I've had a persistent problem with static hosting, going back to the beginning of scripting.com in 1995 or so. That's a long time to not solve a problem. While all the incubators start new tech companies with viral business models, one of the most basic ideas about the web, a folder that maps onto a website, still requires a degree in bicycle repair (not quite rocket science) to keep going.
I say to Chuck one day we should knuckle down for a month and do an completely brain-dead simple self-hosting server, running on a Mac probably, cause it comes with Apache built in and turned on. We never seem to get around to it.
Meanwhile, Amazon made it so that if you stand on one foot while touching your nose with the pinky of your right hand and say Wild Beatnik Pie! three times you can host a static site in S3, which seems to have been made to serve static sites. My friend Joe Moreno has mastered this art, and posted a howto about it. I am going to proceed to follow his directions and set up a simple site in a S3 bucket, one that very rarely changes, to see what happens.
Joe Moreno: How to host a static site in S3.
1/2 hour later, I think I've set everything up right, but I get a "Sorry invalid request" when I try to visit www.smallpicture.com, a site I set up following Joe's instructions. Maybe it takes a while for things to show up?
When I tried to go to dsxuvulkqwac7.cloudfront.net it correctly linked to the index file in web.smallpicture.com, but I got an "access denied" from (what appears to be) S3. After changing the permissions the index file correctly displays, but I still get the invalid request message when I go to www.smallpicture.com.
I think the problem is in Joe's step 2. I changed it so that www.smallpicture.com is a CNAME for s3.amazonaws.com. I bet that fixes it and www.smallpicture.com will now correctly show the small Mona Lisa.