How to delete an AWS instance — A step-by-step guide

How to delete an AWS instance — A step-by-step guide

There are several reasons why you might want to delete an AWS instance. For example, you may no longer need the instance, or you may want to replace it with a different type of instance. Whatever the reason, the process for deleting an AWS instance is relatively straightforward.

Before you begin, there are a few prerequisites that you should be aware of:

  • Make sure that you have logged in to the AWS Management Console.
  • Make sure that you have the necessary permissions to delete an AWS instance.
  • Make sure that the instance you want to delete is stopped or terminated (depending on the type of instance).

Once you have met these prerequisites, you can follow these steps to delete an AWS instance:

  1. Navigate to the EC2 dashboard in the AWS Management Console.
  2. In the left navigation pane, click Instances.
  3. Select the checkbox next to the instance that you want to delete.
  4. From the Actions dropdown menu, select Instance State and then choose Terminate (if the instance is terminated) or Stop (if the instance is stopped).
  5. In the confirmation dialog box, click Yes, Terminate or Yes, Stop to confirm that you want to delete the instance.

Once the instance has been stopped or terminated, you can follow these additional steps to delete it:

  1. Navigate to the EC2 dashboard in the AWS Management Console.
  2. In the left navigation pane, click Instances.
  3. Select the checkbox next to the instance that you want to delete.
  4. From the Actions dropdown menu, select Instance State and then choose Terminate (if the instance is terminated) or Stop (if the instance is stopped).
  5. In the confirmation dialog box, click Yes, Terminate or Yes, Stop to confirm that you want to delete the instance.

That's all there is to it! Once you have deleted the instance, it will no longer be accessible and you will no longer be charged for its usage. Keep in mind that there are some important things to consider when deleting an AWS instance, which we will discuss in the next section.

Best practices for deleting AWS instances

Deleting an AWS instance is a simple process, but there are a few best practices that you should follow to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that your AWS instances are properly deleted.

Here are some key best practices to keep in mind when deleting AWS instances:

  • Back up your data: Before you delete an AWS instance, make sure to back up any data that you want to keep. This will ensure that you don't lose any important information if something goes wrong during the deletion process.
  • Consider the dependencies: If you have multiple AWS instances that are connected or dependent on each other, make sure to delete them in the correct order to avoid any issues. For example, if you have an instance that is acting as a database server for another instance, you should delete the database server instance first.
  • Monitor the process: After you have initiated the deletion process, monitor the status of the instance to make sure that it is being properly deleted. You can do this by checking the EC2 dashboard in the AWS Management Console.
  • Check for residual resources: After an AWS instance has been deleted, there may be some residual resources (such as Elastic IP addresses or volumes) that are still associated with the instance. Make sure to clean up these resources to avoid incurring additional charges.

By following these best practices, you can ensure that your AWS instances are properly deleted and that you avoid any potential issues or mistakes during the process. In the next section, we will discuss some common issues that can arise when deleting AWS instances, and how to troubleshoot them.

Troubleshooting common issues when deleting AWS instances

Although the process for deleting an AWS instance is relatively straightforward, there are a few common issues that can arise. Here are some common issues and how to troubleshoot them:

  • The instance is stuck in a pending state: If an instance is stuck in a pending state, it means that the instance is not being properly terminated or stopped. This can happen if there is an issue with the instance or with the underlying hardware. To troubleshoot this issue, try rebooting the instance or requesting a replacement from AWS.
  • The instance is not being properly deleted: If an instance is not being properly deleted, it may be because it is still running or because it is not in a stopped or terminated state. To troubleshoot this issue, try stopping or terminating the instance and then retrying the deletion process.
  • The instance is not being properly cleaned up: If an instance is not being properly cleaned up (i.e., residual resources are still associated with the instance), it may be because you did not properly detach any attached volumes or release any Elastic IP addresses. To troubleshoot this issue, try detaching and releasing these resources and then retrying the deletion process.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you should be able to resolve most issues that can arise when deleting an AWS instance. Keep in mind that if you are having difficulty deleting an instance, you can always contact AWS Support for assistance.


In this blog post, we have discussed why you might want to delete an AWS instance, and provided step-by-step instructions for how to do so. We have also discussed best practices for deleting AWS instances, and troubleshooted common issues that can arise during the process. By following the steps and best practices outlined in this blog post, you can delete your AWS instances with confidence and avoid any potential mistakes or issues.

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