Using multiple profiles with aws-cli

Josh Sherman
1 min read
Command-line Interface AWS DevOps

One of the best aspects of Amazon Web Services (AWS) is that a full featured command-line utility exists for it. If you’ve ever spent a decent amount of time in the AWS Console (their web interface) then you understand why this is a good thing.

As you venture into better security practices, like completely splitting up your environments (UAT, staging, production, et cetera) and managing them with a billing account, you’ll find yourself needing to juggle different credentials for each account that you’re interacting with.

Out of the box, when you set things up with aws configure whatever information you give it will be associated with the default profile. Perfect if you only have the one account, not so much when you have multiple accounts.

To configure different profiles for the aws-cli to use, all you need to do is create different sections in your ~/.aws/credentials file. The file is INI format, using the [section] syntax.

By default the file will look something like this:

aws_access_key_id = XXXXXX
aws_secret_access_key = XXXXXX

You can leave the [default] section as is, or remove it entirely if you want to always ensure you’re picking which profile you’d like to use.

Adding additional sections, which are referred to as profiles, like this:

aws_access_key_id = XXXXXX
aws_secret_access_key = XXXXXX

aws_access_key_id = XXXXXX
aws_secret_access_key = XXXXXX

aws_access_key_id = XXXXXX
aws_secret_access_key = XXXXXX

With the new sections added, all you will need to do is pass in the --profile argument when you run any aws commands and you’ll be off to the races!

# Using the default profile
aws s3 list-buckets

# Using the staging profile
aws --profile staging s3 list-buckets

# Using the production profile
aws --profile production s3 list-buckets
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Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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