Creating an S3 stage

An external (i.e. S3) stage specifies where data files are stored so that the data in the files can be loaded into a table.

Data can be loaded directly from files in a specified S3 bucket, with or without a folder path (or prefix, in S3 terminology). If the path ends with /, all of the objects in the corresponding S3 folder are loaded.


In the previous step, if you followed the instructions to configure an AWS IAM role with the required policies and permissions to access your external S3 bucket, you have already created an S3 stage. You can skip this step and continue to Copying data from an S3 stage.

External stages

In addition to loading directly from files in S3 buckets, Snowflake supports creating named external stages, which encapsulate all of the required information for staging files, including:

  • The S3 bucket where the files are staged.

  • The named storage integration object or S3 credentials for the bucket (if it is protected).

  • An encryption key (if the files in the bucket have been encrypted).

Named external stages are optional, but recommended when you plan to load data regularly from the same location.

Creating an external stage

You can create a named external stage using SQL or the web interface.


You must use a role that is granted or inherits the USAGE privilege on the database and schema that store the stage and the CREATE STAGE privilege on the schema.

Refer to Access control requirements for CREATE STAGE.

Create an external stage using SQL

Use the CREATE STAGE command to create an external stage using SQL.

The following example uses SQL to create an external stage named my_s3_stage that references a private/protected S3 bucket named mybucket with a folder path named encrypted_files/. The CREATE statement includes the s3_int storage integration that was created in Option 1: Configuring a Snowflake storage integration to access Amazon S3 to access the S3 bucket. The stage references a named file format object named my_csv_format, which describes the data in the files stored in the bucket path:

CREATE STAGE my_s3_stage
  URL = 's3://mybucket/encrypted_files/'
  FILE_FORMAT = my_csv_format;


By specifying a named file format object (or individual file format options) for the stage, it is not necessary to later specify the same file format options in the COPY command used to load data from the stage.

Create an external stage using Snowsight

To use Snowsight to create a named external stage, do the following:

  1. Sign in to Snowsight.

  2. In the navigation menu, select Create » Stage » External Stage.

  3. Select one of the external stages where your files are located: Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform.

  4. In the Create Stage dialog, enter a Stage Name.

  5. Select the database and schema where you want to create a stage.

  6. Enter the URL of your external cloud storage location.

  7. If your external storage is not public, enable Authentication and enter your details. For more information, refer to CREATE STAGE.

  8. Optionally deselect Directory table. Directory tables let you see files on the stage, but require a warehouse and thus incur a cost. You can choose to deselect this option for now and enable a directory table later.

    If you enable Directory table, optionally select Enable auto-refresh and select your event notification or notification integration to automatically refresh the directory table when files are added or removed. To learn more, see Automated directory table metadata refreshes.

  9. If your files are encrypted, enable Encryption and enter your details.

  10. Optionally expand the SQL Preview to view a generated SQL statement. To specify additional options for your stage such as AUTO_REFRESH, you can open this SQL preview in a worksheet.

  11. Select Create.

Create an external stage using Classic Console

Select Databases Databases tab » <db_name> » Stages.

Next: Copying data from an S3 stage