How To Set Up GUI On Amazon EC2 Ubuntu server

Amazon EC2 Linux servers do not come with GUI, all the operations have to be done using ssh client like putty. So if you wish to have a GUI for your amazon Linux instances, you can achieve it pretty easily. Once you installed the GUI essentials on your server, you can access it via windows remote desktop client. If you are using Linux, then you can use VNC viewer as a remote desktop client. In order to have a GUI, a lightweight LXDE desktop has to be installed on your server.


  1. Specially designed for cloud-based servers.
  2. Lightweight GUI for Linux
  3. Better interface
  4. Multi-language support
  5. Supports standard keyboard shortcuts
  6. Fast performance

Getting Started

Step 1: Connect to the server using ssh client putty. How To Connect Ubuntu Server Using Putty

Step 2: Make sure that RDP port is enabled on the ubuntu instance in which you are going to install lxde. Update the server and install lxde using the following commands.

 sudo apt-get update 
 sudo apt-get install lxde

Step 3: Once lxde is installed on your server, start the ldxe using the following command

 sudo start lxdm

Step 4:  Install xrdp to establish a remote desktop connection since you can’t have a GUI using putty. Use the following command to install xrdp

 sudo apt-get install xrdp

Step 5: Set a password for the default user “ubuntu”, since remote desktop connection requires username and password.

 sudo passwd ubuntu

Step 6: Start the windows remote desktop client and enter the public DNS or the elastic IP of your server instance and hit connect.

Step 7: Enter the username and password of the server instance and hit ok as shown below.

Bingo!! you can start using your Ubuntu server with GUI via remote desktop connection.

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