Difference Between AWS Privatelink And Direct Connect

AWS Privatelink and Direct Connect are two popular network connectivity solutions offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

With continuous increases in the utilization of cloud services, there is a need for different connectivity requirements between users and cloud services/resources. I have used both and they come with different use cases and benefits.

If you are looking for a solution to assess AWS services without going through the public internet AWS Privatelink is the solution that will help you.

Between your VPC (virtual private cloud) and the AWS service you create a private and direct connection with the help of AWS Privatelink, it is a secure and faster connection.

If you have a need to connect your Data Center or office with AWS Cloud and don’t want to use public internet, then AWS Direct Connect is the solution that will help you. It is a dedicated network connection between your Data Center/office and AWS Cloud.

Now the detailed understanding of these two AWS connectivity options, AWS Privatelink and Direct Connect will help you to make an informed choice when needed. So lets understand these two connectivity options in detail.

AWS Privatelink

AWS offers this service to connect your VPC (Virtual Private Clouds) on a private network with, AWS services, partner-provided services on AWS Cloud, and customer-owned services hosted in AWS Cloud.

Once you have established this AWS Privatelink connectivity, you can access every service on private connectivity and you do not have a need to use public internet to connect these services. As it is private connection is more secure than public internet connectivity. Communication is via a private IP address.

It is possible to extend AWS Privatelink connectivity across different AWS Privatelink cross region. It gives you a consistent and secure network performance.

Though you are on public cloud, you are still able to configure and access services on secure private network connectivity, while enjoying the benefits offered by AWS public cloud.

AWS PrivateLink
AWS PrivateLink

How Does AWS Privatelink Work

Step 1: You create an interface VPC endpoint for the identified AWS service. This endpoint is attached to your VPC and creates a private connection between your VPC and the identified AWS service.

Step 2: Once your endpoint is created, your VPC will route all the traffic initiated for the identified AWS service via a new endpoint instead of sending this traffic to the public interface. VPC route tables are used to keep the traffic within the AWS private network.

Step 3: All the communication between the VPC and AWS service is encrypted going via AWS Privatelink.

Video Credit Amazon Web Services

Benefits of AWS Privatelink:

Network Architecture:

With AWS Privatelink configuration we don’t need complex VPN configurations or custom network appliances from the marketplace. AWS Privatelink helps us with a simple network architecture that is scalable across regions and secure.


When we use AWS Privatelink we do not take our traffic on public network to connect various AWS services. This helps us to minimize exposure to external threats and reduce the attack surface. This helps us to have a more secure architecture and connectivity.


AWS Privatelink’s are high-bandwidth and low-latency connectivity and hence it improves the application performance. This dedicated and private connection also helps us to improve the overall user experience. The EC2 instances using elastic network interfaces ENI get connected to VPC and can use these private connections.

AWS Direct Connect

It is a dedicated network connection between your Data Center/office and AWS Cloud.

AWS direct connect
AWS direct connect

How Does AWS Direct Connect Work

Step 1: You provision a dedicated connection from your on-premises location (Data Center) to an AWS Direct Connect location. These are the local ISP locations where the AWS network is already provisioned. It is a physical cross-connect between your DC network and AWS global infrastructure.

Step 2: For data security and confidentiality, AWS Direct Connect uses link layer encryption. This encryption protects the traffic flowing between your network and AWS global infrastructure.

Step 3: Once the connection between your on-premises location and AWS global infrastructure is established, you can create one or more virtual interfaces that will act as a logical connection. You can configure specific routes and bandwidth settings with the help of virtual interfaces.

Video Credit Amazon Web Services

Benefits of AWS Direct Connect:

Private Connection:

AWS Direct Connect is dedicated network connectivity and hence does not use public internet to connect AWS Cloud and its services. This is more reliable than public internet connectivity.

Being a private and dedicated connectivity there is no network congestion. So, the bandwidth you provision is only used by you, and hence it is a consistent and predictable experience for you.

More Data Transfer Speed:

You can go for higher bandwidth options while provisioning and you can enjoy the speed over your AWS Direct Connect, but remember it comes with cost. This is helpful when you have data-intensive workloads that need a lot of data transfer between on-premises environments and AWS Cloud.

Hybrid Cloud Connectivity:

If you have a private cloud in your on-premises environment the AWS Direct Connect helps you to integrate between on-premises environments and AWS Cloud, giving you hybrid cloud setups benefits.

Cost Comparison – AWS Direct Connect vs Privatelink

Both the AWS services, Privatelink and Direct Connect offer a customer a cost-effective option for connectivity.

AWS Privatelink is a cost-effective option.

The customer is charged for –

1) Data transfer

2) Number of connections used.

AWS Privatelink can be scaled up and down as needed, allowing the customer to save money on their connections. 

Direct Connect is also a cost-effective option.

The Customer is charged for the dedicated network connection

AWS Direct Connect can be scaled up and down as needed, allowing the customer to save money on their connections.

AWS Privatelink vs Direct Connect

AWS PrivatelinkAWS Direct Connect
Can be used within the AWS networkUsed to connect locations outside AWS network
Can be used to access AWS and Partner services on a private networkCan be used to connect on-premises environments to AWS Cloud
Physically remain within AWS networkPhysically goes outside the AWS network
By using you can access different services on AWS cloudBy using you can setup Hybrid Cloud
AWS direct connect vs AWS privatelink

FAQ: AWS Privatelink And Direct Connect

What is AWS privatelink?

It is AWS service to connect your VPC (Virtual Private Clouds), AWS services, partner-provided services on AWS cloud, and customer-owned services hosted in AWS Cloud on a private network.

Can I privately access AWS services that have PrivateLink over AWS Direct Connect?

Yes, You can access/connect to the service endpoints in Amazon VPC over AWS Direct Connect, which will provide access to AWS service using private IP.

What is cloud direct connect?

Cloud direct connect is a dedicated network connectivity done via a physical fiber interconnect to a cloud provider within a data center colocation facility. It is a secure private connectivity between your DC setup and cloud provider, in this case, you don’t need to use the internet route via internet gateway.


No doubt,  AWS Privatelink and Direct Connect both offer secure and reliable networking solutions for different needs of connectivity.

AWS Privatelink helps within the AWS network you can establish private connectivity between your VPC and AWS services. You can access the AWS services using private IP address, it is more stable then using vpc peering.

AWS Direct Connect helps to establish a physical link between on-premises environments (Data Center) and AWS Cloud. Your private and public cloud can talk to each other on this link using a private IP address. This also helps you to build a hybrid cloud setup.

I hope this information on AWS Privatelink And Direct Connect will help you to make an informed decision on your next connectivity solution. Also, you will be able to differentiate between AWS privatelink vs direct connect. Let us know your thoughts in the comment session.

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