Build a Skill End-to-end Using an Alexa-hosted Skill
When you create an Alexa skill, you store your code and resources yourself. However, you can create an Alexa-hosted skill, and Alexa stores your code and resources on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for you. With an Alexa-hosted skill, you can get started quickly by using one of the skill templates available in the developer console. When you create an Alexa-hosted skill, you develop your skill in an online code editor in the developer console. You can also use the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Command Line Interface (CLI) to create and manage Alexa-hosted skills.
With an Alexa-hosted skill, you can build, edit, and publish a skill without leaving the developer console. You use the online code editor to edit the code for your skill and deploy it directly to your AWS Lambda endpoints.
When you create an Alexa-hosted skill, Alexa provisions the following:
- AWS Lambda endpoints in all three Alexa service regions
- An Amazon S3 bucket for media storage
- An Amazon DynamoDB table for persisting data
- An AWS CodeCommit repository
You don't need an AWS account to create an Alexa-hosted skill. Alexa provisions the AWS resources that you need directly from the Alexa developer console. Alexa places your files and resources in an individual account, separate from the accounts of other users, and your files are never shared with other users. If you want to use additional AWS services, or if your usage exceeds the usage limits, you can provision the additional resources in your own AWS account. For details, see Use Personal AWS Resources with Your Alexa-hosted Skill.
When you create your skill, you get an AWS CodeCommit repository for managing your code, which you can access by using the ASK CLI to edit your skill. For details, see Create and Manage Alexa-hosted Skills Using the ASK CLI.
For a video introduction to Alexa-hosted skills, see Setting Up an Alexa-hosted Skill on YouTube.
Considerations for Alexa-hosted skills
Before you create your Alexa-hosted skill, consider the following:
- You can build skills that use the custom voice interaction model as an Alexa-hosted skill. Currently, you can't create an Alexa-hosted skill that uses a pre-built voice interaction model, such as a Smart Home skill.
- You can build an Alexa-hosted skill with Node.js version 12.x or Python version 3.7. When you create your skill, you select the runtime for your skill. After you choose the runtime for a skill, you can't change it.
- You can provision your S3 and DynamoDB resources close to your skill users to reduce the perceived latency of your skill. For details, see Hosting your skill resources in different AWS Regions.
Creating an Alexa-hosted skill
You can create an Alexa-hosted skill in the following ways:
- To create a new Alexa-hosted skill by using the developer console and choosing an available template, see Create an Alexa-hosted skill in the console.
- To create a new Alexa-hosted skill by importing a skill project from a public Git repository, see Import an Alexa-hosted Skill from a Public Git Repository.
- To create a new Alexa-hosted skill by using the ASK CLI, see Create and Manage Alexa-hosted Skills Using the ASK CLI.
- To migrate an existing custom-model skill to an Alexa-hosted skill, see Convert an existing skill to an Alexa-hosted skill.
- To create an Alexa-hosted skill by using VS Code, see Get Started with the Alexa Skills Toolkit for Visual Studio Code.
Hosting your skill resources in different AWS Regions
To reduce perceived latency when accessing your skill, Alexa provisions three AWS Lambda endpoints for your Alexa-hosted skill. Alexa provisions a Lambda endpoint for your skill in each of the following regions:
- US East (N. Virginia) us-east-1
- Europe (Ireland) eu-west-1
- US West (Oregon) us-west-2
You can provision your Amazon S3 and DynamoDB resources in any of these regions. Amazon recommends that you choose the region closest to your users by using the following table. The table also determines the default hosting region that appears in the console when you create your skill.
|Skill Language||Marketplace||Alexa Region||Recommended AWS Region|
|English (AU)||.com.au||Far East||US West (Oregon) us-west-2|
|English (CA)||.ca||North America||US East (N. Virginia) us-east-1|
|English (IN)||.in||Europe||Europe (Ireland) eu-west-1|
|English (UK)||.co.uk||Europe||Europe (Ireland) eu-west-1|
|English (US)||.com||North America||US East (N. Virginia) us-east-1|
|French (CA)||.ca||North America||US East (N. Virginia) us-east-1|
|French (FR)||.fr||Europe||Europe (Ireland) eu-west-1|
|German (DE)||.de||Europe||Europe (Ireland) eu-west-1|
|Hindi (IN)||.in||Europe||Europe (Ireland) eu-west-1|
|Italian (IT)||.it||Europe||Europe (Ireland) eu-west-1|
|Japanese (JP)||.co.jp||Far East||US West (Oregon) us-west-2|
|Portuguese (BR)||.com.br||North America||US East (N. Virginia) us-east-1|
|Spanish (ES)||.es||Europe||Europe (Ireland) eu-west-1|
|Spanish (MX)||.com.mx||North America||US East (N. Virginia) us-east-1|
|Spanish (US)||.com||North America||US East (N. Virginia) us-east-1|
Amazon limits your developer.amazon.com account to 75 Alexa-hosted skills. When there are 75 Alexa-hosted skills on your account, you must delete an existing Alexa-hosted skill from your account before you can create another Alexa-hosted skill.
Your Alexa-hosted skill uses AWS resources. For each Alexa account, Amazon limits resource usage to the following limits:
- AWS Lambda: Unlimited free AWS Lambda requests used by your Alexa-hosted endpoint.
- Amazon S3: 25 GB of Amazon S3 storage, and 250 GB of data transfer out per month.
- Amazon DynamoDB: 25 GB of Amazon DynamoDB storage, 10M read and writes per month.
- AWS CodeCommit: 50 GB-month of storage and 10,000 Git requests per month.
The monthly AWS usage for your hosted skills appears on the Hosting page of the Alexa developer console. You can also see your AWS resource usage from the Code tab by clicking on the Usage icon in the toolbar.
If your usage exceeds these limits, you have 30 days to bring usage under the limit by moving at least one of your skills to a personal AWS account or other cloud services account. If you don't bring your usage under the specified limits, Amazon might remove your skill from the Alexa Skills Store. If Amazon flags your skill as abusing provisioned resources, Amazon might remove your skill from the Alexa Skills Store before 30 days.
Alexa provisions an AWS Lambda endpoint for your Alexa-hosted skill in each Alexa service region. If you change the default hosted endpoint to an HTTPS endpoint, your skill is no longer an Alexa-hosted skill and the code editor in the console doesn't deploy to the new endpoint. If you change the default endpoint of a live skill, you must create your own AWS Lambda endpoint or HTTPS endpoint and republish the skill to use the new endpoint. Or, you can revert to the Alexa-hosted endpoint by choosing the Use Alexa hosted endpoint option in the Code tab in the developer console.