Selecting a stack template - AWS CloudFormation

Selecting a stack template

After starting the Create Stack wizard, you specify the template that you want AWS CloudFormation to use to create your stack.

CloudFormation templates are JSON- or YAML-formatted files that specify the AWS resources that make up your stack. For more information about CloudFormation templates, see Working with AWS CloudFormation templates.

To choose a stack template:
  1. On the Specify template page, choose a stack template by using one of the following options:

    Template is ready

    Specify a completed template you have ready for creating a stack.

    In the Specify template section, select the appropriate option based on the template's location:

    • Amazon S3 URL

      Specify a URL to a template in an S3 bucket.

      Enter the URL in the Amazon S3 URL field.


      If your template includes nested stacks (for example, stacks described in other template documents located in subdirectories), ensure that your S3 bucket contains the necessary files and directories.

      If you have a template in a versioning-enabled bucket, you can specify a specific version of the template, such as For more information, see Managing objects in a versioning-enabled bucket in the Amazon Simple Storage Service User Guide.

      The URL must point to a template with a maximum size of 1 MB that is stored in an S3 bucket that you have read permissions to. The URL can be a maximum of 1024 characters long. Some resources may require that the bucket be in the same Region as the stack.

    • Upload a template file

      Select a CloudFormation template on your local computer.

      Choose Choose File to select the template file that you want to upload. The template can be a maximum size of 1 MB. Once you have chosen your template, CloudFormation uploads the file and displays the S3 URL.

      If you use the AWS CLI or API to create a stack, you can upload a template with a maximum size of 51,200 bytes.


      If you upload a local template file, CloudFormation uploads it to an Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket in your AWS account. If you don't already have an S3 bucket that was created by CloudFormation, it creates a unique bucket for each Region in which you upload a template file. If you already have an S3 bucket that was created by AWS CloudFormation in your AWS account, CloudFormation adds the template to that bucket.

      Considerations to keep in mind about S3 buckets created by CloudFormation

      • The buckets are accessible to anyone with Amazon S3 permissions in your AWS account.

      • CloudFormation creates the buckets with server-side encryption enabled by default, thereby encrypting all objects stored in the bucket.

        You can directly manage encryption options for buckets that CloudFormation has created; for example, using the Amazon S3 console at, or the AWS CLI. For more information, see Amazon S3 default encryption for S3 buckets in the Amazon Simple Storage Service User Guide.

      • You can use your own bucket and manage its permissions by manually uploading templates to Amazon S3. When you create or update a stack, specify the Amazon S3 URL of a template file.

    Use a sample template
    • To view more templates samples and snippets, organized by AWS service, click View more sample templates.

    Create template in Designer

    Create or modify a template using AWS CloudFormation Designer, a drag and drop interface for graphically diagramming your templates. For more information, see What is AWS CloudFormation Designer?.

  2. To accept your settings, choose Next, and proceed with specifying the stack name and parameters.

    Before creating resources, CloudFormation validates your template to catch syntactic and some semantic errors, such as circular dependencies. During validation, CloudFormation first checks if the template is valid JSON. If it isn't, CloudFormation checks if the template is valid YAML. If both checks fail, CloudFormation returns a template validation error.