How To Setup Vault on AWS EC2 Instance

Configure Vault on Amazon EC2 Instance

Hashicorp Vault is one of the best open-source software to manage secrets. All secrets in the vault will be encrypted.

Hashicorp Vault Use Cases

Vault has many use cases when it comes to enterprise implementation. For small-scale setup, the vault use cases normally come down to the following.

  1. Application Secrets management
  2. SSH keys management
  3. Data Encryption

Hashicorp Vault Setup on Amazon Ec2

In this tutorial, you will learn how to set up a Hashicorp vault server on an Amazon ec2 Linux server for secret management.


  1. A Linux ec2 instance.
  2. Access to the ec2 instance over SSH.
  3. In the Security group, port 8200 open to access vault UI, API, and SSH access.

Note: This tutorial is for single node vault setup with minimal configuration.

Step 1: Head over to the vault downloads page, and get the latest vault setup for Linux amd64.

Step 2: Download the vault binary to /opt the location.

cd /opt/ && sudo curl -o

Step 3: Unzip the vault executable.

sudo unzip

Step 4: Move the vault executable to /usr/bin directory.

sudo mv vault /usr/bin/

Step 5: Create a user named Vault to run as a service.

sudo useradd --system --home /etc/vault.d --shell /bin/false vault

Configure Vault as a System Service

Step 1: Create a vault system service file.

sudo vi /etc/systemd/system/vault.service

Step 2: Copy the below configuration to the service file.

Description="HashiCorp Vault Service"

CapabilityBoundingSet=CAP_SYSLOG CAP_IPC_LOCK
ExecStart=/usr/bin/vault server -config=/etc/vault.d/vault.hcl
ExecReload=/bin/kill --signal HUP $MAINPID


Step 3: Create the vault configuration, data & logs directory. Also, change the ownership of the vault directory to the vault user.

sudo mkdir /etc/vault.d
sudo chown -R vault:vault /etc/vault.d
sudo mkdir /vault-data
sudo chown -R vault:vault /vault-data
sudo mkdir -p /logs/vault/

Step 4: Create a vault.hcl file that holds all the vault configurations.

sudo vi /etc/vault.d/vault.hcl

Step 5: Copy the below configuration and save the file.

listener "tcp" {
  address     = ""
  tls_disable = 1

telemetry {
  statsite_address = ""
  disable_hostname = true

storage "file" {
  path = "/vault-data"

ui = true

Step 6: Enable, start, and check the status of the vault service.

sudo systemctl enable vault
sudo systemctl start vault
sudo systemctl status vault

Step 7: Access the vault UI using the public IP /Private IP on port 8200 as shown below.

When you access the vault UI, by default it will be sealed as shown below.


Step 8: Initialise the vault using the initialise button with 3 key shares.

image 1

Step 9: Download the keys using the “Download Keys” button and click the “Continue to unseal” button.

Note: The key files are very important and you should keep them safe. For any reason, if you restart the server or vault service, the vault gets locked. You will need these keys to unlock it.

image 2

Step 10: Enter three keys one by one from the downloaded key file to unseal vault.

image 3

Step 11: Once unsealed, log to the vault with the root_token from the downloaded key file.

image 4

Thats it! You will be logging in to the vault server with all default settings.

image 5

Hope this article helps with your initial vault setup on AWS ec2. For production use cases, you should have HA, SSL, and other configurations enabled. Connect with me at admin@comtechies for such use cases.

In the next article, we will look into the following

  1. Storing and Retrieving secrets from the Vault Server
  2. Backing up vault secret data
  3. Vault Best Practices for Storing and Retrieving Secrets
  1. Hi Bibin,
    Thanks for the article. I started the vault service on ec2 instance but Iam unable to launch web ui either from Public or Private ip.
    Please suggest what needs to be checked

  2. dude. Thank you so much. i am taking a udemy class right now and it is horribly explained. I spent all day yesterday trying to get it to work. I found your site at 1 am. i decided that i should use your strategy and start fresh with a brand new ec2 instance.
    i followed your instructions EXACTLY. It went perfectly!!!

    I can’t thank you enough!!!!!

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