Table of contents

Seeing things in the AWS Console

To follow this guide, you’ll need a gds-users AWS account. Follow the User Management in AWS guide to get one and set it up.

Seeing things in the AWS Console

The AWS Console can seem impenetrable, with lots of options, some of them restricted by your role access level.

Logging in to the central gds-users account

To log into the central gds-users account, go to the AWS Console.

Enter your email address and password. After clicking “Sign in”, you’ll be prompted for your MFA token.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll see a page that looks like a normal AWS console.


If you try to click on anything here, for example EC2, you’ll get “You are not authorized”. This is because you’re still in the gds-users account which is locked down. To get to the GOV.UK accounts, where you have permissions, you’ll need to “Switch Role”.

Switching role to one of the GOV.UK accounts

  1. Click “Switch Role” in the top right corner.


  1. Fill in the account alias (this can be found in the govuk-aws-data repo – it’s the “account”), the role you’re assuming (govuk-users, govuk-poweruser, or govuk-administrators), and a name for that role (govuk-<environment>).


  1. Submit the form, and you’ll now be in one of the GOV.UK accounts and able to see running instances. If you can’t, make sure you’re in the right region. GOV.UK’s infrastructure is in the “EU (Ireland)” region (eu-west-1).


  1. If you’ve set all of the roles up, they are then easily accessible from the “Switch Role” menu, without having to type in the details every time. (Roles do not persist across browsers, you have to set them up individually for every browser.)


  1. If you set the roles up with nicknames and different colours, it’s easy to tell which role you are in. Otherwise, click on your username in the top right corner and it will tell you which role you have assumed on which account.

gds-users-show-role gds-users-show-account

This page was last reviewed . It needs to be reviewed again by the page owner #govuk-2ndline.