Amazon CloudFront
Developer Guide (API Version 2016-09-29)

Setting Up Amazon CloudFront

The overview and procedures in this section help you get started with AWS.

Sign Up for AWS

When you sign up for AWS, your AWS account is automatically signed up for all services in AWS, including Amazon CloudFront. You are charged only for the services that you use.

If you have an AWS account already, skip to Access Your Account. Otherwise, go ahead and create one.

To create an AWS account

  1. Open, and then choose Create an AWS Account.


    If you previously signed in to the AWS Management Console using AWS account root user credentials, choose Sign in to a different account. If you previously signed in to the console using IAM credentials, choose Sign-in using root account credentials. Then choose Create a new AWS account.

  2. Follow the online instructions.

    Part of the sign-up procedure involves receiving a phone call and entering a verification code using the phone keypad.

Note your AWS account number, because you'll need it later.


If you plan to use CloudFront to distribute content that you store in an S3 bucket, make sure that you also complete the steps to sign up for S3. For more information, see Sign Up for Amazon S3.

Access Your Account

You use AWS services by using any of the following options:

  • AWS Management Console

  • API for each service

  • AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI)

  • AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell

  • AWS SDKs

For each of those options, you need to access your AWS account by providing credentials that verify that you have permissions to use the services.

Access the Console

To access the AWS Management Console for the first time, you provide an email address and a password. This combination of your email address and password is called your root identity or root account credentials. After you access your account for the first time, we strongly recommend that you don't use your root account credentials again for everyday use. Instead, you should create new credentials by using AWS Identity and Access Management. To do that, you create a user account for yourself known as an IAM user, and then add the IAM user to an IAM group with administrative permissions or grant the IAM user administrative permissions. You then can access AWS using a special URL and the credentials for the IAM user. You also can add other IAM users later, and restrict their access to specified resources in the account.


Some ad-blocking plugins for web browsers interfere with Amazon CloudFront console operations, which can cause the console to behave unpredictably. If you installed an ad-blocking plugin for your browser, we recommend that you add the URL for the CloudFront console,, to the whitelist for the plugin.

Access the API, AWS CLI, AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell, or the AWS SDKs

To use the API, the AWS CLI, AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell, or the AWS SDKs, you must create access keys. These keys consist of an access key ID and secret access key, which are used to sign programmatic requests that you make to AWS.

To create the keys, you sign in to the AWS Management Console. We strongly recommend that you sign in with your IAM user credentials instead of your root credentials. For more information, see Managing Access Keys for IAM Users in the IAM User Guide.

Create an IAM User

Use the following procedures to create a group for administrators, create an IAM user, and then add the IAM user to the administrators group. If you signed up for AWS but have not created an IAM user for yourself, you can create one using the IAM console. If you aren't familiar with using the console, see Working with the AWS Management Console for an overview.

To create an IAM user for yourself and add the user to an Administrators group

  1. Use your AWS account email address and password to sign in as the AWS account root user to the IAM console at


    We strongly recommend that you adhere to the best practice of using the Administrator IAM user below and securely lock away the root user credentials. Sign in as the root user only to perform a few account and service management tasks.

  2. In the navigation pane of the console, choose Users, and then choose Add user.

  3. For User name, type Administrator.

  4. Select the check box next to AWS Management Console access, select Custom password, and then type the new user's password in the text box. You can optionally select Require password reset to force the user to create a new password the next time the user signs in.

  5. Choose Next: Permissions.

  6. On the Set permissions page, choose Add user to group.

  7. Choose Create group.

  8. In the Create group dialog box, for Group name type Administrators.

  9. For Filter policies, select the check box for AWS managed - job function.

  10. In the policy list, select the check box for AdministratorAccess. Then choose Create group.

  11. Back in the list of groups, select the check box for your new group. Choose Refresh if necessary to see the group in the list.

  12. Choose Next: Review to see the list of group memberships to be added to the new user. When you are ready to proceed, choose Create user.

You can use this same process to create more groups and users, and to give your users access to your AWS account resources. To learn about using policies to restrict users' permissions to specific AWS resources, go to Access Management and Example Policies.

To sign in as your new IAM user

  1. Sign out of the AWS console.

  2. Sign in by using 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 123456789012:
  3. Enter the IAM user name (not your email address) 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.

To create an account alias and conceal your account ID

  1. On the IAM console, choose Dashboard in the navigation pane.

  2. On the dashboard, choose Customize and enter an alias such as your company name.

  3. Sign out of the AWS console.

  4. Sign in by using 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 using IAM, see AWS Authentication and Access Control for CloudFront.

Set Up the AWS Command Line Interface or AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell

The AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) is a unified tool for managing AWS services. For information about how to install and configure the AWS CLI, see Getting Set Up with the AWS Command Line Interface in the AWS Command Line Interface User Guide.

If you have experience with Windows PowerShell, you might prefer to use AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell. For more information, see Setting up the AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell in the AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell User Guide.

Download an AWS SDK

If you're using a programming language that AWS provides an SDK for, we recommend that you use an SDK instead of the Amazon CloudFront API. The SDKs make authentication simpler, integrate easily with your development environment, and provide easy access to CloudFront commands. For more information, see Tools for Amazon Web Services.