Getting Started with AWS CLI: A Step-by-Step Guide

Getting Started with AWS CLI: A Step-by-Step Guide


Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides a powerful command-line interface (CLI) that allows users to interact with various AWS services directly from their terminal or command prompt. Configuring AWS CLI involves setting up credentials securely and choosing default settings for seamless interaction with AWS resources. This guide will walk you through the steps required to configure AWS CLI effectively.


Before you begin configuring AWS CLI, ensure you have the following:

  1. AWS Account: Access to an AWS account is necessary to create access keys.

  2. AWS CLI Installed: If you haven't installed AWS CLI yet, you can download it from the official AWS CLI page.

Step-by-Step Guide to Configure AWS CLI

A. Configure AWS

To configure AWS, you need to have the AWS CLI installed. If you don't have it installed, you can install it using the following commands:

  1. Install AWS CLI

# Install AWS CLI
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install awscli -y

# Verify AWS CLI installation
aws --version
  1. Configure AWS CLI

Obtain AWS Access Keys:

  • Log in to your AWS Management Console.

  • Navigate to your name in the upper right corner. Click on the drop-down and select Security credentials.

  • Click the Create access key.

  • Note down your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key.

Run the following command and follow the prompts to configure your AWS credentials:

aws configure
  • Enter your AWS Access Key ID.

  • Enter your AWS Secret Access Key.

  • Specify your default region name (e.g., us-west-2).

  • Specify your default output format (e.g., json).

Your AWS CLI is configured with your credentials, allowing you to interact with AWS services from your local machine.

B. Verify AWS CLI Configuration

To ensure AWS CLI is correctly configured, test it with basic AWS commands:

  • List S3 Buckets: Use aws s3 ls to list all your S3 buckets.

  • Describe EC2 Instances: Execute aws ec2 describe-instances to retrieve information about your EC2 instances.

AWS CLI is configured properly and ready for use if these commands return information without errors.

Additional Configuration Options


AWS CLI supports multiple profiles for different AWS accounts or roles. You can create and manage profiles using the --profile option with aws configure.

Environment Variables

Instead of using aws configure, you can set environment variables (AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID, AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY, AWS_DEFAULT_REGION, etc.) directly on your machine.

Security Best Practices

  • IAM Policies: Always apply the principle of least privilege when assigning permissions to IAM users or roles.

  • Rotate Credentials: Regularly rotate IAM user access keys and passwords to enhance security.

  • Enable MFA: Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for IAM users to add an extra layer of protection against unauthorized access.

By following these steps and best practices, you can effectively configure AWS CLI and securely manage AWS resources from your command line interface. AWS CLI's flexibility and power make it a valuable tool for automating tasks and managing AWS infrastructure efficiently.