Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide (API Version 2014-06-15)
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Connecting to Linux/Unix Instances from Windows Using PuTTY

After you launch your instance, you can connect to it and use it the way that you'd use a computer sitting in front of you.

If you receive an error while attempting to connect to your instance, see Troubleshooting Connecting to Your Instance.

The following instructions explain how to connect to your instance using PuTTY, a free SSH client for Windows.

Prerequisites

  • Install PuTTY

    Download and install PuTTY from the PuTTY download page. Be sure to install the entire suite.

  • Get the ID of the instance

    You can get the ID of your instance using the Amazon EC2 console (from the Instance ID column). If you prefer, you can use the describe-instances (AWS CLI) or ec2-describe-instances (Amazon EC2 CLI) command.

  • Get the public DNS name of the instance

    You can get the public DNS for your instance using the Amazon EC2 console (check the Public DNS column; if this column is hidden, click the Show/Hide icon and select Public DNS). If you prefer, you can use the describe-instances (AWS CLI) or ec2-describe-instances (Amazon EC2 CLI) command.

  • Locate the private key

    You'll need the fully-qualified path of the .pem file for the key pair that you specified when you launched the instance.

  • Enable inbound SSH traffic from your IP address to your instance

    Ensure that the security group associated with your instance allows incoming SSH traffic from your IP address. For more information, see Authorizing Network Access to Your Instances.

    Important

    Your default security group does not allow incoming SSH traffic by default.

Converting Your Private Key Using PuTTYgen

PuTTY does not natively support the private key format (.pem) generated by Amazon EC2. PuTTY has a tool named PuTTYgen, which can convert keys to the required PuTTY format (.ppk). You must convert your private key into this format (.ppk) before attempting to connect to your instance using PuTTY.

To convert your private key

  1. Start PuTTYgen (for example, from the Start menu, click All Programs > PuTTY > PuTTYgen).

  2. Under Type of key to generate, select SSH-2 RSA.

  3. Click Load. By default, PuTTYgen displays only files with the extension .ppk. To locate your .pem file, select the option to display files of all types.

  4. Select your .pem file and click Open. Click OK to dismiss the confirmation dialog box.

  5. Click Save private key to save the key in the format that PuTTY can use. PuTTYgen displays a warning about saving the key without a passphrase. Click Yes.

    Note

    A passphrase on a private key is an extra layer of protection, so even if your private key is discovered, it can't be used without the passphrase. The downside to using a passphrase is that it makes automation harder because human intervention is needed to log on to an instance, or copy files to an instance.

  6. Specify the same name for the key that you used for the key pair (for example, my-key-pair). PuTTY automatically adds the .ppk file extension.

Your private key is now in the correct format for use with PuTTY. You can now connect to your instance using PuTTY's SSH client.

Starting a PuTTY Session

To start a PuTTY session

  1. (Optional) If you've launched a public AMI from a third party, run the ec2-get-console-output command on your local system (not on the instance), and locate the SSH HOST KEY FINGERPRINTS section. Note the fingerprints (for example, 1f:51:ae:28:bf:89:e9:d8:1f:25:5d:37:2d:7d:b8:ca:9f:f5:f1:6f) so that you can compare them to the fingerprints of the instance.

    C:\>  ec2-get-console-output instance_id
  2. Start PuTTY (from the Start menu, click All Programs > PuTTY > PuTTY).

  3. In the Category pane, select Session and complete the following fields:

    1. In the Host Name box, enter user_name@public_dns_name. Be sure to specify the appropriate user name for your AMI. For example:

      • For an Amazon Linux AMI, the user name is ec2-user.

      • For a RHEL5 AMI, the user name is either root or ec2-user.

      • For an Ubuntu AMI, the user name is ubuntu.

      • For a Fedora AMI, the user name is either fedora or ec2-user.

      • For SUSE Linux, the user name is root.

      • Otherwise, if ec2-user and root don't work, check with the AMI provider.

    2. Under Connection type, select SSH.

    3. Ensure that Port is 22.

  4. In the Category pane, expand Connection, expand SSH, and then select Auth. Complete the following:

    1. Click Browse.

    2. Select the .ppk file that you generated for your key pair, and then click Open.

    3. (Optional) If you plan to start this session again later, you can save the session information for future use. Select Session in the Category tree, enter a name for the session in Saved Sessions, and then click Save.

    4. Click Open to start the PuTTY session.

  5. If this is the first time you have connected to this instance, PuTTY displays a security alert dialog box that asks whether you trust the host you are connecting to.

  6. (Optional) If you've launched a public AMI, verify that the fingerprint in the security alert matches the fingerprint that you obtained in step 1. If these fingerprints don't match, someone might be attempting a "man-in-the-middle" attack. If they match, continue to the next step.

  7. Click Yes. A window opens and you are connected to your instance.

    Note

    If you specified a passphrase when you converted your private key to PuTTY's format, you must provide that passphrase when you log in to the instance.

Transferring Files to Your Instance with the PuTTY Secure Copy Client

The PuTTY Secure Copy client (PSCP) is a command-line tool that you can use to transfer files between your Windows computer and your Linux/Unix instance. If you prefer a graphical user interface (GUI), you can use an open source GUI tool named WinSCP. For more information, see Transferring Files to Your Instance with WinSCP.

To use PSCP, you'll need the private key you generated in Converting Your Private Key Using PuTTYgen. You'll also need the public DNS address of your Linux/Unix instance.

The following example transfers the file Sample_file.txt from a Windows computer to the /usr/local directory on a Linux/Unix instance:

C:\> pscp -i C:\Keys\my-key-pair.ppk C:\Sample_file.txt user_name@public_dns:/usr/local/Sample_file.txt

Transferring Files to Your Instance with WinSCP

WinSCP is a GUI-based file manager for Windows that allows you to upload and transfer files to a remote computer using the SFTP, SCP, FTP, and FTPS protocols. WinSCP allows you to drag and drop files from your Windows machine to your Linux instance or synchronize entire directory structures between the two systems.

To use WinSCP, you'll need the private key you generated in Converting Your Private Key Using PuTTYgen. You'll also need the public DNS address of your Linux/Unix instance.

  1. Download and install WinSCP from http://winscp.net/eng/download.php. For most users, the default installation options are OK.

  2. Start WinSCP.

  3. At the WinSCP login screen, for Host name, enter the public DNS address for your instance.

  4. For User name, enter the default user name for your AMI. For Amazon Linux AMIs, the user name is ec2-user. For Red Hat AMIs the user name is root, and for Ubuntu AMIs the user name is ubuntu.

  5. For Private key, enter the path to your private key, or click the "" button to browse for the file.

    Note

    WinSCP requires a PuTTY private key file (.ppk). You can convert a .pem security key file to the .ppk format using PuTTYgen. For more information, see Converting Your Private Key Using PuTTYgen.

  6. (Optional) In the left panel, click Directories, and then, for Remote directory, enter the path for the directory you want to add files to.

  7. Click Login to connect, and click Yes to add the host fingerprint to the host cache.

  8. After the connection is established, in the connection window your Linux instance is on the right and your local machine is on the left. You can drag and drop files directly into the remote file system from your local machine. For more information on WinSCP, see the project documentation at http://winscp.net/eng/docs/start.