Getting Started with AWS

Building a fast session store for your online applications

with Amazon ElastiCache for Redis

Introduction: Building a fast session store for your online applications

Follow step-by-step instructions to learn how to use Amazon ElastiCache for Redis as a distributed cache for session management


There are many ways of managing user sessions in web applications, ranging from cookies-only to distributed key/value databases, including server-local caching. Storing session data in the web server responding to a given request may seem convenient, as accessing the data incurs no network latency. The main drawback is that requests have to be routed carefully so that each user interacts with one server and one server only. Another drawback is that once a server goes down, all the session data is gone as well. A distributed, in-memory key/value database can solve both issues by paying the small price of a tiny network latency. Storing all the session data in cookies is good enough most of the time; if you plan to store sensitive data, then using server-side sessions is preferable.

Learning goal

In this tutorial you will learn how to use Amazon ElastiCache for Redis as a distributed cache for session management. You will also learn the best practices for configuring your ElastiCache nodes and how to handle the sessions from your application.

The Amazon ElastiCache node created in this tutorial is eligible for the AWS free tier.

 AWS Experience

Level: Beginner
Audience: Developers

 Use Case

Session Store, Session Caching, High Availability, Real-time application

 Time to Complete

120 minutes

 Cost to Complete

Free Tier Eligible

 Services Used

Amazon Elasticache for Redis
Amazon EC2

*This estimate assumes you follow the recommended configurations throughout the tutorial and terminate all resources within 2 hours.
**Accounts that have been created within the last 24 hours might not yet have access to the resources required for this project.


Time to complete: 20 minutes

This tutorial illustrates some mechanisms with examples written in Python and the Flask microframework for web development. Hopefully the code will be easy to translate to your language of choice.

In order to complete this tutorial, you need access to an EC2 instance. If you don’t already have one running, follow these instructions to provision one.

Make sure the security group of that instance allows incoming TCP connections on port 5000.

Once you have access to your EC2 instance, run the following commands:

syntax: shell

$ sudo yum install git
$ sudo yum install python3
$ sudo pip3 install virtualenv
$ git clone
$ cd amazon-elasticache-samples/session-store
$ virtualenv venv
$ source ./venv/bin/activate
$ pip3 install -r requirements.txt
$ export
$ export SECRET_KEY=some_secret_string
$ flask run -h -p 5000 --reload

This will start a Flask application on port 5000. If the server doesn’t report any errors, you should be able to visit the application from the command line in your EC2 instance with the following line:

syntax: shell

$ curl

It it works, you can now fetch the public IP address of your EC2 instance and try to access the web application from your computer.

Fetch the public IP address of your EC2 instance

In order to access the application from your browser, copy the Public DNS name of your EC2 instance and append the port number 5000. For example, given the address in the screenshot, the URL would be

Now you are all set to start the tutorial.


This workshop is divided into three modules. 

  1. Create a Redis Cluster (10 minutes): Set up your first Redis Cluster, and configure its node type and security group
  2. Session Caching with Redis (60-90 minutes): Implement a small application using Flask
  3. Cleanup (10 minutes): Delete your Redis Cluster when it’s not needed anymore

Create a Redis Cluster