Getting Started with Amazon EC2

Why Amazon EC2?

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Amazon EC2 offers many options that help you build and run virtually any application. With these possibilities, getting started with EC2 is quick and easy to do. This page provides you with the resources to get you started with EC2 instances.

Steps for Amazon EC2


Log in to your AWS account

Log in to the AWS Management Console and set up your root account. If you don’t already have an account, you will be prompted to create one.

With the AWS Free Tier, you can get 750 hours/month of select EC2 instances for free.


Launch your instance

Identify which instance type is best for your workload. For your first instance, we recommend a low-cost, general-purpose instance type—t2.micro—and Amazon Machine Image (AMI)—Amazon Linux 2 AMI—which are both free-tier eligible.

Open the Amazon EC2 dashboard and choose “Launch Instance” to create your virtual machine.


Configure your instance

Here are some guidelines when setting up your first instance:

  • Security group: Create your own firewall rules or select the default VPC security group.
  • Storage: EC2 offers both magnetic disk and SSD storage. We recommend starting with Amazon EBS gp2 volumes.
  • Choose "Launch Instances" to complete the setup.

* Note: We will use the key pair file (.pem) later.


Connect to your instance

After launching your instance, you can connect to it and use it the way you'd use a computer sitting in front of you. There are several ways to connect to the console depending on the operating system. We recommend using EC2 Instance Connect, an easy-to-use browser-based client.

  • Select the EC2 instance that you created and choose "Connect.“
  • Select “EC2 Instance Connect.”
  • Choose “Connect.” A window opens, and you are connected to your instance.

Terminate your instance

Amazon EC2 is free to start (learn more), but it is important that you terminate your instances to prevent additional charges. The EC2 instance and the data associated will be deleted.

Select the EC2 instance, choose "Actions," select "Instance State," and then select "Terminate."


Get hands-on experience with these 10-minute tutorials and technical documents.

Learn how to install the Apache web server with PHP and MySQL support on your Amazon Linux instance (sometimes called a LAMP web server or LAMP stack) with this step-by-step tutorial. You can use this server to host a static website or deploy a dynamic PHP application that reads and writes information to a database.

Learn how to install, configure, and secure a WordPress blog on your Amazon Linux instance with this step-by-step tutorial. Or get started in one step with a preconfigured Bitnami WordPress image by Bitnami in the AWS Marketplace.

Learn how to remotely run commands on an EC2 instance, train a deep learning model, and more. These step-by-step tutorials teach you different ways to innovate with EC2.

Amazon Lightsail

Lightsail is an easy-to-use cloud platform ideal for simpler workloads, quick deployments, and getting started on AWS. If you’re new to the cloud, Lightsail provides you with everything that you need to build an application or website, plus a cost-effective monthly plan. Watch these hands-on Lightsail tutorials to quickly bring your projects to life and ramp up to AWS infrastructure. To decide if Lightsail or EC2 is for you, take a look at this side-by-side comparison of the cloud solutions. 

Enhance your productivity with EC2

Using EC2 is just the beginning of making cloud computing easier for you. Tailor your EC2 experience with services that will extend your productivity through high-performing block storage, tools that allow your application to scale based on demand, and fault-tolerant workloads for up to 90% off.

Amazon EBS is an easy-to-use high-performance block storage service designed for use with EC2 for both throughput and transaction-intensive workloads at any scale.

EC2 Auto Scaling helps you maintain application availability and allows you to automatically add or remove EC2 instances according to conditions that you define.

EC2 Spot Instances offer spare compute capacity on AWS at steep discounts compared to On-Demand Instances.

User guides and resources

The flexibility of AWS allows you to design your application architectures the way you like, whether you want to host a website or analyze your data. Here are a few resources for you to get started quickly:

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