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How to Setup AWS Account and connect to EC2 instances?

by Jul 10, 2016

Setup AWS AccountDecided to host your website or application on AWS?

Setting up the account and using the servers for the first time does’nt have to daunting if you follow these simple steps.




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Step-1:Signing up for for Amazon Web Services

  • Sign up using your mail id
  • Provide your credit card details.If you are signing up from India , you get billed in INR currency. For this you need to choose your location as India.
  • Once AWS verifies your credit card details you are ready to launch a server.The verification process gets completed in less than 5 minutes.Apart from verifying your credit card by doing a small transaction you will also be asked to complete the phone verification process. You get an automated call on the phone number you have provided. You need to note down the code and submit it in the registration page.[spacer size=”5″]

Step-2:Provisioning Servers
Launching a server and connecting to it can be confusing and challenging. More so if you have not used ssh keys for accessing servers. These points will help you understand the steps and launch an AWS server easily.

  • EC2 instance or just instance is the terminology used for referring to the servers you launch and use on AWS cloud. EC2 stands for Elastic Compute Cloud.
  • Instance Type : You have many confusing options to select from. Each instance type indicates a specific memory configuration and processing power. The processing power is referenced in ECU’s(AWS EC2 Computing Units).Don’t waste time trying to decipher it at this point in time. It can become confusing and may not help you achieve anything worthwhile. You can do that later once you get a hang of AWS and the instance types.The most basic and entry level instance is the Nano instance. And then we have Micro , Small, Medium and so on. For testing purposes or getting familiarized with AWS or for hosting a simple website , Micro instance is ideal. Also it is the one that is offered free for 750 hrs per month.

    If you are wondering about 750hrs per month when a month can have 24×31 = 744hrs at the most. Here’s some food for thought. AWS allows you to launch multiple free micro instances. Assume you launch two instances and run it for 3 days. You end up using 144hrs (24 x 2 x 3) and your 744 hrs fast quota will get exhausted in 15days. You may end up paying for the additional hrs used.

  • Operating System : Options include (Ubuntu, CentOS , RedHat,etc) and Windows operating systems(2008R2 , 2012,etc). You can choose plain vanilla O.S or O.S with add on software (e.g. Windows + MS SQL).
  • Costs vary based on the instance type , Operating system and add ons selected.
  • Configuration: During launch of the instance you will be asked to select the root disk size, additional disks required and security group. Security group is like your firewall. You define the ports to be opened. At the minimum it should have ssh port opened(for Linux instances) or RDP opened (for Windows instances).
  • Access: At the end of the launch steps you will be asked to create an SSH key pair. This is the critical part. Ensure that you remember the location the key file is saved on your local desktop. For linux you will use a client like putty to login using the ssh key (after converting it to ppk format using putty).For windows you will use it to get the windows administrator password. After your windows instance is launched you will right click your windows instance (in AWS console –EC2 section) and select “get windows password”. You will be prompted to provide the SSH key. Once you provide the key your windows instance admin password is shown.You run RDP client from your desktop and login using account “administrator” and the password you got using the ssh key pair.
  • Login : Once you login you have admin privileges and use it like any other server. For linux, based on the flavor (Ubuntu, CentOS, Amazon Linux) your login user will be different. For Amazon Linux it is “ec2-user” for ubuntu it will be ubuntu. ec2-user will not have root privileges and you will have to do “su” or use “sudo” to run root privilege commands.

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