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AWS Amazon Resource Names (ARN)

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Prerita Agarwal
Data Specialist @
23 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM


When working with Amazon Web Services (AWS), you may have come across a term called "ARN," which stands for Amazon Resource Name. AWS ARNs play a crucial role uniquely in identifying and accessing various resources within the AWS ecosystem. 


In this article, we'll break down the concept of AWS ARN in a simple manner, so even beginners can grasp its significance.

So, let's get started.

What is AWS ARN (Amazon Resource Name)?

AWS ARN stands for Amazon Resource Name. It is a unique identifier for an AWS resource. Think of it as an address for resources like EC2 instances, S3 buckets, IAM roles, Lambda functions, and more. With an ARN, AWS services can easily locate and manage the resources you create.

What is an AWS Resource? 

AWS resources are the building blocks of your AWS infrastructure. An AWS resource is anything that you create or use in AWS. This includes things like EC2 instances, S3 buckets, Lambda functions, and so on. Each AWS resource has a unique identifier, called an ARN (Amazon Resource Name) that also helps in calling the resource explicitly. 

Need of the ARN

To understand the analogy of AWS ARN, one must know the consequences of not having a unique identifier for a resource. 

When you are working with AWS resources, it is important to be able to uniquely identify them. This is especially important when you are using scripts or other automated tools to manage your resources. If you do not use unique identifiers, it is possible to accidentally refer to the wrong resource, which could lead to errors.

Need of the ARN

It can be compared with the primary key of a table where we can easily identify the unique record using it.

Or another example could be your OrderID by which you can track your order status. 

There are multiple examples that you may use as a reference for understanding the need of the unique Identifier.  

Now that you have understood why we need to have a unique Identifier for every AWS resource we require ARN, let us quickly understand what exactly an ARN contains? 

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AWS ARN Format

It is a string of characters that includes the partition, service, region, account ID, and resource type. 

The general format for an ARN is:



  • Partition: The partition is the region in which the resource is located. The default partition is aws
  • Service: The service is the AWS service that the resource belongs to. For example, the service for Amazon S3 is s3
  • Region: The region is the geographical location of the resource. For example, the region for US East (N. Virginia) is us-east-1
  • Account ID: The account ID is the unique identifier for the AWS account that owns the resource
  • Resource ID: The resource ID is the unique identifier for the specific resource. For example, the resource ID for an Amazon S3 bucket is the bucket name
aws arn format

Here are some examples of ARNs:

We have different ARNs for each resource type (IAM user, S3 bucket, EC2 instance) because each resource belongs to a specific AWS service, resides in a particular region, and is associated with a unique identifier within that service.



Explanation: This ARN is used to identify an IAM user within an AWS account. The ARN contains the AWS service (iam), the AWS account ID (123456789012), and the specific IAM user (my-user).

Amazon S3 Bucket ARN


Explanation: This ARN is used to identify an S3 bucket. The ARN contains the AWS service (s3) and the S3 bucket name (my-bucket). Unlike IAM users or EC2 instances, S3 buckets do not require an account ID because they are globally unique across all AWS accounts.

Amazon EC2 Instance ARN


Explanation: This ARN is used to identify an EC2 instance within a specific AWS region. The ARN contains the AWS service (ec2), the region (us-east-1), the AWS account ID (123456789012), and the specific EC2 instance ID (i-01234567890abcdef).

Benefits of AWS ARN

There are several benefits of AWS ARN:

  • Granular Resource Identification: ARNs (Amazon Resource Names) provide a structured way to uniquely identify AWS resources, allowing for precise targeting in policies and permissions.
  • Resource-Level Permissions: ARNs enable fine-grained access control by allowing you to specify permissions at the level of individual resources, enhancing security and minimizing risks.
  • Flexibility in Resource Naming: ARNs allow for flexibility in resource naming conventions, making it easier for users to create and manage resources in a way that aligns with their organizational structure.
  • Cross-Account Resource Referencing: ARNs facilitate cross-account resource referencing, enabling users to access and manage resources across different AWS accounts securely.

Paths in ARN

In AWS ARNs (Amazon Resource Names), the "path" component is an optional element that allows for additional hierarchical structuring or categorization of resources within a resource type. The path provides a way to organize and manage resources in a manner that aligns with your organizational structure or application architecture.

The path is specified after the resource type but before the resource name. Its usage depends on the AWS service and resource type. Some AWS services support paths in ARNs, while others do not.

What is Amazon S3 ARN?

An Amazon S3 ARN (Amazon Resource Name) is a unique identifier for an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) resource. It follows the general structure of an ARN and provides a standardized way to reference and manage S3 resources within the AWS ecosystem. The format of an S3 ARN is as follows:



  • arn is the prefix indicating that it is an Amazon Resource Name.
  • aws specifies the namespace.
  • s3 is the service identifier for Amazon S3.
  • bucket-name represents the name of the S3 bucket.
  • object-key represents the key or path to a specific object within the S3 bucket.

Now, a question may arise: how can we use it? 

How to use ARNs?

You can use ARNs in a variety of ways:

  • In IAM policies: You can use ARNs in IAM policies to control access to resources. For example, you could create a policy that allows users to only access S3 buckets that have a specific ARN
  • In the AWS CLI: You can use ARNs in the AWS CLI to interact with resources. For example, you could use the aws s3 ls command to list the contents of an S3 bucket by its ARN
  • In the AWS API: You can use ARNs in the AWS API to interact with resources. For example, you could use the ListObjects API operation to list the contents of an S3 bucket by its ARN

How to get the ARNs of AWS Resources?

There are multiple ways to get the ARNs of AWS resources which we are going to discuss in this section: 

1. Using AWS Documentation: Scroll down to the “Resource Types Defined by Amazon EC2” section, you will find the reference for all the sub resource types for ec2 as shown below. 

ARN Resource type


2. Using AWS Policy Generator: In the policy generator, when you select the policy resource, it will automatically show the arn suggestion as shown below. You just need to add resource information.

Select Policy Type

Select Policy Type

You can select any policy type here from the given dropdown. The next step is to add the information about the service you are using.

add statements

Let us now discuss some faqs based on the same. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ARN on Amazon?

An ARN (Amazon Resource Name) on Amazon is a unique identifier for AWS resources, allowing precise referencing and access control within the AWS ecosystem.

What is the role of ARN in AWS?

ARNs play a crucial role in AWS for resource identification, fine-grained access control, and cross-account referencing, enhancing security and resource management.

What is the ARN used for?

ARNs are used to uniquely identify and access AWS resources. They're essential for defining permissions, policies, and resource-level access control in the AWS environment.

What is the format of ARN?

The format of an ARN typically follows: arn:aws:service:region:account-id:resource-type/resource-id. It includes service, region, account, resource type, and resource-specific identifiers.


To conclude the discussion, we have extensively explored the AWS ARN. They are a valuable tool for managing AWS resources. They provide a unique and unambiguous way to identify resources, which can help you to avoid errors and to improve security. By understanding how ARNs work, you can use them to effectively manage your AWS resources. If you want to learn more about AWS, then you can check out our blogs:

We hope this blog helps you to get knowledge about AWS ARN. You can refer to our guided paths on the Codestudio platform. You can check our course to learn more about DSADBMSCompetitive ProgrammingPythonJavaJavaScript, etc. 

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Topics covered
What is AWS ARN (Amazon Resource Name)?
What is an AWS Resource? 
Need of the ARN
AWS ARN Format
Amazon S3 Bucket ARN
Amazon EC2 Instance ARN
Benefits of AWS ARN
Paths in ARN
What is Amazon S3 ARN?
How to use ARNs?
How to get the ARNs of AWS Resources?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is ARN on Amazon?
What is the role of ARN in AWS?
What is the ARN used for?
What is the format of ARN?