Skip to main content

Prelab 8: AWS

due Friday, March 19th 10:00AM


We are going to work with AWS cloud services for this lab and pre-lab.

Cloud Services

In this section, we will get you familiar with AWS , one of the most popular web hosting services. This section could be very helpful for deploying your final project or personal web application. We also provide links to official Azure and Google Cloud tutorials at the end. Feel free to go through one of the linked tutorials for this prelab instead of AWS, but be aware that the lab will be based on AWS.

Setting Up an AWS Account

Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is a suite of cloud services provided by Amazon. AWS provide tools for computing, storage, databases, management and more. The services are designed to be massively scalable, so they work well for small projects but can support huge sites as well. In CS1320, we will be using EC2 to run our server and S3 to serve static content.

Follow the instructions to create an AWS Educate account. If you already have one through one of your other classes or schoolwork, then don't worry about setting up a new one. You should be able to use your exisiting account.

  • Go to AWS and sign up for an account Join AWS Free Tier
  • Sign up
  • You should be able to click AWS Console to access AWS Web Services.

If you have trouble completing the registration, you can:

  • post on Piazza
  • create a normal AWS Account using your school email
  • work with your final project group


While Amazon offers a free tier of some of the AWS services as a trial, excessive usages incur some cost. Monitor your usage and you should be fine. We recommend you set up alerts to warn you about your usage.

AWS Console

Take a look at the AWS Management Console . It is the homepage when you log into your AWS account, which can be reached by clicking AWS icon in the header. Take a second to check out some of the other services offered.

For the remainder of the lab, you will set up an instance with EC2 that you can use for your final projects



EC2 is Amazon's cloud-server solution. EC2 lets you run virtual machines on Amazon's cloud, which we'll be using to host a simple Node server. AWS makes it easy to scale instances or fire up new ones. Netflix, for example, uses AWS and is constantly expanding their fleet of servers to accommodate different levels of customer demand. We won't need to do that right now, but it's nice to have the option. This scalability is one of the things that makes EC2 so popular.

Getting started with EC2

EC2 is Amazon's service for virtual private servers. These are operating systems which are actually running as programs in a so-called "host operating system" running virtualization software (which sounds really slow, but works quite well in practice.) The computers are called instances in Amazon's parlance, and they come in several types. For this lab you'll be using the standard micro instance, t2.micro , which is on the free-tier pricing.

The first thing you'll do is choose the operating system. You'll be using one from AWS Quickstart, but if you wish, you can choose the standard Amazon Linux or Ubuntu installations. However, if your final project is going to require certain technologies, you either should search for an AMI that comes with your technologies installed, or make sure you know how to install these technologies from the barebone installations.

Click for detailed instructions on creating your EC2 instance

Other Cloud Platforms

Make sure that you terminate your instance!

Handin Instructions

To hand in this prelab, upload a screenshot of your EC2 instance to the Gradescope handin for this prelab. This screenshot should look like the last image in the Google Doc shared above. Additionally, you should copy and paste the URL of your EC2 instance. If you worked with your final project group due to difficulties setting up AWS (note: you should do this lab on your own and only work in your final project group if you have made a signfiicant effort to solve any issues you are having - for example, have come to TA hours and posted on Piazza), make sure to add your group members to your handin.