An Amazon EC2 Instance Tutorial

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Creating an Amazon EC2 instance is incredibly easy as I will show you in this tutorial.

You will require the some things to get started:

1) A verified AWS account

Create your account with Amazon Web Services. Go to aws.amazon.com and set up an Amazon Web Services account. You should have a credit card and a phone number for pin validation. Note you could very well be eligible for a cost free micro instance for one year. You could use this for what we are setting up here, but be aware that you will still need to have a credit card to start the account. This will take a few minutes to get your account online right after you sign up. Get some espresso now if you desire.

If you have an email advising you that your account is set, we can now go in and create a server instance. Head back to the Amazon web services page and from the main menu, choose "AWS Management Console". If you want to set up the free usage tier – just stay within the limits of the terms of service (mostly 1 micro instance) and you'll be good – you will not be billed for your first year.

So to start up an instance – select EC2 on the AWS Management Console. You'll be shown the EC2 console.

Click on the "Launch Instance" button.

Select the "Classic Wizard". You will be asked to choose an AMI. Now we will click on our instance. For this tutorial we'll use Ubuntu so decide upon either the Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS or the Ubuntu Server 11.10 (I decided on the 12.04 LTS but each of them are fine for serving a website). I also decided on 64bit.

Instance Details

You will see on the next screen – we'll just select 1 instance. Verify the instance type is Micro and pick and choose "Continue". I just simply use the defaults for the kernel and RAM Disk ID settings.

Key Pairs

You will be prompted to setup a Key Pair. I left the Key set to the default of "Name" and for the Value – I used "Website" – this can be whatever you want. Essentially this names your instance so you could tell them apart if you have more than one. This can be edited later as well, but insert something in there in the meanime. Next, input a name for your key pair – this is necessary, but label it something readable like "ws", "website" or something you can remember. When you setup the key pair, a file will save to your desktop. Keep this safe and do not loose it. You will have to have it to connect to the server. Regarding security group settings, you may possibly leave them with the quick-start-1 defaults. Now you'll see a confirmation screen. You can go ahead and begin with the instance set up. This can take a few minutes. Play with the "refresh" button back on the console to assess the set up status.

Once you "refresh" youought to see "1 Running Instance" on the "My Resources tab.

Select your instance and you will get the "details" panel benefit.

Basically from here you can see the data around the server instance. The relevant thing here is the Public DNS. It's the long URL – something like its ec2-34.235.33.21.compute-1.amazonaws.com.

So in this case, we have efficiently set up a server instance. The incredible thing about Amazon is these instances can be kicked off or terminated and you'll only pay for what you use. I had some mistakes when I first tried setting mine up – I made the decision later to change from Apache to Ubuntu. Not conscious what I was doing – I had generated 4 instances. You get invoiced by the hour so I terminated them. Total charge – 8 cents.

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