11 Best Free AWS Learning Resources for Beginners

I’ve received this question a lot on Twitter: I want to learn more about the Cloud, but I have no idea where to start? To answer this I’ve curated 11 free AWS learning resources which are focused entirely on beginners.

This list is divided into four sections. We start off with resources that contain the basic Cloud fundamentals.

The second section goes deeper into Cloud security.

The third section contains hands-on resources which help you get practical experience. The last section is reserved for AWS Certification preparation.

Here are the 11 best free AWS learning resources for beginners:

What are the best free AWS learning resources?

Here are my top picks for the best free AWS learning resources for beginners that you can start practicing on right away.

1. What is Cloud Computing?

Are you really new to the Cloud? Then start off here and get yourself familiarized with Cloud Computing by reading these two resources:

These web pages answer some basic questions on What Cloud Computing is and what problems it can solve.

2. AWS Fundamentals course

AWS Fundamentals

The AWS Fundamentals course helps you to learn the core concepts of AWS Cloud.

Its structure is based on the AWS Well-Architected Framework whitepaper.

Basically, this teaches the best practices in the design, delivery, and maintenance of AWS environments. This is fundamental knowledge that everybody should know.

The course is divided into five modules, each module represents a pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework:

  1. Operational Excellence
  2. Security
  3. Reliability
  4. Performance Efficiency
  5. Cost Optimization

In each pillar, some key concepts will be covered which are important to learn and they will also provide additional links and resources to dive deeper into the material.

3. AWS Foundations: Getting Started with the AWS Cloud Essentials

AWS Foundations

This is an official course that is provided by AWS from their digital training platform.

It contains a 1-hour video where you learn about the foundations of getting started in the AWS Cloud.

This course helps you gain an overall understanding of the AWS Cloud, key terminology, and help advance your AWS Cloud skills.

Some topics that are covered in this video:

  • Overview of the Global infrastructure of the cloud
  • The Shared Responsibility model
  • AWS pricing
  • Compute, Storage, Database, Networking, and Security categories

4. AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials

AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials

The previous course was a warm-up to get your head in the cloud. The AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials goes way deeper on getting an overall understanding of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud.

This course is 6 hours and includes videos, demonstrations, links to resources, and knowledge checks. In this course, you will learn about:

  • Differences between on-premises, hybrid-cloud, and all-in cloud
  • Basics of Cloud migration
  • Global AWS infrastructure
  • The core AWS services e.g. EC2, networking, databases, and storage
  • Shared responsibility model
  • AWS Well-Architected Framework
  • Billing and account management

5. AWS Well-Architected Framework

AWS Well-Architected framework

You need to read the AWS Well-Architect Framework whitepaper cover to cover. It will help you understand how to build systems on AWS in a “best practices” way.

Even experienced engineers use this framework to measure their architectures against best practices and identify areas for improvement.

For the operational excellence, reliability pillars we’ve created a comprehensive AWS Operations Checklist that you can utilize to quickly view what the best practices are and will show you how to build infrastructure reliably and efficiently.

6. Securing your AWS Cloud

AWS training: Securing your AWS Cloud

Security is very important in the Cloud and the responsibility lies with you in making sure the infrastructure and the data are secured properly.

The Securing Your AWS Cloud course covers the different security design principles that will help you to plan your security approach in the AWS Cloud.

Some of the topics that are covered:

  • Auditing
  • Authentication
  • Authorization
  • Encryption
  • Monitoring

If you’re planning to dive deeper into Cloud Security I recommend having a look at the official AWS Security page.

This webpage contains additional links and resources such as whitepapers, videos, articles, and blog posts about Cloud Security.

7. Qwiklabs

There is no better preparation than hands-on experience. That’s exactly what Qwiklabs provides.

They give you temporary credentials to AWS, so you can learn the cloud using the real thing – no simulations. From 30-minute individual labs to multi-day courses.

They offer a range of labs on different AWS Services, most of which are paid.

But there is an exception in a couple of fundamental labs. These labs are perfect for beginners, so let me share a couple of labs that are worth doing:

8. Hands-on Tutorials on your own AWS Account

With Qwiklabs you’re limited to a sandboxed environment and can’t experiment beyond the given labs. But if you have access to your own AWS account, then it becomes possible to experiment with more AWS services by doing the official hands-on tutorials

There are more than 100 tutorials available, ranging from “Launching a Virtual Machine” to “Creating a Deeplens project”.

If you plan to do this on your own AWS account and spend as little as possible, then look for the tutorials that contain “Free tier” in the header.

AWS hands-on free-tier labs
AWS hands-on free-tier labs

9. AWS Cloud Practitioner exam – complete guide

After learning the fundamentals and getting some hands-on experience it’s time to focus on the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam.

Doing the exam is part of the learning path if you plan on getting certified.

Exams are a good way to test the cloud skills and knowledge that you’ve built up during the time that you went through all the material that I provided.

Becoming certified not only validates your cloud expertise but also might give you an edge on your professional resume.

For beginners, I would recommend going for the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam.

I wrote a complete guide in another blog post that fully prepares you to pass the exam in a single attempt.

10. AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam – complete guide

If you feel confident enough or you already passed the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam.

Then I would recommend going for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam. For this exam, I also managed to write a complete guide.

11. AWS Stash

AWS recently published a website called AWS Stash. It’s a database that contains links to all of the videos, podcasts, code repositories, and whitepapers that they released over the years.

Now you can easily find something related to AWS in an easy-to-search interface.


To summarize, as a beginner in the Cloud it can be difficult to find the right material to get started learning the fundamental concepts of the Cloud.

Therefore I’ve curated this list with the 11 best free AWS learning resources for beginners including AWS Stash, Qwiklabs and AWS Certified exam guides to jumpstart your professional career.

Let me know if this list of AWS learning resources helps you to get started in the Cloud and hopefully in obtaining a Certificate in the process!

Danny Steenman

A Senior AWS Cloud Engineer with over 9 years of experience migrating workloads from on-premises to AWS Cloud.

I have helped companies of all sizes shape their cloud adoption strategies, optimizing operational efficiency, reducing costs, and improving organizational agility.

Connect with me todayΒ to discuss your cloud aspirations, and let’s work together to transform your business by leveraging the power of AWS Cloud.

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