How to Get Access Keys for AWS Development

By John Paul Mueller

You use access keys with API calls to allow the call to proceed. Without an access key, AWS rejects any requests made. Access keys come in two parts: public and secret. To safeguard your setup, the private key must remain private. During the creation process, you download both keys. Make sure you keep them in a safe place.

  1. Go to Amazon’s Console.

    You see the Identity and Access Management (IAM) Console.

    IAM Coinole
    Use the IAM Console to create your access keys.
  2. Click Groups in the Navigation pane.

    You see an option for creating a new group.

    IAM groups tab
    The Groups tab of the IAM Console lets you manage groups.
  3. Click Create New Group.

    AWS asks you to provide a group name.

  4. Type a group name and click Next Step.

    AWS asks you to attach a policy to the group. Normally you choose a policy that provides just the level of access required by that group. However, when working in a production environment, remember to use policies carefully.

    policy choices
    Choose a policy for the group you create.
  5. Select AdministratorAccess and click Next Step.

    You see a Review page where you can review the group’s settings.

  6. Click Create Group.

    The group is now ready for use. You see it in the Groups tab of the IAM Console. However, you still need to create a user account to obtain the required access keys.

  7. Select Users in the Navigation pane.

    You see the Users tab of the IAM Console.

    IAM Users tab
    The Users tab of the IAM Console lets you manage users.
  8. Click Add User.

    AWS asks you to provide a username. Note that this page also provides the means for configuring the kind of user access.

    Access key username
    Create a username and access type.
  9. Type a username.

    AWS lets you add more than one user at a time, as long as both users have the same requirements.

  10. Select both Access Type entries.

    Your choice here will depend on your needs.

  11. Configure the password settings for the user you want to create.

    The default is to autogenerate a password and then require the user to change it during the next login. Because you want to create an account for yourself, you can save time by creating a custom password and deselecting the option that requires the user to change the password during the next login.

  12. Click Next: Permissions.

    AWS asks you to set permission for the user.

    AWS User permissions
    Set the user permissions.
  13. Choose Add User to Group and then select the Developers entry in the list of groups shown.
  14. Click Next: Review.

    AWS shows you the configuration for your user.

  15. Click Create User.

    AWS generates the user and the user’s access key.

  16. Click Download .CSV.

Your browser downloads a .CSV file containing the public and secret keys for your user account. Keep these keys in a safe location.

You can create new access keys as needed by accessing the user’s entry on the Users tab of the IAM Console and choosing the Security Credentials tab of the individual user’s account. The Security Credentials tab contains a Create Access Key in the Access Keys area. Every time you create a new access key, you have the option of downloading a .CSV file containing the public and secret keys. To remove an existing key, click the X next to that key’s entry on the Security Credentials tab.