How to Restore a Deleted Amazon S3 Bucket

I ran into a rather serious issue recently: a human on my team (me) intentionally (but accidentally) deleted an Amazon S3 bucket that was serving files to a WordPress site. The solution to the problem follows:

  1. Cry when you realize you cannot restore a deleted S3 bucket.
  2. Search your computer, your co-workers’ computers, your former co-workers’ computers, and your catastrophic backup system for a backup only to realize that a backup does not exist anywhere.
  3. Call the artist who originally-supplied the images and thank The Lord that he keeps solid backups of his historical hard drives and doesn’t delete things like a wild idiot (e.g. like me).
  4. Upload all the important/relevant media to WordPress via the normal WP uploader.
  5. Rewrite all the image and pdf urls in the database so they link up to the newly-uploaded versions:

Using Better Search & Replace plugin:

2021/01/ => 2022/03/
2021/02/ => 2022/03/
2021/03/ => 2022/03/

Using REGEX with Redirection plugin:

Everything prior to 2020 with /wp-content/uploads/20[01]\d/*
Everything prior to 2022 with /wp-content/uploads/202[01]/*
Jan/Feb with  /wp-content/uploads/2022/0[12]/* 
redirect uploads folder to current month
Redirect historical “wp-content/uploads” folder to March 2022 using Redirection WP plugin
  1. Test everything using a 404 error app such as Integrity.
  2. Rethink your catastrophic backup process and note that ManageWP does not backup WP media libraries that are on S3.
  3. Send a “thank you” gift to the artist who saved your ass.


Again, you cannot restore a deleted Amazon S3 bucket…UNLESS you enable versioning BEFORE you delete it. S3 is about as reliable as they come but fail in the face of human errors.

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Toby Cryns

Toby Cryns is a freelance CTO, expert WordPress consultant, and teacher.

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