When starting with the cloud, the management console is the first stop to provision, update and manage resources. However, the management console is not the only way to interact with AWS services. Besides the graphical user interface (GUI), you can also interact with AWS programmatically. For automation, interacting with the AWS API is most advisable because every action in AWS is an API call. AWS CLI runs on Linux, macOS, and Windows, and this guide examines how to set up AWS CLI locally on Ubuntu 20.04.

There are several ways to interact with AWS resources:

The AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) is an open-source tool that enables you to interact with AWS services using commands in your command-line shell. With minimal configuration, the AWS CLI allows you to start running commands that implement functionality equivalent to that provided by the browser-based AWS Management Console from the command prompt in a terminal.

At the end of this guide, you will have the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) installed, configured, and ready to use locally on your Ubuntu machine.


Step 1: Setup access keys

Let’s begin by setting up Access keys for the IAM user account. You can use access keys to sign programmatic requests to the AWS CLI or AWS API. Access keys have two parts – an access key ID and a secret access key.

From the AWS management console, search for IAM and choose the first option.

From the IAM Dashboard, select Users and pick your IAM user account. There are no keys associated with this user yet. Navigate to the Security credentials tab and scroll down to Access Keys. Select Create access key.

You will get a warning about posting your secret access key in public forums. This is crucial so that you don’t’ expose your AWS account. Also, AWS doesn’t’ store access keys; therefore, it is imperative to have them saved securely. Copy the keys to your clipboard, or download the .csv file to your local drive.

Step 2: Install AWS CLI version 2

Install the latest Ubuntu update.

$ sudo apt update

Download the installation file from the AWS CLI repository using.

$ curl "" -o ""

Unzip and install the files once the download completes.

$ unzip && sudo ./aws/install

Confirm the installation is completed.

$ aws --version
aws-cli/2.7.7 Python/3.9.11 Linux/5.13.0-44-generic exe/x86_64.ubuntu.20 prompt/off

Step 3: Setup your AWS account

Now that the AWS CLI is installed locally let’s connect to AWS. Run:

$ aws configure

You will be prompted for your Access Key ID; enter the Access Keys you copied earlier.

AWS Access Key ID [*******************]:
AWS Secret Access Key [********************]:

You also need to specify a default region and use format us-west-1.

Default region name: 

Finally, specify a default output format. There are three output formats to select from – txt. json and table. You may leave it blank.

Default output format:

Note: Inputs are case sensitive, and only lowercase input is supported for the output format. If there is an error in the information you supplied, you may not discover it until you need to run a command.

If this happens, cd into the hidden .aws file in your home directory and delete the config or the credentials file. You can also remove the .aws directory and run aws configure again.

Let’s list all the s3 buckets in the default region.

$ aws s3 ls

The command returns nothing if there are no buckets in the default region.

List your user account details.

$ aws iam list-users
    "Users": [
            "Path": "/",
            "UserName": "*******",
            "UserId": "********************",
            "Arn": "arn:aws:iam::************:user/*******",
            "CreateDate": "2022-06-12T16:37:17+00:00"


Now that you have the AWS CLI installed, you can connect locally to AWS and create and manage resources using the command line.