Create Your First Amazon EC2 Instance (Linux)

Ready for the real environment experience?

Time Limit1h


Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is one of the most popular AWS services. EC2 allows you to launch different types of cloud instances and pay for them with a pay-per-use model. EC2 allows you to have operating system level control of your computing resources while running in Amazon’s computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances from days or weeks to minutes. This allows you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 allows you to build and configure your instances as you like, from your desired operating system to your applications.

By completing this Hands-on Lab, you will be able to launch and configure your first Amazon EC2 instance using the AWS Management Console.

Lab Objectives

Upon completion of this lab you will be able to:

  • Configure and launch an instance in EC2
  • Understand the Instance States and other critical instance information
  • Generate and use a Secure Shell (SSH) public/private key pair
  • Connect to a running Linux instance using an SSH client
  • Extract metadata about your running instance
  • Terminate an instance

Lab Prerequisites

You should be familiar with:

  • Conceptual understanding of EC2
  • Conceptual understanding of SSH client software, protocol, and keys
  • Some Linux shell/command understanding is helpful, but not required


August 15th, 2022 - Updated instructions and screenshots to better communicate instance ssh

May 31st, 2022 - Updated instructions and screenshots to reflect the new launch instance wizard

April 13th, 2022 - Updated screenshots for accuracy

December 14th, 2021 - Update instructions and screenshot to reflect updated EC2 console interface

February 24th, 2021 - Added a lab step covering instance termination

February 14th, 2021 - Further emphasized the conversion of the PEM key file to PPK is only required for Windows users

August 27th, 2020 - Updated screenshots for the EC2 Instances user interface

March 11th, 2019 - Updated instructions and screenshots to match the latest AWS Management Console experience

March 1st, 2019 - Added environment diagrams

November 27th, 2018 - Added a validation Lab Step to check the work you perform in the Lab

Environment before
Environment after
About the Author
Learning paths49

Logan has been involved in software development and research since 2007 and has been in the cloud since 2012. He is an AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional, AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional, Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert, MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, Google Cloud Certified Associate Cloud Engineer, Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS), Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA), Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD), and Certified OpenStack Administrator (COA). He earned his Ph.D. studying design automation and enjoys all things tech.