Access to EC2 in a private subnet from local machine

Steps to connect to EC2 instances in a private subnet#


  1. Ensure you have installed AWS CLI v2

  2. Ensure you have installed AWS Session manager plugin

If using AWS IAM user credentials#

Run the following command to configure your AWS credentials:

AWS configure#

When prompted, provide the credentials required:

  1. Access key: your access key

  2. Secret access key: your secret key

  3. Region: eu-west-2

  4. Output format: json

If using credentials from AWS SSO#

If you already have an AWS account and you use AWS SSO:

  1. Go to the SSO portal and navigate to the account in which the EC2 instance is hosted.

AWS SSO portal

  1. Click on ‘Command line or programmatic access’


  1. Copy your credentials (AWS Option 2 in screenshot above) and paste them in your aws credentials file (Usually located at the following path: Users -> your username -> .aws -> credentials)

  2. Alternatively(AWS Option 1 in screenshot above), copy the EXPORT commands to set up the credentials locally in your CLI

Once the above is completed, please run the following command, where INSTANCE-ID is the EC2 instance ID as it appears in AWS console:

aws ssm start-session --target INSTANCE-ID --document-name
AWS-StartPortForwarding Session --[REDACTED]
Starting session with SessionId: xpress-db-server-remote-user-[REDACTED]
Port opened for sessionId xpress-db-server-remote-user-[REDACTED]
Connection accepted for session xpress-db-server-remote-user-[REDACTED]

The above command will start a port forwarding session. To connect to your EC2 instance, go to your Remote Desktop software that you usually use and use localhost:55678 as the computer name.

You will then be prompted to enter your Windows machine credentials.