How to Use & Install the AWS CLI

What is the AWS CLI? |

The AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) is for managing your AWS services from a terminal session on your own client, allowing you to control and configure multiple AWS services and implement a level of automation.

If you’ve been using AWS for some time and feel comfortable clicking your way through all the services, you may have noticed that there’s more to AWS than the default eye-catching browser console. Using the AWS CLI can help you to unlock further potential when managing your AWS environment. The AWS CLI is a unified tool to manage your AWS services from a terminal session on your own client. With just one tool to download and configure, you can control multiple AWS services from the command line and automate them through scripts.

In this blog, I will show you how to use the AWS CLI and how to install it on your Windows, Linux, Mac, or Unix Operating System. To see the process to configure the AWS CLI in action, check out our beginner Introduction to the AWS CLI Hands-on Lab. During this Lab, you’ll learn how to configure the AWS CLI, leverage the built-in help tool, and set up an S3 website using the AWS CLI. The more you use the AWS CLI, the more you’ll see how powerful it is.

Cloud Academy AWS CLI Lab AWI CLI Lab

Downloading and installing the AWS CLI

First, you need to download the AWS CLI. Depending on your operating system, it will require a different method.

Linux / macOS / Unix

Prerequisites:

You must ensure that you have at least Python 2 version 2.6.5+ or Python 3 version 3.3+ installed. To verify your current version, run the command:

python --version

Installation:

The recommendation for installing the AWS CLI is to use the bundled installer provided by AWS. The bundled installer includes all dependencies required for the installation.

1. To begin the installation run the following command:

curl "https://s3.amazonaws.com/aws-cli/awscli-bundle.zip" -o "awscli-bundle.zip"

2. Next, you must unzip the downloaded package from step 1:

unzip awscli-bundle.zip

3. Once the package in unzipped, you can run the installation:

sudo ./awscli-bundle/install -i /usr/local/aws -b /usr/local/bin/aws

Using the -b option allows all users to use the AWS CLI from any directory, meaning you will not need to specify the install directory in the user’s $PATH variable. 

Windows

Prerequisites:

You must be running Microsoft Windows XP or later.

Installation:

There are three MSI installers to choose from:

1. Select the option required to download the MSI

2. Run the downloaded MSI installer or the CLI setup file, as required

3. Follow the instructions that appear

Once installed, the program files will be stored as shown:

64-bit version

C:\Program Files\Amazon\AWSCLI 

32-bit version

C:\Program Files (x86)\Amazon\AWSCLI

To confirm the installation, use the aws –version command at a command prompt. 

Simple configuration of the AWS CLI

Once you have installed the AWS CLI, you now need to configure the application to be able to connect to your AWS account.  To do so, enter the following from your command prompt:

aws configure

Through aws configure, the AWS CLI will prompt you for four pieces of information. The first two are required. These are your AWS access key ID and AWS secret access key, which serve as your account credentials. You can generate new credentials within AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) if you do not already have them. The other information you will need is region and output format, which you can leave as default for the time being.

aws configure 
AWS Access Key ID [None]: AKIAIOSFODNN7EXAMPLE 
AWS Secret Access Key [None]: wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY 
Default region name [None]: us-west-2 
Default output format [None]: json

The default region name simply defines the Region where you requests will be sent to. For all available regions, please see the following: Regions and Endpoints

The default output format specifies how the results are formatted. Values that can be used here include: 

  • json 
  • text
  • table

The AWS access key ID and AWS secret access key are used to authenticate your AWS account. This authorizes you to carry out specific tasks and functions as defined by your permissions level.  

The AWS access key ID is made up of 20 random uppercase alphanumeric characters, such as the one displayed on screen.

The AWS secret access key is made up of 40 random upper and lowercase alphanumeric and non-alphanumeric characters as displayed.

These access keys can be created for any IAM user who requires authentication from a programmatic perspective, such as when using the AWS CLI.


IMPORTANT: When the access keys are created, you are prompted to download and save the details. The secret access key ID will only be displayed once, and if you lose it, then you’ll have to delete the associated access key ID and recreate new keys for the user.


It’s worth noting that it’s not possible to retrieve lost secret access key IDs as AWS does not retain copies of these for security reasons in case they were compromised. By associating the access keys with the AWS CLI, it ensures that all API requests made to AWS are signed with a digital signature.

You can use the IAM service for creating new access keys for your users. To dive deeper into this service and other authentication and access control mechanisms, go to AWS: Overview of AWS Identity & Access Management (IAM) and Understanding of AWS Authentication, Authorization & Accounting. 

AWS IAM Course

Next steps

With the AWS CLI now installed and configured on your client, you can take the next steps to configuring, managing, and scripting AWS services.

For more commands relating to the AWS CLI, take a look at the official AWS CLI documentation.

Avatar

Written by

Stuart Scott

Stuart is the AWS content lead at Cloud Academy where he has created over 40 courses reaching tens of thousands of students. His content focuses heavily on cloud security and compliance, specifically on how to implement and configure AWS services to protect, monitor and secure customer data and their AWS environment.


Related Posts

Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— April 3, 2020

Breaking News: All AWS Certification Exams Now Available Online

Remote proctoring for all AWS certifications Cloud Academy is an Advanced AWS Technology Partner, and we are happy to announce all AWS certification exams are available online!  What does this mean for you? You can stay focused on your certification goal. Or you can start a certifica...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS certification
  • AWS Certifications
Connie Benton
Connie Benton
— April 1, 2020

How To Build a Career with AWS Certifications

From Iaas and PaaS solutions to digital marketing, cloud computing reshapes the world of technology. As the influence of this technology grows, so does investment. Tens of billions of dollars are being spent on cloud computing-related services each year. This influx is continuing to inc...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Certifications
Vijayakumar Athithan
Vijayakumar Athithan
— March 27, 2020

What is Cognito in AWS?

Web applications usually allow a valid username and password combination for successful sign in to the application. Modern authentication flows incorporate more approaches to ensure user authentication. When using AWS, this is no exception, thanks to the abilities and features offered b...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Cognito
  • Solutions Architect
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— March 20, 2020

The 12 AWS Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?

As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in cloud computing. As the market leader and most ma...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— March 17, 2020

Cloud Academy’s Blog Digest: How Do AWS Certifications Increase Your Employability, How to Become a Microsoft Certified Azure Data Engineer, and more

With everything going on right now, it's likely that the only thing you've been reading lately is related to the coronavirus pandemic. It's important to stay informed during these times, but it's also good to jump into something that can take your mind off of the current situation for j...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • blog digest
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Academy
  • programming
  • Security
Avatar
Cloud Academy Team
— March 13, 2020

Which Certifications Should I Get?

As we mentioned in an earlier post, the old AWS slogan, “Cloud is the new normal” is indeed a reality today. Really, cloud has been the new normal for a while now and getting credentials has become an increasingly effective way to quickly showcase your abilities to recruiters and compan...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— March 7, 2020

New on Cloud Academy: Intro to GitOps; AWS Courses; Java, Python, Amazon Linux 2, Ubuntu, & Docker Playgrounds; and much more

New Lab Playgrounds This month, our Content Team released six new "playground labs." Our playground labs provide a safe and secure sandbox environment for you to explore your own ideas, follow along with Cloud Academy courses, or answer your own questions — all without having to instal...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • gitops
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • lab playground
  • programming
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— March 6, 2020

New on Cloud Academy: Intro to GitOps; AWS Courses; Java, Python, Amazon Linux 2, Ubuntu, & Docker Playgrounds; and much more

New Lab Playgrounds This month, our Content Team released six new "playground labs." Our playground labs provide a safe and secure sandbox environment for you to explore your own ideas, follow along with Cloud Academy courses, or answer your own questions — all without having to instal...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • gitops
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • lab playground
  • programming
Patrick Navarro
Patrick Navarro
— March 4, 2020

AWS Certifications: How Do They Increase Your Employability and Progress Your Career?

AWS certifications are no walk in the park. They’re designed to validate in-depth, specialist knowledge and comprehensive experience, often requiring months of dedicated studying to earn even for those already working with the cloud platform. But the rewards that AWS professionals ca...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS certification
  • certification
Avatar
Chandan Patra
— February 21, 2020

Elasticsearch vs. CloudSearch: AWS Cloud Search Choices

Elasticsearch vs. CloudSearch: What's the main difference? Let's compare AWS-based cloud tools: Elasticsearch vs. CloudSearch. While both services use proven technologies, Elasticsearch is more popular, open source, and has a flexible API to use for customization; in comparison, CloudS...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • cloudsearch
  • elasticsearch
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— February 13, 2020

Cloud Academy Content Roadmap Updates

Welcome to our Q1 2020 roadmap. This is the content we plan to build over the next three months, between February 1 - and April 30, 2020. Let's look at some of our roadmap highlights. Atlassian Bamboo for CI/CD We had a lot of requests for practical guides on how to apply DevOps tool...

Read more
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Docker
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Kubernetes
  • Machine Learning
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— February 7, 2020

New on Cloud Academy: Git Labs, CKA and CKAD Lab Challenges, AWS and Azure Learning Paths, AGILE, and Much More

We just kicked off our first Free Weekend of 2020. This means we've unlocked our Training Library for just 72 hours. Until Sunday at 11:59 pm (PST), you can get unlimited access to our industry-leading learning paths, courses, certification prep exams, and our most popular hands-on labs...

Read more
  • agile
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Linux
  • OWASP
  • programming
  • red hat
  • scrum