Terminology - AWS Sign-In


Amazon Web Services (AWS) uses common terminology to describe the sign in process. We recommend you read and understand these terms.


Also referred to as an AWS account administrator or IAM administrator. The administrator, typically Information Technology (IT) personnel, is an individual who oversees an AWS account. Administrators have a higher level of permissions to the AWS account than other members of their organization. Administrators establish and implement settings for the AWS account. They also create IAM or IAM Identity Center users. The administrator provides these users with their access credentials and a sign-in URL to sign in to AWS.


A standard AWS account contains both your AWS resources and the identities that can access those resources. Accounts are associated with the account owner’s email address and password.


Also referred to as access credentials or security credentials. In authentication and authorization, a system uses credentials to identify who is making a call and whether to allow the requested access. Credentials are the information that users provide to AWS to sign in and gain access to AWS resources. Credentials for human users can include an email address, a user name, a user defined password, an account ID or alias, a verification code, and a single use multi-factor authentication (MFA) code. For programmatic access, you can also use access keys. We recommend using short-term access keys when possible.

For more information about credentials, see AWS security credentials.


The type of credentials a user must submit depends on their user type.

Corporate credentials

The credentials that users provide when accessing their corporate network and resources. Your corporate administrator can set up your AWS account to use the same credentials that you use to access your corporate network and resources. These credentials are provided to you by your administrator or help desk employee.


When you sign up for an AWS Builder ID, you create a profile. Your profile includes the contact information you provided and the ability to manage multi-factor authentication (MFA) devices and active sessions. You can also learn more about privacy and how we handle your data in your profile. For more information about your profile and how it relates to an AWS account, see AWS Builder ID and other AWS credentials.

Root user credentials

The root user credentials are the email address and password used to create the AWS account. We strongly recommend that MFA be added to the root user credentials for additional security. Root user credentials provide complete access to all AWS services and resources in the account. For more information on the root user, see Root user.


A user is a person or application that has permissions to make API calls to AWS products or to access AWS resources. Each user has a unique set of security credentials that aren't shared with other users. These credentials are separate from the security credentials for the AWS account. For more information, see User types.

Verification code

A verification code verifies your identity during the sign-in process using multi-factor authentication (MFA). The delivery methods for verification codes varies. They can be sent via text message or email. Check with your administrator for more information.