Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide for Linux Instances

Launch an Amazon EC2 Instance

You can launch a Linux instance using the AWS Management Console as described in this topic. Before you begin, be sure that you've completed the steps in Get Set Up for Amazon EC2. After you've launched your instance, you can connect to it and use it. For more information, see Connect to Your Instance.

If you'd prefer to launch and connect to a Windows instance, see Getting Started with Amazon EC2 Windows Instances.


When you sign up for AWS, you can get started with Amazon EC2 for free using the AWS Free Tier. If you created your AWS account less than 12 months ago, and have not already exceeded the free tier benefits for Amazon EC2 and Amazon EBS, it will not cost you anything to complete this tutorial, because we help you select options that are within the free tier benefits. Otherwise, you'll incur the standard Amazon EC2 usage fees from the time that you launch the instance until you terminate the instance (which is the final task of this tutorial), even if it remains idle. The total charges to complete this tutorial are minimal (typically only a few dollars).

The following procedure is intended to help you launch your first instance quickly and doesn't go through all possible options. For more information about the advanced options, see Launching an Instance.

To launch an instance

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at

  2. From the console dashboard, click Launch Instance.

  3. The Choose an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) page displays a list of basic configurations, called Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), that serve as templates for your instance. Select the HVM edition of the Amazon Linux AMI. Notice that this configuration is marked "Free tier eligible."

  4. On the Choose an Instance Type page, you can select the hardware configuration of your instance. Select one of the following instance types, which are the only instance types eligible for the free tier.

    • t2.micro (which is selected by default)

    • t1.micro (select All generations from the filter list instead of Current generation, and then select t1.micro)

  5. (t2.micro) T2 instances, such as t2.micro, must be launched into a VPC. If your AWS account supports EC2-Classic and you do not have a VPC in the selected region, the launch wizard creates a VPC for you and you can continue to the next step in this procedure. Otherwise, if you have one or more VPCs (such as a default VPC), the Review and Launch button is disabled and you must do the following:

    1. Click Next: Configure Instance Details.

    2. Select your VPC from the Network list and select a subnet from the Subnet list.

    3. Select Enable from Auto-assign Public IP. Note that Enable is the default only if the VPC is a default VPC.

  6. Click Review and Launch to let the wizard complete the other configuration settings for you.

  7. On the Review Instance Launch page, under Security Groups, you'll see that the wizard created and selected a security group for you. Instead, select the security group that you created when getting set up using the following steps:

    1. Click Edit security groups.

    2. On the Configure Security Group page, ensure the Select an existing security group option is selected.

    3. Select your security group from the list of existing security groups, and click Review and Launch.

  8. On the Review Instance Launch page, click Launch.

  9. In the Select an existing key pair or create a new key pair dialog box, select Choose an existing key pair, then select the key pair you created when getting set up.

    Alternatively, you can create a new key pair. Select Create a new key pair, enter a name for the key pair, and then click Download Key Pair. This is the only chance for you to save the private key file, so be sure to download it. Save the private key file in a safe place. You'll need to provide the name of your key pair when you launch an instance and the corresponding private key each time you connect to the instance.

    A key pair enables you to connect to a Linux instance through SSH. Therefore, don't select the Proceed without a key pair option. If you launch your instance without a key pair, then you can't connect to it.

    When you are ready, select the acknowledgment check box, and then click Launch Instances.

  10. A confirmation page lets you know that your instance is launching. Click View Instances to close the confirmation page and return to the console.

  11. On the Instances screen, you can view the status of your instance. It takes a short time for an instance to launch. When you launch an instance, its initial state is pending. After the instance starts, its state changes to running, and it receives a public DNS name. (If the Public DNS column is hidden, click the Show/Hide icon and select Public DNS.)