Difference in boto3 between resource, client, and session?

I am using Python 2.7.12 in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I'm learning how to use boto3 from the following link: https://boto3.readthedocs.io/en/latest/guide/quickstart.html#using-boto-3. My doubt is when to use resource, client, or session, and their respective functionality.

To add to the other answer, specifically when comparing Client vs. Resource.


  • low-level service access
  • generated from service description
  • exposes botocore client to the developer
  • typically maps 1:1 with the service API
  • snake-cased method names (e.g. ListBuckets API => list_buckets method)

Here's an example of client-level access to an S3 bucket's objects (at most 1000**):

    import boto3

    client = boto3.client('s3')
    response = client.list_objects(Bucket='mybucket')
    for content in response['Contents']:
        obj_dict = client.get_object(Bucket='mybucket', Key=content['Key'])
        print(content['Key'], obj_dict['LastModified'])

** you would have to use a paginator, or implement your own loop, calling list_objects() repeatedly with a continuation marker if there were more than 1000.


  • higher-level, object-oriented API
  • generated from resource description
  • uses identifiers and attributes
  • has actions (operations on resources)
  • exposes subresources and collections

Here's the equivalent example using resource-level access to an S3 bucket's objects (all):

    import boto3

    s3 = boto3.resource('s3')
    bucket = s3.Bucket('mybucket')
    for obj in bucket.objects.all():
        print(obj.key, obj.last_modified)

Note that in this case you do not have to make a second API call to get the objects; they're available to you as a collection on the bucket. These collections of subresources are lazily-loaded.


  • stores configuration information (primarily credentials and selected region)
  • allows you to create service clients and resources

A useful resource to learn more about these boto3 concepts is the introductory re:Invent video.

From: stackoverflow.com/q/42809096