I am setting up a few EC2 instances in a shared AWS account and want to give them access to each other. At the same time I want to prohibit access from other instances in the account.

I created a security group and added SSH access from "My IP" for logging in and that works well.

Now I need to SSH between all of the instances but I can't even though they are all in the same security group.

How can I do that?

4 Answers 4


So you're setting up some cluster on AWS and need SSH access between the nodes, correct? You have 2 options:

  1. The naive one is to add each instance IP to the Security Group Inbound list - but that means you'll need to update the SG every time you add a new instance in the cluster. (If you ever do). Don't do this, I only mentioned it for completeness.

  2. Far better is to use the Security Group ID itself as the source of the traffic.

    It's important to understand that SG is not only an inbound filter but also tags all outbound traffic - and you can then refer to the originating SG ID in the same or other security groups.

Have a look at the default security group in your VPC. You'll most likely see something like this:

self-referencing security group

Note that the rule refers to the Security Group ID itself.

With this rule everything that originates from any host that's a member of your security group will be accepted by all other members / instances in the group.

In your case you may want to restrict it to SSH, ICMP (if you need ping working) or any other ports you need.

Also check the Outbound tab and make sure that it has an entry for All traffic to (unless you've got specific security needs), otherwise the instances won't be able to initiate any outbound connections. By default it should be there.

Hope that helps :)


In the configuration for your security group you want to use to allow SSH between the instances:

  1. Go to the Inbound tab
    1. Click Edit
    2. Click Add Rule
    3. For Type select SSH
    4. For Source enter the Security Group ID
    5. Save
  2. Go to the Oubound tab
    1. Click Edit
    2. Click Add Rule
    3. For Type select SSH
    4. For Destination enter the Security Group ID
    5. Save

You should add a rule that enables SSH with source being the group ID itself.

E.g. if your security group id is sg-12345678 you can add a rule in that very group that opens SSH from sg-12345678.

Also make sure that the Outbound tab has a rule for or at least again for SSH to sg-12345678 otherwise the outbound traffic will be blocked. By default the should be there.


allow ssh access for the security group you assigned to them.

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