ububtu server gui on aws ec2

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


  1. A running Ubuntu ec2 instance.
  2. Security group inbound traffic configured for ssh and RDP access (22 and 3389)

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.

Step 3:  Install xrdp to establish a remote desktop connection since you can’t have a GUI using putty. Use the following command to install xrdp

Step 4: Set a password for the default user “ubuntu”, as remote desktop connection requires username and password.

Note: You can set up your own user and password for remote desktop

Step 5: Start the windows remote desktop client and enter the public DNS or the elastic IP of your server instance and hit connect.

Step 6: Enter the username and password of the server instance that we created in step 5 and hit ok as shown below.

Note: If you are looking for more Linux command line hands on, use pluralsight 10 days free account to learn Linux Command Line

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


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