Tutorial: Get started with Amazon EC2 Linux instances - Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud

Tutorial: Get started with Amazon EC2 Linux instances

Use this tutorial to get started with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). You'll learn how to launch, connect to, and use a Linux instance. An instance is a virtual server in the AWS Cloud. With Amazon EC2, you can set up and configure the operating system and applications that run on your instance.

When you sign up for AWS, you can get started with Amazon EC2 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, 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.

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The instance is an Amazon EBS-backed instance (meaning that the root volume is an EBS volume). You can either specify the Availability Zone in which your instance runs, or let Amazon EC2 select an Availability Zone for you. You can think of an Availability Zone as an isolated data center.

When you launch your instance, you secure it by specifying a key pair (to prove your identity) and a security group (which acts as a virtual firewall to control ingoing and outgoing traffic). When you connect to your instance, you must specify the private key of the key pair that you specified when launching your instance.

				An Amazon EBS-backed instance with an additional Amazon EBS volume


Before you begin, be sure that you've completed the steps in Set up to use Amazon EC2.

Step 1: Launch an instance

You can launch a Linux instance using the AWS Management Console as described in the following procedure. This tutorial is intended to help you launch your first instance quickly, so it doesn't cover all possible options. For more information about the advanced options, see Launch an instance using the Launch Instance Wizard. For information about other ways to launch your instance, see Launch your instance.

To launch an instance

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/.

  2. From the console dashboard, choose 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 an HVM version of Amazon Linux 2. Notice that these AMIs are marked "Free tier eligible."

  4. On the Choose an Instance Type page, you can select the hardware configuration of your instance. Select the t2.micro instance type, which is selected by default. The t2.micro instance type is eligible for the free tier. In Regions where t2.micro is unavailable, you can use a t3.micro instance under the free tier. For more information, see AWS Free Tier.

  5. On the Choose an Instance Type page, choose Review and Launch to let the wizard complete the other configuration settings for you.

  6. On the Review Instance Launch page, under Security Groups, you'll see that the wizard created and selected a security group for you. You can use this security group, or alternatively you can select the security group that you created when getting set up using the following steps:

    1. Choose Edit security groups.

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

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

  7. On the Review Instance Launch page, choose Launch.

  8. When prompted for a key pair, select Choose an existing key pair, then select the key pair that you created when getting set up.


    Don't select Proceed without a key pair. If you launch your instance without a key pair, then you can't connect to it.

    When you are ready, select the acknowledgement check box, and then choose Launch Instances.

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

  10. On the Instances screen, you can view the status of the launch. 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 IPv4 DNS column is hidden, choose the settings icon ( ) in the top-right corner, toggle on Public IPv4 DNS, and choose Confirm.

  11. It can take a few minutes for the instance to be ready so that you can connect to it. Check that your instance has passed its status checks; you can view this information in the Status check column.

Step 2: Connect to your instance

There are several ways to connect to your Linux instance. For more information, see Connect to your Linux instance.


You can't connect to your instance unless you launched it with a key pair for which you have the .pem file and you launched it with a security group that allows SSH access from your computer. If you can't connect to your instance, see Troubleshoot connecting to your instance for assistance.

Step 3: Clean up your instance

After you've finished with the instance that you created for this tutorial, you should clean up by terminating the instance. If you want to do more with this instance before you clean up, see Next steps.


Terminating an instance effectively deletes it; you can't reconnect to an instance after you've terminated it.

If you launched an instance that is not within the AWS Free Tier, you'll stop incurring charges for that instance as soon as the instance status changes to shutting down or terminated. To keep your instance for later, but not incur charges, you can stop the instance now and then start it again later. For more information, see Stop and start your instance.

To terminate your instance

  1. In the navigation pane, choose Instances. In the list of instances, select the instance.

  2. Choose Instance state, Terminate instance.

  3. Choose Terminate when prompted for confirmation.

    Amazon EC2 shuts down and terminates your instance. After your instance is terminated, it remains visible on the console for a short while, and then the entry is automatically deleted. You cannot remove the terminated instance from the console display yourself.

Next steps

After you start your instance, you might want to try some of the following exercises: