How to connect to an EC2 instance using SSH

How to connect to an EC2 instance using SSH
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Have you ever launched an ec2 instance and you don’t know how to login to your brand new instance? It may sound difficult if you are a beginner, but it’s pretty much simple. Let’s take a look on how to login to your server using SSH protocol following the next simple steps whether you are using Linux or Windows.


  • SSH Key (.pem file) provided by Amazon. This SSH key is provided by Amazon when you launch the instance.
  • IP address.IP address assigned to your ec2 instance.
  • Username. The username depends on the Linux distro you just launched.Usually, these are the usernames for the most common distributions:

-Ubuntu: ubuntu

-Amazon Linux: ec2-user

-Centos: root

Only for Windows Users

Connect to your EC2 Instance

Usuing Linux

1. Open your terminal and change directory with command cd, where you downloaded your pem file. In this demonstration, pem file is stored in the downloads folder.


2. Type the SSH command with this structure:

 ssh -i file.pem [email protected] 

This is the explanation of the previous command:

  • ssh: Command to use SSH protocol
  • -i: Flag that specifies an alternate identification file to use for public key authentication.
  • username: Username that uses your instance
  • ip-address: IP address given to your instance

3. After pressing enter, a question will prompt to add the host to your known_hosts file. Type yes. This will help to recognize the host each time you’re trying to connect to your instance.


4. And that’s it! Now you’re logged in on your AWS instance


Using Windows

1. Open your PuttyGen(it is included with your Putty Client installation) on your PC.


2. Make sure the checkbox “RSA” is selected.


3. Click load and go to the folder where you have stored your pem file, select it and choose open.


4. You will see this message.


Click OK

5. After the Key is loaded, click on save private key. Then a message will prompt, select yes.


6. Now type a name for your key. For this example, the key will be named “instance” (it is not necessary to add the .ppk to the name file, Putty will do it)


7. Now close PuttyGen program and open Putty. Go to SSH section and double-click it.


8.Go to Auth section and select the ppk file that we just created.


9. Go back at the top in the Session section. Fill the field Hostname (or IP address) with the IP address given to your AWS instance and click open.


10. A warning will prompt. The server host is not registered on our PC, so we must add it. Click yes.


11. A window will prompt asking for the username, type your distro username, in this demonstration, username is ubuntu.


12. And there you go! Now you’re connected to your AWS instance using Putty on your Windows OS.



As you can see, steps are quite simple, but sometimes we can mess up the SSH conversion on Windows or how to get your instance information, in case that happens or you forget any step, feel free to come back and take a look on this tutorial.

Now you will not be facing doubts the next time you launch your amazing AWS instances, perhaps you want to take a look on how much you will spend on these brand new instances, feel free to read How AWS Pricing works or read more awesome blogs on our website!

You might also like: What is AWS ECS? – Run Docker in Production

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