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How to install EC2 Linux server in AWS

We will be using AWS to install Linux server which we can use for practice/ hand-on experience at home. One of the other alternative is to install Vmware on your desktop/laptop and then install Linux in its virtual machine. But this way requires a good hardware configuration of your laptop/desktop. Hosting your Linux on cloud is much easy and its not costing you anything for low usage!

AWS offers below list of distros to install on its EC2 (server computing module) platform.

  • Redhat
  • Cent OS
  • Debian
  • Fedora
  • Gentoo
  • OpenSuse
  • Suse Linux
  • Ubuntu
  • Amazon Linux

You can have hand on to all these distros within minutes after signing up your account!  Off course you will be having root administrator access on these systems! Lets walk through steps to get your Linux server ready in minutes on AWS.


Step 1.

Login to AWS account and from landing page select “Launch a virtual machine” under ‘Build a solution’ screen.

AWS launch virtual machine


Step 2.

You will be presented with ‘Quick Launch EC2 Instance’ screen. Here you will be able to launch wizard to get your task done fast or you can go through Advanced selections to decide your final virtual server config. We will be going with normal wizard. Click “Get Started” button here.

AWS launch virtual machine wizard


Step 3.

Now we will walk through wizard for creating our Linux virtual server.

Name your EC2 instance :

Your EC2 linux virtual server name of your choice.

AWS launch virtual machine wizard screen

Select your operating system. We are selecting RedHat here.

AWS launch virtual machine wizard OS selection

Select an instance type.

This is type of hardware config you will be needing. For free account, you will be able to select those instances only which is tagged with “Free tier eligible”. Here we are selecting default t2.micro instance which has Single core CPU, 1 GB RAM and 8GB of HDD.

AWS launch virtual machine wizard instance selection

Create a key pair.

This is important screen. Here you will be given one Private key to download. You will require this key to authenticate yourself while logging into this EC2 linux server when ready. Give name of your choice and download the key file and keep it safe.

AWS launch virtual machine wizard private key download

Create this instance.

Finally hit create button and your server will be ready in 2 minutes. You will see installing screen.

AWS launch virtual machine wizard installing

Once complete, click EC2 console link and you will be presented with list of servers under your account.

AWS launch virtual machine wizard finish


Step 4.

You can see below EC2 screen with your server details like instance state, zone, DNS etc.

AWS EC2 console screen

Now to connect to this server from your laptop/desktop, you need to use key pair as authentication. Download putty.exe and puttygen.exe from here.

Open puttygen.exe and load your private key which you have downloaded from AWS console in step 2.

Load private key in puttygen

Once, successfully loaded you need to click “Save public key” button and save the key on your desktop/laptop.

Now open putty.exe. Set your saved key file from puttygen (in above task) as a SSH authentication. In left hand side pane, expand SSH then select Auth and on right hand side you will be able to browse your file.

Private key file in Putty

Now your putty.exe is ready to connect with your AWS Linux server. Now head back to EC2 console and copy your server’s public DNS.

Use this it, in putty to connect. And you will be able to connect to server. Once prompted for username use username from below table as per your distro (official AMI). You wont be prompted for password. You authentication will be done via key pair you configured in putty settings.

Once logged in, use sudo su – command and you will be in root account! Thats it, you have EC2 Linux server with root account in few minutes!


You can install any distro listed above in these instances. Make sure you are not expiring your free usage according to AWS free tier policy otherwise you will be billed on your card.

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