Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide for Linux (API Version 2015-04-15)
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Instance Lifecycle

By working with Amazon EC2 to manage your instances from the moment you launch them through their termination, you ensure that your customers have the best possible experience with the applications or sites that you host on your instances.

The following illustration represents the transitions between instance states. Notice that you can't stop and start an instance store-backed instance. For more information about instance store-backed instances, see Storage for the Root Device.

The instance lifecycle

Instance Launch

When you launch an instance, it enters the pending state. The instance type that you specified at launch determines the hardware of the host computer for your instance. We use the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) you specified at launch to boot the instance. After the instance is ready for you, it enters the running state. You can connect to your running instance and use it the way that you'd use a computer sitting in front of you.

As soon as your instance transitions to the running state, you're billed for each hour or partial hour that you keep the instance running; even if the instance remains idle and you don't connect to it.

For more information, see Launch Your Instance and Connect to Your Linux Instance.

Instance Stop and Start (Amazon EBS-backed instances only)

If your instance fails a status check or is not running your applications as expected, and if the root volume of your instance is an Amazon EBS volume, you can stop and start your instance to try to fix the problem.

When you stop your instance, it enters the stopping state, and then the stopped state. We don't charge hourly usage or data transfer fees for your instance after you stop it, but we do charge for the storage for any Amazon EBS volumes. While your instance is in the stopped state, you can modify certain attributes of the instance, including the instance type.

When you start your instance, it enters the pending state, and we move the instance to a new host computer. Therefore, when you stop and start your instance, you'll lose any data on the instance store volumes on the previous host computer.

If your instance is running in EC2-Classic, it receives a new private IP address, which means that an Elastic IP address (EIP) associated with the private IP address is no longer associated with your instance. If your instance is running in EC2-VPC, it retains its private IP address, which means that an EIP associated with the private IP address or network interface is still associated with your instance.

Each time you transition an instance from stopped to running, we charge a full instance hour, even if these transitions happen multiple times within a single hour.

For more information, see Stop and Start Your Instance.

Instance Reboot

You can reboot your instance using the Amazon EC2 console, the Amazon EC2 CLI, and the Amazon EC2 API. We recommend that you use Amazon EC2 to reboot your instance instead of running the operating system reboot command from your instance.

Rebooting an instance is equivalent to rebooting an operating system; the instance remains on the same host computer and maintains its public DNS name, private IP address, and any data on its instance store volumes. It typically takes a few minutes for the reboot to complete, but the time it takes to reboot depends on the instance configuration.

Rebooting an instance doesn't start a new instance billing hour.

For more information, see Reboot Your Instance.

Instance Retirement

An instance is scheduled to be retired when AWS detects irreparable failure of the underlying hardware hosting the instance. When an instance reaches its scheduled retirement date, it is stopped or terminated by AWS. If your instance root device is an Amazon EBS volume, the instance is stopped, and you can start it again at any time. If your instance root device is an instance store volume, the instance is terminated, and cannot be used again.

For more information, see Instance Retirement.

Instance Termination

When you've decided that you no longer need an instance, you can terminate it. As soon as the status of an instance changes to shutting-down or terminated, you stop incurring charges for that instance.

Note that if you enable termination protection, you can't terminate the instance using the console, CLI, or API.

After you terminate an instance, it remains visible in the console for a short while, and then the entry is deleted. You can also describe a terminated instance using the CLI and API. You can't connect to or recover a terminated instance.

Each Amazon EBS-backed instance supports the InstanceInitiatedShutdownBehavior attribute, which controls whether the instance stops or terminates when you initiate a shutdown from within the instance itself (for example, by using the shutdown command on Linux). The default behavior is to stop the instance. You can modify the setting of this attribute while the instance is running or stopped.

Each Amazon EBS volume supports the DeleteOnTermination attribute, which controls whether the volume is deleted or preserved when you terminate the instance it is attached to. The default is to delete the root device volume and preserve any other EBS volumes.

For more information, see Terminate Your Instance.

Differences Between Reboot, Stop, and Terminate

The following table summarizes the key differences between rebooting, stopping, and terminating your instance.

CharacteristicRebootStop/start (Amazon EBS-backed instances only)Terminate

Host computer

The instance stays on the same host computer

The instance runs on a new host computer


Private and public IP addresses

These addresses stay the same

EC2-Classic: The instance gets new private and public IP addresses

EC2-VPC: The instance keeps its private IP address. The instance gets a new public IP address, unless it has an Elastic IP address (EIP), which doesn't change during a stop/start.


Elastic IP addresses (EIP)

The EIP remains associated with the instance

EC2-Classic: The EIP is disassociated from the instance

EC2-VPC: The EIP remains associated with the instance

The EIP is disassociated from the instance

Instance store volumes

The data is preserved

The data is erased

The data is erased

Root device volume

The volume is preserved

The volume is preserved

The volume is deleted by default


The instance billing hour doesn't change.

You stop incurring charges for an instance as soon as its state changes to stopping. Each time an instance transitions from stopped to pending, we start a new instance billing hour.

You stop incurring charges for an instance as soon as its state changes to shutting-down.

Note that operating system shutdown commands always terminate an instance store-backed instance. You can control whether operating system shutdown commands stop or terminate an Amazon EBS-backed instance. For more information, see Changing the Instance Initiated Shutdown Behavior.