Amazon Web Services — a practical guide
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Contributions of all kinds, including discussion, corrections, additions, and improvements, are welcome! We hope you’ll join and help, in small ways or large. We gladly credit all contributors and authors. Here are few notes before you jump in.

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The simplest thing you can do to contribute is fill in this form. Questions help identify where the guide needs to be improved.

File issues. Don’t be shy about creating issues. Use them to discuss questions or topics, identify errors, or suggest improvements or new things to cover.

Pull requests with changes are even better. Please keep them small and focused, so we can add items individually, and review the conventions below.

Please review current issues and pull requests to avoid duplication.

We gladly credit all contributors.

Finally, if an issue isn’t appropriate, or if you might have skills and inclination to help improve the guide in a more substantial way, please shoot an e-mail to @jlevy.


When you contribute, keep in mind these conventions:

  • For AWS service names, we use the abbreviation throughout the guide if it is more common, e.g. EC2 and not Elastic Compute Cloud. We also omit “Amazon” at the front of product names, e.g. EMR and not Amazon EMR.
  • Terms that appear for the first time in boldface are defined there in a brief summary, with a link if possible to what is probably the best page for that concept.
  • Boldfaced headings: When possible and appropriate, begin bulleted items with a boldfaced summary, as illustrated here. This helps the reader skim the contents.
  • It’s also fine to boldface key statements that guide the eye. In some cases, just use italics.
  • Related content that elaborates or gives more detail is included via standard inline hyperlinks within the text.
  • References or citations backing some info that is already explained in the text is in [brackets] at the end of the item (with link for web pages, no link for books).
  • Typographical conventions:
    • Use Unicode open and close quotes “like this” and not “like this”.
    • Use oriented apostrophes (Unicode’s, not ASCII’s).
    • Use em dashes — like this (not two hyphens -- like this).
  • Section conventions: When appropriate please add sections covering these items (where X = EC2, S3, etc.):
    • X Basics: The elementary facts you should know if you don’t yet know anything about the service.
    • X Alternatives and Lock-In: Should you be using this service or something else? Is the decision an important one that locks you in?
    • X Tips: Everything you should know about the service, from big stuff to details.
    • X Cost Management: Tips specific to that service on reducing or managing costs.
    • X Gotchas and Limitations: Common problems, large and small, as well as misconceptions and quirks.
  • Not all sections need to follow the above conventions exactly. Strive for consistency, but clarity is more important.
  • Note we try to make sections uniquely titled, so GitHub links to Markdown section anchors don’t collide and are stable.

Note we try to keep consistent formatting in Markdown via markdownfmt. We run admin/ to do this, but you don’t have to worry about it unless you really want to.