The default way of accessing Linux EC2 instances on AWS is via SSH. Password authentication is disabled and it forces you to use public key authentication method using the key pair that is stored in your AWS account.

SSH client is normally included in default installation of Linux or other Unix-based operating systems, but not so in Windows. You need to install OpenSSH client for Windows or use third party SSH clients such as PuTTY.

Steps to connect to Linux AWS EC2 instance using PuTTY:

  1. Make sure the security group of your EC2 instance is configured to allow SSH connection from your current host or use a VPN or proxy server if necessary.
  2. Convert the provided pem private key file to ppk (PuTTY Private Key) format.
  3. Download PuTTY from the official website.
    https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html
  4. Launch PuTTY.
  5. Enter the Host Name or IP Address of your ec2 instance.
  6. Go to ConnectionSSHAuth from the sidebar menu.
  7. Click on the Browse button to look for your PuTTY Private Key.
  8. Select your PuTTY Private Key from the stored location and click on the Open button.
  9. Click on the Open button to start the connection.
  10. Click Yes if a security alert pops up as this is your first connection to the server and the server's key fingerprint is not in your PuTTY's cache.
  11. Enter the username that you want to connect as and press enter.
  12. Enter the passphrase for the key if your key is protected by a passphrase.
  13. You should now are logged in using the public key authentication to the system.
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