Deploy a Cloud Site with media content on Cloud Files

  • Last updated on: 2016-04-18
  • Authored by: Rackspace Support

Note: This article is written for the Cloud Sites Control Panel. You can access this interface from the Cloud Control Panel by clicking on Rackspace Cloud in the upper-left corner of the Cloud Control Panel and selecting Cloud Sites.

This article shows how to deploy a simple web page that retrieves an image from the Cloud Files platform. The tutorial uses some rewrite rules to obfuscate the origin URL to optimized searching.


  • (If using the browser to upload) FTP application. FileZilla is a good choice.
  • (If using program code to upload) Python installed on the local machine.
  • A plain text editor (not a word processing program like Microsoft Word or OpenOffice). For Mac OS X or Linux, vim is a good choice. For Windows, consider using NotePad++.
  • A picture file. You can use any format, such as JPEG, GIF, or PNG.
  • Mozilla Firefox or Python, depending on what method you use to upload to Cloud Files.

Upload the image to Cloud Files

The first step in this process is to upload your image to a CDN-enabled container in Cloud Files. This section describes uploading files using the Python SDK, however you can also use third party tools, such as CyberDuck to upload content.

Use the Python SDK

This example assumes that you have pyrax, the Python SDK installed. For more information about setting up the SDK for Python, see Getting started with the Python SDK.

The following script performs a series of simple tasks: it creates a container named media, enables CDN for the container, and then uploads a file to that container.

import pyrax
#set the Rackspace identity system for authentication
pyrax.set_setting("identity_type", "rackspace")
pyrax.set_credentials("UserName", "APIKey", region="ORD")
cf = pyrax.cloudfiles
#create a container called "media"
cont = cf.create_container("media")
#publish the container
print "Beginning upload..."
obj = cont.upload_file("PathToImage")
print "File Uploaded!"
print "Name:",
print "Size:", obj.total_bytes
print "Content-Type:", obj.content_type

Run the script

  1. Save the script to your desktop and name it
  2. Make the following changes in the script:
    • On line 3, replace UserName with your Rackspace Cloud username, and replace APIKey with your API key.
    • (Optional) On line 3, change the region to any available Rackspace region, such as DFW, IAD, ORD, LON, SYD, or HKG.
    • On line 8 replace PathToImage with a valid system path like “/Users/linda/Pictures/image1.jpg” (for Mac) or “C:\\images\\image1.jpg” (for Windows). Note that the backslashes in Windows paths have to be escaped with an extra backslash (\).
  3. Open your terminal.
  4. Change directories to your desktop.
  5. Run the following command from your terminal: python
  6. Wait for the image to upload, which should only take a few seconds, depending on the size of the image file.

When the upload is complete, the script prints out details about your newly-uploaded object.

Set up a Cloud Site

This section of the tutorial covers creating a simple page that calls the image by using the local server side path and creating a Cloud Site.

Create a sample XHTML page

You create a simple XHTML page that calls an image on Cloud Files by using the local server side path. This part of the tutorial uses mod_rewrite.

Redirect the image

In a .htaccess file, create the rewrite rules that redirect the image to the Cloud Files platform. To do so, you need the CDN URL for the container media that you created. If you did not copy the URL earlier, retrieve it as follows:

  1. Log in to Cloud Sites Control Panel.
  2. In the left navigation pane, click Hosting, then Cloud Files.
  3. Click the gear icon next to media and select View All Links.
  4. Copy the CDN URL.

After you have the CDN URL, create the following rewrite rule in a .htaccess file. Replace the container URL with your own URL and ensure that %{REQUEST_URI} directly follows it with no spaces.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule image1.jpg{REQUEST_URI}

This rule rewrites anything called image1.jpg.

The {REQUEST_URI} is a variable that holds the relative path to the file that is being requested, so it will always redirect to the correct place. If you have any questions about mod_rewrite, see the Apache documentation.

If your application resides in a subdirectory of the main site, you might have trouble getting mod_rewrite to work. Try replacing the slash (/) with the subdirectory of your application in the RewriteBase directive.

Create the demo Cloud Site

Create a sample Cloud Site by performing the following steps:

  1. Log in to Cloud Sites Control Panel.
  2. In the left navigation pane, click Hosting > Cloud Sites.
  3. Click Add A Site.
  4. In the Add a New Website dialog box, name the domain whatever you like. We recommend that you do not register a domain.
  5. Follow the steps in the site creation process.
  6. After the domain has been added, select the General settings tab.
  7. Copy the FTP URL.
  8. Open your FTP application and log in using the user name and password for this domain.
  9. Upload the .htaccess file and the simple HTML page that you created to the / directory.

Now navigate to the sample page that you created. The image is being called from Cloud Files, but if a user looks at your source code, it looks as if the image is being called locally. This redirect doesn’t change the actual HTTP request, but it does obfuscate the URL in the source code.

If you have any questions or comments or if this tutorial is not working for you, send an email to and we will answer any questions that you have.

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