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How to set up an AWS account


Before you can do anything in AWS, you need to create an account. This is quite a simple procedure, but you will need a credit card and a telephone which will take incoming calls. While the procedure being described here will use the AWS free tier, you will still need to give a credit card number so they can charge for any excess use. If you follow the instructions carefully, you should never be charged without warning. The main reasons you will be charged are if you decide to add additional disk space (EBS volumes), or if you accidentally select a larger instance type – make sure you select the Micro instance as this is eligible for the free tier.

To see exactly what you get with your free tier, please visit  Opens in new window

To create your AWS account, go to the AWS homepage  Opens in new window

and find the create an AWS account link in the top right corner.

AWS Header

Click 'Create an AWS Account' :
SignUp Form

Enter your e-mail address and click 'Sign In...':
Sign-up Credentials

Enter your name, e-mail (twice) and password (twice), click Continue
Contact Information

I hate these security checks! Actually managed to get this one first time though. Fill in your details - if you put down your credit card billing address, it saves time in the next page - and click 'Create...'

Payment Details

Enter your card details. If you are using the 'free tier' service, the card will not be billed unless you opt for a chargeable option. Click 'Continue'

If you get thrown out at this point, just sign back in with your e-mail address and new password.

Depending on where you are, you may get a VAT notice:

VAT registration screen
Fill in as appropriate.


Make sure you are near the phone now:
Phone Verification

This process seems to work quite well:
Verification PIN screen

You can either speak the numbers or use a touch tone phone, but even my comparatively pure english did not work, and the touch tone is much more reliable.

Once you enter the code, the screen automatically updates

Nearly there now.
Activation screen

It generally only takes a couple of minutes to send the email - which will look a bit like this:

That's it - you now have an AWS account. It's a bit of a pain going through three lots of security, and they may phone you back to confirm it again in a couple of days - but once it's set up. you can use it till your card expires (it hasn't happened to me yet - not sure what happens then!)

What next

Now we have our account, there are a couple of options. If you're going to be the only person using this account, you don't need to worry about setting up other users – just remember that anybody having your password can login and create themselves a server that you will end up paying for.

If you are asking a consultant or somebody in your IT department to set up the server now you have created the account, it's a good idea to create a separate AWS user for them to login as. This is a very fine grained process, allowing you to control exactly what aspects of the account other users can access. If you feel you need to do this, please contact me directly for instructions.

Otherwise, you are ready to create your first instance


just making sure we have a vertical scroll bar, otherwise it jitters sideways.