Use this cheat sheet as a simple, quick resource as you review and study for AWS certifications and work through our courses. We don’t just want you to memorize definitions — we want you to understand and recognize these terms and concepts, so we’ve taken the definitions AWS has provided and simplified them. Happy training!

Also, let us know in the comments of any other terms you think we should add to the list!

  1. Access control list (ACL): A firewall/security layer on the subnet level
  2. Auto scaling: Automates the process of adding or removing EC2 instances based on traffic demand for your application
  3. Buckets: Root-level “folders”
  4. CloudFront: Content delivery network (CDN) that allows you to store your content at “edge locations” located all around the world, allowing customers to access your content more quickly
  5. CloudTrail: Allows you to monitor all actions taken by IAM users
  6. CloudWatch: Service that allows you to monitor various elements of your AWS account
  7. Consolidated billing: Allows you to view, manage, and pay bills for multiple AWS accounts in one user interface
  8. DNS server: A database of website domains and their corresponding IP addresses
  9. DynamoDB: NoSQL database service that does not provide other NoSQL software options
  10. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2): A virtual computer, very similar to a desktop/laptop computer
  11. Elastic Load Balancing (ELB): Evenly distributes traffic between EC2 instances that are associated with it
  12. ElastiCache: Data caching service used to help improve the speed/performance of web applications running on AWS
  13. Elasticity: The ability of a system to increase and decrease in size
  14. Fault tolerance: Property that enables a system to continue operating properly in the event of the failure of one or more components
  15. Firewall: A type of software that either allows or blocks certain kinds of internet traffic to pass through it
  16. Folder: Any “subfolder” created in a bucket
  17. High availability: Refers to systems that are durable and likely to operate continuously without failure for a long time
  18. IAM users: Individuals who have been granted access to an AWS account
  19. Identity and Access Management (IAM): Service where AWS user accounts and their access to various AWS services are managed
  20. Lambda: Serverless computing that will replace EC2 instances, for the most part
  21. Object availability: Percent over a one-year time period that a file stored in S3 will be accessible
  22. Object durability: Percent over a one-year time period that a file stored in S3 will not be lost
  23. Object lifecycle: Set rules to automatically transfer objects between storage classes at defined time intervals
  24. Object sharing: Ability to make any object publicly available via a URL link
  25. Object versioning: Automatically keep multiple versions of an object (when enabled)
  26. Organizations: Allow you or your company access to manage billing and access to multiple AWS accounts in one user interface
  27. Principle of least privilege: Giving a user only the rights/access to the AWS services and resources they need to do their job and nothing more
  28. Publishers: Human/alarm/event that gives SNS the message that needs to be sent
  29. Rational Database Service (RDS): SQL database service that provides a wide range of SQL database options to select from
  30. RedShift: Data warehouse database service designed to handle petabytes of data for analysis
  31. Roles: How different AWS services are granted permission to communicate and share data
  32. Route 53: Where you configure and manage web domains for websites or applications you host on AWS
  33. Scalability: The ability of a system to easily increase in size and capacity in a cost-effective way
  34. Security group (SG): Firewall/security layer on the server/instance level
  35. Shared responsibility model: Defines what you and AWS are responsible for when it comes to security and compliance
  36. Simple Notification Service (SNS): AWS service that allows you to automate the sending of email or text messaging notifications based on events that happen in your AWS account
  37. Simple Storage Service (S3): Online bulk storage service you can access from almost any device
  38. Storage class: Represents “classification” assigned to each object in S3 (standard, RRS, S3-IA, Glacier)
  39. Subnet: A subsection of a network and generally includes all the computers in a specific location
  40. Subscriptions: Endpoints to which a topic sends messages
  41. Topics: How you label and group different endpoints to which you send messages
  42. Trusted Advisor: Service that “advises” and helps you optimize aspects of your AWS account
  43. User credentials: IAM user’s username and password for logging in to AWS
  44. Virtual Private Cloud (VPC): A private subsection of AWS you control and in which you can place AWS resources

Many of these terms and simplified definitions were pulled from our AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner course and our new AWS Essentials course! Check them out below to review and refresh your AWS knowledge.

If you want to get hands-on practice using these terms in our live learning environments, check out these notable Hands-on Labs:


you learn we give 1

5 responses to “Your AWS Terminology Cheat Sheet”

  1. Jak says:

    It seem there is typo in # 8, instead of “DNA” it should be “DNS” server.

  2. aws says:

    Really nice information you had posted. Its very informative and definitely it will be useful for many people

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