If you've already signed up for Amazon Web Services (AWS), you can start using Amazon EC2 immediately. You can open the Amazon EC2 console, click Launch Instance, and follow the steps in the launch wizard to launch your first instance.
If you haven't signed up for AWS yet, or if you need assistance launching your first instance, complete the following tasks to get set up to use Amazon EC2:
When you sign up for Amazon Web Services (AWS), your AWS account is automatically signed up for all services in AWS, including Amazon EC2. You are charged only for the services that you use.
With Amazon EC2, you pay only for what you use. If you are a new AWS customer, you can get started with Amazon EC2 for free. For more information, see AWS Free Tier.
If you have an AWS account already, skip to the next task. If you don't have an AWS account, use the following procedure to create one.
To create an AWS account
Open http://aws.amazon.com, and then click Sign Up.
Follow the on-screen instructions.
Part of the sign-up procedure involves receiving a phone call and entering a PIN using the phone keypad.
Note your AWS account number, because you'll need it for the next task.
Services in AWS, such as Amazon EC2, require that you provide credentials when you access them, so that the service can determine whether you have permission to access its resources. The console requires your password. You can create access keys for your AWS account to access the command line interface or API. However, we don't recommend that you access AWS using the credentials for your AWS account; we recommend that you use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) instead. Create an IAM user, and then add the user to an IAM group with administrative permissions or and grant this user administrative permissions. You can then access AWS using a special URL and the credentials for the IAM user.
If you signed up for AWS but have not created an IAM user for yourself, you can create one using the IAM console.
To create the Administrators group
Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the IAM console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/iam/.
In the navigation pane, click Groups and then click Create New Group.
In the Group Name box, type
then click Next Step.
In the Select Policy Template section, click Select next to the Administrator Access policy template.
Click Next Step and then click Create Group.
Your new group is listed under Group Name.
To create the IAM user, add the user to the Administrators group, and create a password for the user
In the navigation pane, click Users and then click Create New Users.
In box 1, type a user name and then click Create.
Click Download Credentials and save your access key in a secure place. You will need your access key for programmatic access to AWS using the AWS CLI, the AWS SDKs, or the HTTP APIs.
You cannot retrieve the secret access key after you complete this step; if you misplace it you must create a new one.
After you have downloaded your access key, click Close.
In the content pane, in the User Name column, click the name (not the checkbox) of the user you just created. You might need to scroll down to find the user in the list.
In the content pane, in the Groups section, click Add User to Groups.
Select the Administrators group and then click Add to Groups.
In the content pane, in the Security Credentials section (you might need to scroll down to find this section), under Sign-In Credentials, click Manage Password.
Select Assign a custom password and then type and confirm a password. When you are finished, click Apply.
To sign in as this new IAM user, sign out of the AWS console, then use the following
URL, where your_aws_account_id is your AWS account number without
the hyphens (for example, if your AWS account number is
1234-5678-9012, your AWS account ID is
Enter the IAM user name and password that you just created. When you're signed in, the navigation bar displays "your_user_name @ your_aws_account_id".
If you don't want the URL for your sign-in page to contain your AWS account ID, you can create an account alias. From the IAM dashboard, click Create Account Alias and enter an alias, such as your company name. To sign in after you create an account alias, use the following URL:
To verify the sign-in link for IAM users for your account, open the IAM console and check under IAM users sign-in link on the dashboard.
For more information about IAM, see IAM and Amazon EC2.
AWS uses public-key cryptography to secure the login information for your instance. A Linux instance has no password; you use a key pair to log in to your instance securely. You specify the name of the key pair when you launch your instance, then provide the private key when you log in using SSH.
If you haven't created a key pair already, you can create one using the Amazon EC2 console. Note that if you plan to launch instances in multiple regions, you'll need to create a key pair in each region. For more information about regions, see Regions and Availability Zones.
To create a key pair
Open the Amazon EC2 console.
From the navigation bar, select a region for the key pair. You can select any region that's available to you, regardless of your location. However, key pairs are specific to a region; for example, if you plan to launch an instance in the US West (Oregon) region, you must create a key pair for the instance in the US West (Oregon) region.
Click Key Pairs in the navigation pane.
Click Create Key Pair.
Enter a name for the new key pair in the Key pair name field of the
Create Key Pair dialog box, and then click
Create. Choose a name that is easy for you to remember,
such as your IAM user name, followed by
-key-pair, plus the region name. For example,
The private key file is automatically downloaded by your browser.
The base file name is the name you specified as the name of your key pair,
and the file name extension is
.pem. Save the private
key file in a safe place.
This is the only chance for you to save the private key file. 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.
If you will use an SSH client on a Mac or Linux computer to connect to your Linux instance, use the following command to set the permissions of your private key file so that only you can read it.
For more information, see Amazon EC2 Key Pairs.
To connect to your instance using your key pair
To your Linux instance from a computer running Mac or Linux, you'll
.pem file to your SSH client with the
-i option and the path to your private key.
To connect to your Linux instance from a computer running Windows, you can use either
MindTerm or PuTTY. If you plan to use PuTTY, you'll need to install it and
use the following procedure to convert the
.pem file to a
(Optional) To prepare to connect to a Linux instance from Windows using PuTTY
Download and install PuTTY from http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/. Be sure to install the entire suite.
Start PuTTYgen (for example, from the Start menu, click All Programs > PuTTY > PuTTYgen).
Under Type of key to generate, select SSH-2 RSA.
Click Load. By default, PuTTYgen displays
only files with the extension
.ppk. To locate your
select the option to display files of all types.
Select the private key file that you created in the previous procedure and click Open. Click OK to dismiss the confirmation dialog box.
Click Save private key. PuTTYgen displays a warning about saving the key without a passphrase. Click Yes.
Specify the same name for the key that you used for the key pair.
PuTTY automatically adds the
.ppk file extension.
Amazon VPC enables you to launch AWS resources into a virtual network that you've defined. If you have a default VPC, you can skip this section and move to the next task, Create a Security Group. To determine whether you have a default VPC, see Supported Platforms in the Amazon EC2 Console. Otherwise, you can create a nondefault VPC in your account using the steps below.
If your account supports EC2-Classic in a region, then you do not have a default VPC in that region. T2 instances must be launched into a VPC.
To create a nondefault VPC
Open the Amazon VPC console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/vpc/.
From the navigation bar, select a region for the VPC. VPCs are specific to a region, so you should select the same region in which you created your key pair.
On the VPC dashboard, click Start VPC Wizard.
On the Step 1: Select a VPC Configuration page, ensure that VPC with a Single Public Subnet is selected, and click Select.
On the Step 2: VPC with a Single Public Subnet page, enter a friendly name for your VPC in the VPC name field. Leave the other default configuration settings, and click Create VPC. On the confirmation page, click OK.
For more information about Amazon VPC, see What is Amazon VPC? in the Amazon VPC User Guide.
Security groups act as a firewall for associated instances, controlling both inbound and outbound traffic at the instance level. You must add rules to a security group that enable you to connect to your instance from your IP address using SSH. You can also add rules that allow inbound and outbound HTTP and HTTPS access from anywhere.
Note that if you plan to launch instances in multiple regions, you'll need to create a security group in each region. For more information about regions, see Regions and Availability Zones.
You'll need the public IP address of your local computer, which you can get using a service. For example, we provide the following service: http://checkip.amazonaws.com/. To locate another service that provides your IP address, use the search phrase "what is my IP address." If you are connecting through an Internet service provider (ISP) or from behind a firewall without a static IP address, you need to find out the range of IP addresses used by client computers.
To create a security group with least privilege
Open the Amazon EC2 console.
Alternatively, you can use the Amazon VPC console to create a security group. However, the instructions in this procedure don't match the Amazon VPC console. Therefore, if you switched to the Amazon VPC console in the previous section, either switch back to the Amazon EC2 console and use these instructions, or use the instructions in Set Up a Security Group for Your VPC in the Amazon VPC Getting Started Guide.
From the navigation bar, select a region for the security group. Security groups are specific to a region, so you should select the same region in which you created your key pair.
Click Security Groups in the navigation pane.
Click Create Security Group.
Enter a name for the new security group and a description. Choose a name that is easy for you to remember, such as your IAM user name, followed by _SG_, plus the region name. For example, me_SG_uswest2.
In the VPC list, select your VPC. If you have a default VPC, it's the one that is marked with an asterisk (*).
If your account supports EC2-Classic, select the VPC that you created in the previous task.
On the Inbound tab, create the following rules (click Add Rule for each new rule), and then click Create:
Select HTTP from the Type list, and make sure that
Source is set to Anywhere
Select HTTPS from the Type list, and make sure that
Source is set to Anywhere
Select SSH from the Type list. In the
Source box, ensure Custom
IP is selected, and specify the public IP address of your
computer or network in CIDR notation. To specify an individual IP
address in CIDR notation, add the routing prefix
example, if your IP address is
203.0.113.25/32. If your company allocates
addresses from a range, specify the entire range, such as
For security reasons, we don't recommend that you allow SSH access
from all IP addresses (
0.0.0.0/0) to your instance,
except for testing purposes and only for a short time.
For more information, see Amazon EC2 Security Groups.