Setting up for Amazon RDS - Amazon Relational Database Service

Setting up for Amazon RDS

Before you use Amazon Relational Database Service for the first time, complete the following tasks.

If you already have an AWS account, know your Amazon RDS requirements, and prefer to use the defaults for IAM and VPC security groups, skip ahead to Getting started with Amazon RDS.

Get an AWS account and your root user credentials

To access AWS, you must sign up for an AWS account.

To sign up for an AWS account

  1. Open

  2. Follow the online instructions.

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

AWS sends you a confirmation email after the sign-up process is complete. At any time, you can view your current account activity and manage your account by going to and choosing My Account.

Create an IAM user

If your account already includes an IAM user with full AWS administrative permissions, you can skip this section.

When you first create an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account, you begin with a single sign-in identity. That identity has complete access to all AWS services and resources in the account. This identity is called the AWS account root user. When you sign in, enter the email address and password that you used to create the account.


We strongly recommend that you do not use the root user for your everyday tasks, even the administrative ones. Instead, adhere to the best practice of using the root user only to create your first IAM user. Then securely lock away the root user credentials and use them to perform only a few account and service management tasks. To view the tasks that require you to sign in as the root user, see Tasks that require root user credentials.

To create an administrator user for yourself and add the user to an administrators group (console)

  1. Sign in to the IAM console as the account owner by choosing Root user and entering your AWS account email address. On the next page, enter your password.


    We strongly recommend that you adhere to the best practice of using the Administrator IAM user that follows 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, choose Users and then choose Add users.

  3. For User name, enter Administrator.

  4. Select the check box next to AWS Management Console access. Then select Custom password, and then enter your new password in the text box.

  5. (Optional) By default, AWS requires the new user to create a new password when first signing in. You can clear the check box next to User must create a new password at next sign-in to allow the new user to reset their password after they sign in.

  6. Choose Next: Permissions.

  7. Under Set permissions, choose Add user to group.

  8. Choose Create group.

  9. In the Create group dialog box, for Group name enter Administrators.

  10. Choose Filter policies, and then select AWS managed - job function to filter the table contents.

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


    You must activate IAM user and role access to Billing before you can use the AdministratorAccess permissions to access the AWS Billing and Cost Management console. To do this, follow the instructions in step 1 of the tutorial about delegating access to the billing console.

  12. 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.

  13. Choose Next: Tags.

  14. (Optional) Add metadata to the user by attaching tags as key-value pairs. For more information about using tags in IAM, see Tagging IAM entities in the IAM User Guide.

  15. 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 that restrict user permissions to specific AWS resources, see Access management and Example policies.

Sign in as an IAM user

Sign in to the IAM console by choosing IAM user and entering your AWS account ID or account alias. On the next page, enter your IAM user name and your password.


For your convenience, the AWS sign-in page uses a browser cookie to remember your IAM user name and account information. If you previously signed in as a different user, choose the sign-in link beneath the button to return to the main sign-in page. From there, you can enter your AWS account ID or account alias to be redirected to the IAM user sign-in page for your account.

Create IAM user access keys

Access keys consist of an access key ID and secret access key, which are used to sign programmatic requests that you make to AWS. If you don't have access keys, you can create them from the AWS Management Console. As a best practice, do not use the AWS account root user access keys for any task where it's not required. Instead, create a new administrator IAM user with access keys for yourself.

The only time that you can view or download the secret access key is when you create the keys. You cannot recover them later. However, you can create new access keys at any time. You must also have permissions to perform the required IAM actions. For more information, see Permissions required to access IAM resources in the IAM User Guide.

To create access keys for an IAM user

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the IAM console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Users.

  3. Choose the name of the user whose access keys you want to create, and then choose the Security credentials tab.

  4. In the Access keys section, choose Create access key.

  5. To view the new access key pair, choose Show. You will not have access to the secret access key again after this dialog box closes. Your credentials will look something like this:


    • Secret access key: wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY

  6. To download the key pair, choose Download .csv file. Store the keys in a secure location. You will not have access to the secret access key again after this dialog box closes.

    Keep the keys confidential in order to protect your AWS account and never email them. Do not share them outside your organization, even if an inquiry appears to come from AWS or No one who legitimately represents Amazon will ever ask you for your secret key.

  7. After you download the .csv file, choose Close. When you create an access key, the key pair is active by default, and you can use the pair right away.

Related topics

Determine requirements

The basic building block of Amazon RDS is the DB instance. In a DB instance, you create your databases. A DB instance provides a network address called an endpoint. Your applications use this endpoint to connect to your DB instance. When you create a DB instance, you specify details like storage, memory, database engine and version, network configuration, security, and maintenance periods. You control network access to a DB instance through a security group.

Before you create a DB instance and a security group, you must know your DB instance and network needs. Here are some important things to consider:

  • Resource requirements – What are the memory and processor requirements for your application or service? You use these settings to help you determine what DB instance class to use. For specifications about DB instance classes, see DB instance classes.

  • VPC, subnet, and security group – Your DB instance will most likely be in a virtual private cloud (VPC). To connect to your DB instance, you need to set up security group rules. These rules are set up differently depending on what kind of VPC you use and how you use it: in a default VPC or in a user-defined VPC.

    The following list describes the rules for each VPC option:

    • Default VPC – If your AWS account has a default VPC in the current AWS Region, that VPC is configured to support DB instances. If you specify the default VPC when you create the DB instance, do the following:

      • Make sure to create a VPC security group that authorizes connections from the application or service to the Amazon RDS DB instance. Use the Security Group option on the VPC console or the AWS CLI to create VPC security groups. For information, see Step 4: Create a VPC security group.

      • Specify the default DB subnet group. If this is the first DB instance you have created in this AWS Region, Amazon RDS creates the default DB subnet group when it creates the DB instance.

    • User-defined VPC – If you want to specify a user-defined VPC when you create a DB instance, be aware of the following:

      • Make sure to create a VPC security group that authorizes connections from the application or service to the Amazon RDS DB instance. Use the Security Group option on the VPC console or the AWS CLI to create VPC security groups. For information, see Step 4: Create a VPC security group.

      • The VPC must meet certain requirements in order to host DB instances, such as having at least two subnets, each in a separate Availability Zone. For information, see Amazon Virtual Private Cloud VPCs and Amazon RDS.

      • Make sure to specify a DB subnet group that defines which subnets in that VPC can be used by the DB instance. For information, see the DB subnet group section in Working with a DB instance in a VPC.


      Some legacy accounts don't use a VPC. If you are accessing a new AWS Region or you are a new RDS user (after 2013), you are most likely creating a DB instance inside a VPC. For more information, see Determining whether you are using the EC2-VPC or EC2-Classic platform.

  • High availability: Do you need failover support? On Amazon RDS, a Multi-AZ deployment creates a primary DB instance and a secondary standby DB instance in another Availability Zone for failover support. We recommend Multi-AZ deployments for production workloads to maintain high availability. For development and test purposes, you can use a deployment that isn't Multi-AZ. For more information, see Multi-AZ deployments for high availability.

  • IAM policies: Does your AWS account have policies that grant the permissions needed to perform Amazon RDS operations? If you are connecting to AWS using IAM credentials, your IAM account must have IAM policies that grant the permissions required to perform Amazon RDS operations. For more information, see Identity and access management in Amazon RDS.

  • Open ports: What TCP/IP port does your database listen on? The firewall at some companies might block connections to the default port for your database engine. If your company firewall blocks the default port, choose another port for the new DB instance. When you create a DB instance that listens on a port you specify, you can change the port by modifying the DB instance.

  • AWS Region: What AWS Region do you want your database in? Having your database in close proximity to your application or web service can reduce network latency. For more information, see Regions, Availability Zones, and Local Zones.

  • DB disk subsystem: What are your storage requirements? Amazon RDS provides three storage types:

    • Magnetic (Standard Storage)

    • General Purpose (SSD)

    • Provisioned IOPS (PIOPS)

    Magnetic storage offers cost-effective storage that is ideal for applications with light or burst I/O requirements. General purpose, SSD-backed storage, also called gp2, can provide faster access than disk-based storage. Provisioned IOPS storage is designed to meet the needs of I/O-intensive workloads, particularly database workloads, which are sensitive to storage performance and consistency in random access I/O throughput. For more information on Amazon RDS storage, see Amazon RDS DB instance storage.

When you have the information you need to create the security group and the DB instance, continue to the next step.

Provide access to your DB instance in your VPC by creating a security group

VPC security groups provide access to DB instances in a VPC. They act as a firewall for the associated DB instance, controlling both inbound and outbound traffic at the DB instance level. DB instances are created by default with a firewall and a default security group that protect the DB instance.

Before you can connect to your DB instance, you must add rules to a security group that enable you to connect. Use your network and configuration information to create rules to allow access to your DB instance.

For example, suppose that you have an application that accesses a database on your DB instance in a VPC. In this case, you must add a custom TCP rule that specifies the port range and IP addresses that your application uses to access the database. If you have an application on an Amazon EC2 instance, you can use the security group that you set up for the Amazon EC2 instance.

For information about common scenarios for accessing a DB instance, see Scenarios for accessing a DB instance in a VPC.

To create a VPC security group

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the Amazon VPC console at


    Make sure you are in the VPC console, not the RDS console.

  2. In the top right corner of the AWS Management Console, choose the AWS Region where you want to create your VPC security group and DB instance. In the list of Amazon VPC resources for that AWS Region, you should see at least one VPC and several subnets. If you don't, you don't have a default VPC in that AWS Region.

  3. In the navigation pane, choose Security Groups.

  4. Choose Create security group.

    The Create security group page appears.

  5. In Basic details, enter the Security group name and Description. For VPC, choose the VPC that you want to create your DB instance in.

  6. In Inbound rules, choose Add rule.

    1. For Type, choose Custom TCP.

    2. For Port range, enter the port value to use for your DB instance.

    3. For Source, choose a security group name or type the IP address range (CIDR value) from where you access the DB instance. If you choose My IP, this allows access to the DB instance from the IP address detected in your browser.

  7. If you need to add more IP addresses or different port ranges, choose Add rule and enter the information for the rule.

  8. (Optional) In Outbound rules, add rules for outbound traffic. By default, all outbound traffic is allowed.

  9. Choose Create security group.

You can use the VPC security group that you just created as the security group for your DB instance when you create it.


If you use a default VPC, a default subnet group spanning all of the VPC's subnets is created for you. When you create a DB instance, you can select the default VPC and use default for DB Subnet Group.

Once you have completed the setup requirements, you can create a DB instance using your requirements and security group by following the instructions in Creating an Amazon RDS DB instance. For information about getting started by creating a DB instance that uses a specific DB engine, see the relevant documentation in the following table.


If you can't connect to a DB instance after you create it, see the troubleshooting information in Can't connect to Amazon RDS DB instance.