AWS VM: Linux & Ubuntu setup

First head over to:

Want another method?





Already have an account? Skip ahead!

Select Create a Free Account or Create an AWS Account.


Now begin the Sign up process and verify your email with the emailed verification code.


After this screen, the first few steps, you will need to create a clever cool root user password and then begin following the rest of the steps as needed based on general setup questions.

Then halfway, you will be required to add a credit card, but you should not get charged except max 1 USD at the time being according to AWS website for strictly new account setups of free trial.

If you plan on using this indefinitely and agree to the charges, then you are good to go. I am not head liable for any payment charges that may occur. Please be responsible for out of trial charges.

One of the next to last steps, you will need to verify yourself using a text or phone call.

Finally, you will get the last screen, select Free if this is temporary. If not, choose as you please.


Now head on over to that glorious AWS management Console so we can do some neat things!


If you get prompted to sign in again, just sign in as a Root user and use the credentials you created earlier and you should then be on the console which can always be accessed via:


Go ahead and select View all services in the middle of the screen.

At the time of this guide, under the Compute section, select EC2. (EC2 is a trademark name from Amazon called Elastic Compute Cloud which is their scalable cloud service).

Inside the EC2 Dashboard, we are going to Launch Instance (the orange button that says Launch Instance, quite literally the only orange button, odd). Then select Launch Instance again. I have no clue why that is there twice but whatever.


In this demo, I am going to be using Ubuntu. Go ahead and select that in the Quick Start section. Underneath that you will see AMI (Amazon Machine Image) section, I am changing my setup from Ubuntu 22.04 LTS to use Ubuntu 18.05 LTS. You may use 22 if you wish but I am using 18 to stay consistent with other guides.


All the other settings defaults are good to use. Do change the Network settings to allow:

  • HTTP
  • SSH.


Now we can scroll down Press that Launch Instance button for the nth time.

You will get a Create key pair dialog, enter a cool clever name and leave RSA and .pem selected. Or proceed without a key pair and do as you wish with the other method.

(the usages are displayed underneath if you are curious) (pem is a certificate that stands for Privacy Enhanced Mail). No, I do not know why it is still used for these methods when it was created in 1985 but it works with SSH, and it is what it is.

Now press that Create key pair, go ahead, just do it, just.. do.. it.. if you wish.



You should get a .pem file downloaded. Keep it safe forever.

But not just anywhere, you must save it in your root home directory or else um, it will tell you to fly a kite, not fun.

Go ahead and move the .pem file into:

  • Windows:
  • Mac: should be in
    if not, you might need to research for OS changes or create one there if it is a new Mac.
  • Linux: Same as Mac, if not found just run
    mkdir ~/.ssh/
    and place it there.

Now press Launch Instance…. Again….


This image is from: This is not a paid Wikipedia advertisement, just let me give that credit where its due, anyways…

Boom! All done! Select View all instances! Wait for it to finish and say “Running”



Select the new instance row, should only be one. Here you can do all kinds of awesome stuff for just your Virtual machine!

Go ahead and save your public ip/ipv4 address or copy it because you will need it next.

Now open a new command prompt (cmd) on windows or terminal/shell on Mac/Linux.


ssh -i <private key path> ubuntu@your_ip_address

avoid using spaces in path names, use underscore _ if needed

example path where my key was:


If it prompts for fingerprint authentication, this is to authenticate the key. If you agree to this, type yes and then press enter again. This will add your host to allow connections. Then it should look like this:


To properly close connection, you can type exit and press enter or exit your terminal.

Congrats! You are an Amazonian AWS VM wizard! 🤘

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