Setting up - Amazon Athena
Services or capabilities described in Amazon Web Services documentation might vary by Region. To see the differences applicable to the China Regions, see Getting Started with Amazon Web Services in China (PDF).

Setting up

If you've already signed up for Amazon Web Services, you can start using Amazon Athena immediately. If you haven't signed up for Amazon or need assistance getting started, be sure to complete the following tasks.

Sign up for an Amazon Web Services account

If you do not have an Amazon Web Services account, use the following procedure to create one.

To sign up for Amazon Web Services
  1. Open and choose Sign Up.

  2. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Amazon sends you a confirmation email after the sign-up process is complete. At any time, you can view your current account activity and manage your account by going to and choosing My Account.

Secure IAM users

After you sign up for an Amazon Web Services account, safeguard your administrative user by turning on multi-factor authentication (MFA). For instructions, see Enable a virtual MFA device for an IAM user (console) in the IAM User Guide.

To give other users access to your Amazon Web Services account resources, create IAM users. To secure your IAM users, turn on MFA and only give the IAM users the permissions needed to perform their tasks.

For more information about creating and securing IAM users, see the following topics in the IAM User Guide:

Grant programmatic access

Users need programmatic access if they want to interact with Amazon outside of the Amazon Web Services Management Console. The Amazon APIs and the Amazon Command Line Interface require access keys. Whenever possible, create temporary credentials that consist of an access key ID, a secret access key, and a security token that indicates when the credentials expire.

To grant users programmatic access, choose one of the following options.

Which user needs programmatic access? To By
IAM Use short-term credentials to sign programmatic requests to the Amazon CLI or Amazon APIs (directly or by using the Amazon SDKs). Following the instructions in Using temporary credentials with Amazon resources in the IAM User Guide.

(Not recommended)

Use long-term credentials to sign programmatic requests to the Amazon CLI or Amazon APIs (directly or by using the Amazon SDKs).
Following the instructions in Managing access keys for IAM users in the IAM User Guide.

Attach managed policies for Athena

Athena managed policies grant permissions to use Athena features. You can attach these managed policies to one or more IAM roles that users can assume in order to use Athena.

An IAM role is an IAM identity that you can create in your account that has specific permissions. An IAM role is similar to an IAM user in that it is an Amazon identity with permissions policies that determine what the identity can and cannot do in Amazon. However, instead of being uniquely associated with one person, a role is intended to be assumable by anyone who needs it. Also, a role does not have standard long-term credentials such as a password or access keys associated with it. Instead, when you assume a role, it provides you with temporary security credentials for your role session.

For more information about roles, see IAM roles and Creating IAM roles in the IAM User Guide.

To create a role that grants access to Athena, you attach Athena managed policies to the role. There are two managed policies for Athena: AmazonAthenaFullAccess and AWSQuicksightAthenaAccess. These policies grant permissions to Athena to query Amazon S3 and to write the results of your queries to a separate bucket on your behalf. To see the contents of these policies for Athena, see Amazon managed policies for Amazon Athena.

For steps to attach the Athena managed policies to a role, follow Adding IAM identity permissions (console) in the IAM User Guide and add the AmazonAthenaFullAccess and AWSQuicksightAthenaAccess managed policies to the role that you created.


You may need additional permissions to access the underlying dataset in Amazon S3. If you are not the account owner or otherwise have restricted access to a bucket, contact the bucket owner to grant access using a resource-based bucket policy, or contact your account administrator to grant access using a role-based policy. For more information, see Access to Amazon S3. If the dataset or Athena query results are encrypted, you may need additional permissions. For more information, see Encryption at rest.