Cloud Shell is a web-based command line tool. You can use Cloud Shell from any browser to run cloud commands and manage Alibaba Cloud resources. When you start Cloud Shell, it automatically creates a Linux VM free of charge. The VM is pre-installed with cloud management tools and system tools, including Python, Java, Node.js, Alibaba Cloud CLI, cURL, SSH, Kubectl, Fun, Terraform, Ansible, and Vim. You can use these tools and the code editor provided by Cloud Shell to manage cloud resources.


Cloud Shell provides the following features:

  • Automatically created free VMs

    When you start Cloud Shell, it automatically creates a dedicated Linux VM free of charge.

    Cloud Shell automatically authorizes users to manage cloud resources by running commands. Permissions allocated to each account are the same as those granted by RAM. Cloud Shell authenticates all users and isolates VMs by user to ensure the security of the operating environment.

  • Permanent disk storage

    You can bind a storage space to the $HOME directory of your instance for permanent storage. The files in the $HOME directory, including scripts and user configuration files such as .bashrc and .vimrc, do not vary with your session or Cloud Shell instance.

    You can click the Storage icon in the toolbar to bind or unbind the Cloud Shell instance to a storage space.

  • Code editor

    Cloud Shell provides a built-in code editor. You can click the Code icon in the toolbar to open the code editor.


    You can use the code editor to browse the $HOME directory and edit files and run commands in Cloud Shell at the same time. The built-in editor frees you from the responsibility of development environment configuration and tool installation. You can directly develop applications online and run or deploy scripts through command lines. You can also bind a storage space to Cloud Shell to permanently store the edited files.

  • Tools

    A Cloud Shell VM is pre-installed with common tools. For more information, see Tools supported by Cloud Shell.

    Note You can install other software packages on a Cloud Shell VM. To keep a software package after the VM is released, you must install the software in the $HOME directory and bind the Cloud Shell instance to a permanent storage space.
  • Supported languages

    Cloud Shell VMs support the following languages.

    Language Version
    Java 1.8
    Go 1.13.4
    Python 3.6.7
    Node.js 12.13.1
    PHP 7.2.10
    Ruby 2.5.1


Cloud Shell is subject to the following limits:

Item Description
Number of VMs Regardless of the number of opened Cloud Shell sessions, only one VM is created at a time. All opened Cloud Shell sessions are automatically connected to the same VM.
Number of sessions A maximum of five sessions can be opened simultaneously.
Release of VMs If no interactive operation has been performed for 30 minutes or all sessions are closed, the VM will be released after 15 minutes. When you start Cloud Shell again, a new VM is created.
File storage Cloud Shell provides 10 GB of temporary storage. You can store your files in the /home/shell directory, but the directory will be reset when the VM is released. If you bind the Cloud Shell instance to a storage space for permanent storage, the files in the storage space are automatically loaded each time when Cloud Shell is started.