EC2 instance suddenly missing in AWS console?

I’ve been playing around with the free tier AWS EC2 instance (t1.micro running Ubuntu 12.04) for some time now. I keep the instance running 24×7, since according to this by Amazon I am less likely to wander out of the free tier and get charged. Remember you have to provide your credit card details to be eligible for the “new customer – free tier” plan available for 1 year.

Amazon provides a nice console to manage (start, stop, terminate,configure) EC2 instances. Since my EC2 instance is running all the time , I’m used to seeing the green circle  along with the instance details when I login to the AWS console (as shown below).


But today when I logged in to the console it was totally empty i.e. no instance running. Instead of the screen shown above I got this screen telling me to Launch a new instance. 


Does this mean that I lost all the configuration done in my previous instance? Since I had deployed a small demo web app to the instance previously I tried accessing it from my browser, to my delight (and confusion) it was up and running.  But then where on earth is my ec2 instance in my console???

The answer lies in the way Amazon provisions its EC2 instances from different regions such as US East, US West, South America, Asia etc. The EC2 Management console displays instances based on regions (bad design perhaps?) and somehow my region setting in the console had changed to something else.

Fortunately the region can be easily changed in the console using the drop down menu in the header bar. When I changed it to US West (Oregon), Voila!!! my ‘freebie’ t1.micro instance reappeared in all its glory :).


So don’t panic and create new instances if your EC2 instance goes missing in the AWS console, make sure you have selected the correct region. 🙂


23 thoughts on “EC2 instance suddenly missing in AWS console?

  1. Unfortunately that’s not the answer in our case. Not only did our instance disappear for real, but Amazon deleted all of our security groups (which are not instance-dependent).

  2. Thanks a lot. I was in the same situation and I thought Amazon deleted my instance without notification (but the website weirdly up and running) and I keep on checking the mail for any notification regarding this from Amazon but after searching this on google I got you and you saved my day. When I change my region I got my instance back. Thanks again.

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