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Boto3 is the AWS SDK for Python to create, configure, and manage AWS services, such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). The SDK provides an object-oriented API as well as low-level access to AWS services.


pip install boto3



List the files of a bucket

def list_s3_by_prefix(
    bucket: str, key_prefix: str, max_results: int = 100
) -> List[str]:
    next_token = ""
    all_keys = []
    while True:
        if next_token:
            res = s3.list_objects_v2(
                Bucket=bucket, ContinuationToken=next_token, Prefix=key_prefix
            res = s3.list_objects_v2(Bucket=bucket, Prefix=key_prefix)

        if "Contents" not in res:

        if res["IsTruncated"]:
            next_token = res["NextContinuationToken"]
            next_token = ""

        keys = [item["Key"] for item in res["Contents"]]


        if not next_token:
    return all_keys[-1 * max_results :]

The boto3 doesn't have any way to sort the outputs of the bucket, you need to do them once you've loaded all the objects :S.


Run EC2 instance

Use the run_instances method of the ec2 client. Check their docs for the different configuration options. The required ones are MinCount and MaxCount.

import boto3

ec2 = boto3.client('ec2')
instance = ec2.run_instances(MinCount=1, MaxCount=1)

Get instance types

from pydantic import BaseModel
import boto3

class InstanceType(BaseModel):
    """Define model of the instance type.

        id_: instance type name
        cpu_vcores: Number of virtual cpus (cores * threads)
        cpu_speed: Sustained clock speed in Ghz
        ram: RAM memory in MiB
        price: Hourly cost

    id_: str
    cpu_vcores: int
    cpu_speed: Optional[int] = None
    ram: int
    network_performance: str
    price: Optional[float] = None

    def cpu(self) -> int:
        """Calculate the total Ghz available."""
        if self.cpu_speed is None:
            return self.cpu_vcores
        return self.cpu_vcores * self.cpu_speed

def get_instance_types() -> InstanceTypes:
    """Get the available instance types.""""Retrieving instance types")
    instance_types: InstanceTypes = {}
    for type_ in _ec2_instance_types(cpu_arch="x86_64"):
        instance = InstanceType(

        with suppress(KeyError):
            instance.cpu_speed = type_["ProcessorInfo"]["SustainedClockSpeedInGhz"]

        instance_types[type_["InstanceType"]] = instance

    return instance_types

Get instance prices

import json
import boto3
from pkg_resources import resource_filename

def _ec2_price(
    instance_type: str,
    region_code: str = "us-east-1",
    operating_system: str = "Linux",
    preinstalled_software: str = "NA",
    tenancy: str = "Shared",
    is_byol: bool = False,
) -> Optional[float]:
    """Get the price of an EC2 instance type."""
    log.debug(f"Retrieving price of {instance_type}")
    region_name = _get_region_name(region_code)

    if is_byol:
        license_model = "Bring your own license"
        license_model = "No License required"

    if tenancy == "Host":
        capacity_status = "AllocatedHost"
        capacity_status = "Used"

    filters = [
        {"Type": "TERM_MATCH", "Field": "termType", "Value": "OnDemand"},
        {"Type": "TERM_MATCH", "Field": "capacitystatus", "Value": capacity_status},
        {"Type": "TERM_MATCH", "Field": "location", "Value": region_name},
        {"Type": "TERM_MATCH", "Field": "instanceType", "Value": instance_type},
        {"Type": "TERM_MATCH", "Field": "tenancy", "Value": tenancy},
        {"Type": "TERM_MATCH", "Field": "operatingSystem", "Value": operating_system},
            "Type": "TERM_MATCH",
            "Field": "preInstalledSw",
            "Value": preinstalled_software,
        {"Type": "TERM_MATCH", "Field": "licenseModel", "Value": license_model},

    pricing_client = boto3.client("pricing", region_name="us-east-1")
    response = pricing_client.get_products(ServiceCode="AmazonEC2", Filters=filters)

    for price in response["PriceList"]:
        price = json.loads(price)

        for on_demand in price["terms"]["OnDemand"].values():
            for price_dimensions in on_demand["priceDimensions"].values():
                price_value = price_dimensions["pricePerUnit"]["USD"]

        return float(price_value)
    return None

def _get_region_name(region_code: str) -> str:
    """Extract the region name from it's code."""
    endpoint_file = resource_filename("botocore", "data/endpoints.json")

    with open(endpoint_file, "r", encoding="UTF8") as f:
        endpoint_data = json.load(f)

    region_name = endpoint_data["partitions"][0]["regions"][region_code]["description"]
    return region_name.replace("Europe", "EU")

Get running instances

import boto3

ec2 = boto3.client('ec2')

running_instances = [
    for page in ec2.get_paginator('describe_instances').paginate() 
    for reservation in page['Reservations'] 
    for instance in reservation['Instances']]
    if instance['State']['Name'] == 'running'

Type hints

AWS library doesn't have working type hints -.-, so you either use Any or dive into the myriad of packages that implement them. I've so far tried boto3_type_annotations, boto3-stubs, and mypy_boto3_builder without success. Any it is for now...


Programs that interact with AWS through boto3 create, change or get information on real AWS resources.

When developing these programs, you don't want the testing framework to actually do those changes, as it might break things and cost you money. You need to find a way to intercept the calls to AWS and substitute them with the data their API would return. I've found three ways to achieve this:

  • Manually mocking the boto3 methods used by the program with unittest.mock.
  • Using moto.
  • Using Botocore's Stubber.


Try to use moto, using the stubber as fallback option.

Using unittest.mock forces you to know what the API is going to return and hardcode it in your tests. If the response changes, you need to update your tests, which is not good.

moto is a library that allows you to easily mock out tests based on AWS infrastructure. It works well because it mocks out all calls to AWS automatically without requiring any dependency injection. The downside is that it goes behind boto3 so some of the methods you need to test won't be still implemented, that leads us to the third option.

Botocore's Stubber is a class that allows you to stub out requests so you don't have to hit an endpoint to write tests. Responses are returned first in, first out. If operations are called out of order, or are called with no remaining queued responses, an error will be raised. It's like the first option but cleaner. If you go down this path, check adamj's post on testing S3.


moto's library lets you fictitiously create and change AWS resources as you normally do with the boto3 library. They mimic what the real methods do on fake objects.

The Docs are awful though.


pip install moto

Simple usage

To understand better how it works, I'm going to show you an understandable example, it's not the best way to use it though, go to the usage section for production ready usage.

Imagine you have a function that you use to launch new ec2 instances:

import boto3

def add_servers(ami_id, count):
    client = boto3.client('ec2', region_name='us-west-1')
    client.run_instances(ImageId=ami_id, MinCount=count, MaxCount=count)

To test it we'd use:

from . import add_servers
from moto import mock_ec2

def test_add_servers():
    add_servers('ami-1234abcd', 2)

    client = boto3.client('ec2', region_name='us-west-1')
    instances = client.describe_instances()['Reservations'][0]['Instances']
    assert len(instances) == 2
    instance1 = instances[0]
    assert instance1['ImageId'] == 'ami-1234abcd'

The decorator @mock_ec2 tells moto to capture all boto3 calls to AWS. When we run the add_servers function to test, it will create the fake objects on the memory (without contacting AWS servers), and the client.describe_instances boto3 method returns the data of that fake data. Isn't it awesome?


You can use it with decorators, context managers, directly or with pytest fixtures.

Being a pytest fan, the last option looks the cleaner to me.

To make sure that you don't change the real infrastructure, ensure that your tests have dummy environmental variables.

File: tests/

def _aws_credentials() -> None:
    """Mock the AWS Credentials for moto."""
    os.environ["AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID"] = "testing"
    os.environ["AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY"] = "testing"
    os.environ["AWS_SECURITY_TOKEN"] = "testing"
    os.environ["AWS_SESSION_TOKEN"] = "testing"

def ec2(_aws_credentials: None) -> Any:
    """Configure the boto3 EC2 client."""
    with mock_ec2():
        yield boto3.client("ec2", region_name="us-east-1")

The ec2 fixture can then be used in the tests to setup the environment or assert results.

Testing EC2

If you want to add security groups to the tests, you need to create the resource first.

def test_ec2_with_security_groups(ec2: Any) -> None:
    security_group_id = ec2.create_security_group(
        GroupName="TestSecurityGroup", Description="SG description"
    instance = ec2.run_instances(

    # Test your code here

To add tags, use:

def test_ec2_with_security_groups(ec2: Any) -> None:
    instance = ec2.run_instances(
                "ResourceType": "instance",
                "Tags": [
                        "Key": "Name",
                        "Value": "instance name",

    # Test your code here
Testing RDS

Use the rds fixture:

from moto import mock_rds2

def rds(_aws_credentials: None) -> Any:
    """Configure the boto3 RDS client."""
    with mock_rds2():
        yield boto3.client("rds", region_name="us-east-1")

To create an instance use:

instance = rds.create_db_instance(

It won't have VPC information, if you need it, create the subnet group first (you'll need the ec2 fixture too):

subnets = [subnet['SubnetId'] for subnet in ec2.describe_subnets()["Subnets"]]
rds.create_db_subnet_group(DBSubnetGroupName="dbsg", SubnetIds=subnets, DBSubnetGroupDescription="Text")
instance = rds.create_db_instance(
Testing S3

Use the s3_mock fixture:

from moto import mock_s3

def s3_mock(_aws_credentials: None) -> Any:
    """Configure the boto3 S3 client."""
    with mock_s3():
        yield boto3.client("s3")

To create an instance use:

instance = s3_mock.list_buckets()["Buckets"][0]

Check the official docs to check the create_bucket arguments.

Testing Route53

Use the route53 fixture:

from moto import mock_route53

def route53_(_aws_credentials: None) -> Any:
    """Configure the boto3 Route53 client."""
    with mock_route53():
        yield boto3.client("route53")

To create an instance use:

hosted_zone = route53.create_hosted_zone(
    Name="", CallerReference="Test"
hosted_zone_id = re.sub(".hostedzone.", "", hosted_zone["Id"])
        "Changes": [
                "Action": "CREATE",
                "ResourceRecordSet": {
                    "Name": "",
                    "ResourceRecords": [
                            "Value": "",
                    "TTL": 60,
                    "Type": "A",
        "Comment": "Web server for",
You need to first create a hosted zone. The change_resource_record_sets order to create the instance doesn't return any data, so if you need to work on it, use the list_resource_record_sets method of the route53 client (you'll need to set the HostedZoneId argument). If you have more than 300 records, the endpoint gives you a paginated response, so if the IsTruncated attribute is True, you need to call the method again setting the StartRecordName and StartRecordType to the NextRecordName and NextRecordType response arguments. Not nice at all.

Pagination is not yet supported by moto, so you won't be able to test that part of your code.

Check the official docs to check the method arguments:

Test VPC

Use the ec2 fixture defined in the usage section.

To create an instance use:

instance = ec2.create_vpc(

Check the official docs to check the method arguments:

Testing autoscaling groups

Use the autoscaling fixture:

from moto import mock_autoscaling

def autoscaling_(_aws_credentials: None) -> Any:
    """Configure the boto3 Autoscaling Group client."""
    with mock_autoscaling():
        yield boto3.client("autoscaling")

They don't yet support LaunchTemplates, so you'll have to use LaunchConfigurations. To create an instance use:

autoscaling.create_launch_configuration(LaunchConfigurationName='LaunchConfiguration', ImageId='ami-xxxx', InstanceType='t2.medium')
autoscaling.create_auto_scaling_group(AutoScalingGroupName='ASG name', MinSize=1, MaxSize=3, LaunchConfigurationName='LaunchConfiguration', AvailabilityZones=['us-east-1a'])
instance = autoscaling.describe_auto_scaling_groups()["AutoScalingGroups"][0]

Check the official docs to check the method arguments:

Test Security Groups

Use the ec2 fixture defined in the usage section.

To create an instance use:

instance_id = ec2.create_security_group(
    GroupName="TestSecurityGroup", Description="SG description"
instance = ec2.describe_security_groups(GroupIds=[instance_id])

To add permissions to the security group you need to use the authorize_security_group_ingress and authorize_security_group_egress methods.

            "IpProtocol": "tcp",
            "FromPort": 80,
            "ToPort": 80,
            "IpRanges": [{"CidrIp": ""}],

By default, the created security group comes with an egress rule to allow all traffic. To remove rules use the revoke_security_group_egress and revoke_security_group_ingress methods.

        {"IpProtocol": "-1", "IpRanges": [{"CidrIp": ""}]},

Check the official docs to check the method arguments:

Test IAM users

Use the iam fixture:

from moto import mock_iam

def iam_(_aws_credentials: None) -> Any:
    """Configure the boto3 IAM client."""
    with mock_iam():
        yield boto3.client("iam")

To create an instance use:

instance = iam.create_user(UserName="User")["User"]

Check the official docs to check the method arguments:

Test IAM Groups

Use the iam fixture defined in the test IAM users section:

To create an instance use:

user = iam.create_user(UserName="User")["User"]
instance = iam.create_group(GroupName="UserGroup")["Group"]
iam.add_user_to_group(GroupName=instance["GroupName"], UserName=user["UserName"])

Check the official docs to check the method arguments: