            <AllowedHeader>Authorization</AllowedHeader>
        
            <AllowedMethod>GET</AllowedMethod>
            <AllowedMethod>HEAD</AllowedMethod>
        
            <AllowedOrigin>http://example.com</AllowedOrigin>
            <AllowedOrigin>http://*.example.com</AllowedOrigin>
            <AllowedOrigin>https://example.com</AllowedOrigin>
            <AllowedOrigin>https://*.example.com</AllowedOrigin>
        
            <ExposeHeader>Access-Control-Allow-Origin</ExposeHeader>
        
            <MaxAgeSeconds>3000</MaxAgeSeconds>
          </CORSRule>
          <CORSRule>
            <AllowedHeader>Authorization</AllowedHeader>
            <AllowedHeader>Origin</AllowedHeader>
            <AllowedHeader>Content-*</AllowedHeader>
        
            <AllowedMethod>PUT</AllowedMethod>
            <AllowedMethod>POST</AllowedMethod>
            <AllowedMethod>DELETE</AllowedMethod>
        
            <AllowedOrigin>http://example.com</AllowedOrigin>
            <AllowedOrigin>http://*.example.com</AllowedOrigin>
            <AllowedOrigin>https://example.com</AllowedOrigin>
            <AllowedOrigin>https://*.example.com</AllowedOrigin>
        
            <ExposeHeader>ETag</ExposeHeader>
        
            <MaxAgeSeconds>3000</MaxAgeSeconds>
          </CORSRule>
        </CORSConfiguration>
            

      Deploying Policies

      The next step is to actually deploy your CORS policies. Once you do, your S3 bucket starts following them to determine what origins to allow and what request and response information to permit.

      Follow these steps to put your CORS policies into practice on your S3 instance.

      1. Save your CORS policy into a XML file. This example uses a file named cors_policies.xml which contains the second example policy XML above.

      2. Use s3cmd’s setcors commands to deploy the CORS policies to the bucket. This command takes the policy XML file and the bucket identifier as arguments:

        s3cmd setcors cors_policies.xml s3://example-cors-bucket
        
      3. Verify the new CORS policies using the info command as shown earlier in this tutorial:

        s3cmd info s3://example-cors-bucket
        
        s3://example-cors-bucket/ (bucket):
           Location:  default
           Payer:     BucketOwner
           Expiration Rule: none
           Policy:    none
           CORS:      <CORSConfiguration xmlns="http://s3.amazonaws.com/doc/2006-03-01/"><CORSRule><AllowedMethod>GET</AllowedMethod><AllowedMethod>HEAD</AllowedMethod><AllowedOrigin>http://*.example.com</AllowedOrigin><AllowedOrigin>http://example.com</AllowedOrigin><AllowedOrigin>https://*.example.com</AllowedOrigin><AllowedOrigin>https://example.com</AllowedOrigin><AllowedHeader>Authorization</AllowedHeader><MaxAgeSeconds>3000</MaxAgeSeconds><ExposeHeader>Access-Control-Allow-Origin</ExposeHeader></CORSRule><CORSRule><AllowedMethod>PUT</AllowedMethod><AllowedMethod>DELETE</AllowedMethod><AllowedMethod>POST</AllowedMethod><AllowedOrigin>http://*.example.com</AllowedOrigin><AllowedOrigin>http://example.com</AllowedOrigin><AllowedOrigin>https://*.example.com</AllowedOrigin><AllowedOrigin>https://example.com</AllowedOrigin><AllowedHeader>Authorization</AllowedHeader><AllowedHeader>Content-*</AllowedHeader><AllowedHeader>Origin</AllowedHeader><MaxAgeSeconds>3000</MaxAgeSeconds><ExposeHeader>ETag</ExposeHeader></CORSRule></CORSConfiguration>
           ACL:       31ffbc26-d6ed-4bc3-8a14-ad78fe8f95b6: FULL_CONTROL

      Troubleshooting Common CORS Errors

      Having CORS-related issues on your S3 instance? Take these steps to help narrow down the issue and figure out the kind of policy change needed to resolve it.

      1. Review your instance’s CORS policies using s3cmd:

        s3cmd info s3://example-cors-bucket
        

        This can give you a concrete reference for what policies are in place and the specific details of each, like header and origin information.

      2. Review the request and response data. This can give you insights on any possible inconsistencies between existing CORS policies and the actual requests and responses.

        You can use a tool like cURL for this. First, use s3cmd to create a signed URL to an object on your storage instance. This example command creates a URL for an example.txt object and makes the URL last 300 seconds:

        s3cmd signurl s3://example-cors-bucket/example.txt +300
        

        Now, until the URL expires, you can use a cURL command like this one to send a request for the object:

        curl -v "http://example-cors-bucket.us-southeast-1.linodeobjects.com/index.md?AWSAccessKeyId=example-access-key&Expires=1664121793&Signature=example-signature"
        

        The -v option gives you verbose results, outputting more details to help you dissect any request and response issues.

      3. Compare the results of the cURL request to the CORS policy on your instance.

      Conclusion

      This covers the tools and approaches you need to start managing CORS for your Linode Object Storage or other S3 instance. Once you have these, addressing CORS issues is a matter of reviewing and adjusting policies against desired origins and request types.

      Keep improving your resources for managing your S3 through our collection of
      object storage guides. These cover a range of topics to help you with S3 generally, and Linode Object Storage in particular.

      Have more questions or want some help getting started? Feel free to reach out to our
      Support team.

      More Information

      You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information
      on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be
      useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of
      externally hosted materials.



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