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Setting up your IBM Cloud account

Setting up your IBM Cloud account

This tutorial walks you through the steps for setting up an account in IBM Cloud®. By completing this tutorial, you learn how to set up account authentication, manage your account settings, effectively organize resources in your account, and control access to resources.

This tutorial focuses on how to set up a Pay-As-You-Go account. For more information about setting up accounts in an enterprise hierarchy, see Setting up an enterprise.

Create your account

First, create an account by using your existing IBMid or a new IBMid. If your company is registered to use a federated ID for single sign-on (SSO), you can use your federated ID instead.

Table 1. ID options for creating an account
Login ID Details
Existing IBMid If you already have an IBMid, sign up for IBM Cloud with your existing credentials that you use for other IBM® products and services.
New IBMid If you don't yet have an IBMid, you can create one when you sign up. With an IBMid, you can use one username to log in to all IBM products and services, including IBM Cloud.
Federated ID If your company already requested to register the user credentials from your company's domain with IBM, you can sign up for IBM Cloud by using the credentials that you already use for your company's login. You must enter a phone number when you sign up.
Google ID If you already have a Google account, you can use the credentials for Google to sign-up or log in to IBM Cloud.

Using your IBMid

If you're not a part of a company that uses a federated ID, use your IBMid to create your account.

  1. Go to the IBM Cloud login page, and click Create an IBM Cloud account.

  2. Enter your IBMid email address. If you don't have an existing IBMid, an ID is created based on the email that you enter.

  3. Complete the remaining fields with your information.

    You are prompted for your credit card information to verify your identity and secure your account. You can try out IBM Cloud for free and pay only for the billable services that you choose to use, with no long-term contracts or commitments.

  4. Click Create account.

  5. Confirm your account by clicking the link in the confirmation email that's sent to your provided email address.

See Account types to compare and choose an account type.

Personal use availability

The following table shows the countries where personal use of our platform that is not related to business, trade, craft, or professional purposes are not supported

Table 2. Countries in Africa that are not supported
Canary Islands
Ivory Coast
Table 2. Countries in Asia that are not supported
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
Table 2. Countries in Europe that are not supported

IBM® Norway and IBM® Switzerland are able to contract with local customers to offer personal use accounts.

To work with a local Business Partner, go to the IBM Business Partner Directory. Customers are not required to have a VAT ID to work with a local Business Partner.

Using a federated ID

A federated ID is an ID within a company's domain that is registered with IBM so that the domain and user credentials can be used to access IBM web applications. You can sign up for IBM Cloud with a federated ID only if your company is already registered with IBM. Registering a company's domain with IBM enables users to log in to IBM products and services by using their existing company user credentials. Authentication is then handled by your company's identity provider (IdP) through single sign-on (SSO).

IBM uses the Security Assertion Markup Language 2.0 (SAML 2.0) for this identity federation. SAML 2.0 is a standard version for exchanging authentication data between security domains. It’s an XML-based protocol that uses a security token that contains assertions to pass information between the organization's IdP, and the IBM Rely Party (RP), otherwise known as the Service Provider.

For information about how to register your company for a federated ID, see the IBMid Enterprise Federation Adoption Guide. An IBM sponsor, such as an product advocate or client advocate, is required when you request to register federated IDs.

Using a Google ID

Your Google credentials can be used to sign-up for a new IBM Cloud account, or can be used to log in to an existing IBM Cloud account. Users that log in with Google are treated like non-federated users, and multifactor authentication (MFA) is enabled for all users to add an extra layer of security.

This functionality is only available for newly registered IBMids on any eligible domain and existing IBMids on the and domains. Logging in with Google credentials is not available for IBMids that are federated with a corporate identity provider through SAML.

You can log in with your Google from the IBM Cloud login page by clicking Continue with Google and entering your Google credentials.

To sign-up with your Google credentials, complete the following steps:

  1. Go to the IBM Cloud login page, and click Create an IBM Cloud account.
  2. Click Continue with Google.
  3. Review the IBMid account privacy notice, and click Proceed.
  4. Select your country, and click Next.
  5. Review the terms and conditions.
  6. Click Continue.

Set up account MFA settings

By default, users in your account verify themselves by logging in with a username and password. To require users to use more secure authentication factors, complete the following steps to set up multifactor authentication (MFA).

Setting up MFA in your account affects all members of the account. This means that if users of your account are members of multiple IBM Cloud accounts, they must enroll for MFA at their next login even if they don't intend to use resources in the secured account.

  1. Go to Manage > Access (IAM) > Settings in the IBM Cloud console.
  2. Update the current authentication setting by clicking Edit in the Authentication section.
  3. Select the type of MFA to enable in your account.
    • MFA for users with an IBMid: Require users to authenticate by using an IBMid, password, and time-based one-time passcode (TOTP). You can enable this option for all users or non-federated users.
    • MFA for all users (IBMid & supported IdPs): Require users to authenticate by using one of the following MFA factors. This option applies to users who are using either an IBMid or an external IdP.
      • Email-based MFA: Users authenticate by using a security passcode that's sent by email.
      • TOTP MFA: Users authenticate by using a time-based one-time passcode (TOTP) with an authenticator app, such as IBM Security Verify or Google Authenticator.
      • U2F MFA: Users authenticate by using a hardware security key. This factor offers the highest level of security.
  4. Click Update.

The first time that you log in to your account after updating your MFA settings, you need to verify your identity by using two different verification methods. Methods for verification include email, text, or phone call, and you can use any combination of those options to verify your identity. After you verify your identity, you set up and provide details for your authentication factor.

Estimate your costs

Complete the following steps to get an estimate of how much your usage might cost:

  1. Go to the catalog, and select Services.

  2. Select a service that you're interested in.

  3. Select a pricing plan, enter other configuration details if needed, and click Add to estimate.

    By default, the estimator shows the pricing and billing currency for your location. Pricing can vary by region. If you're estimating costs for a different location, select the correct region to view accurate pricing.

  4. Add the calculated cost to your estimate by clicking Save.

  5. When you're done adding products to your estimate, click Review estimate to a detailed view of your estimate.

    You can download a CSV, XSLX, or PDF of the estimate by clicking Download.

Manage your invoices and payment methods

Before you start working with resources in your account, familiarize yourself with where you can manage your payment method and access your invoices.

Managing your payment method

  • To manage your payment method for an account that's billed in USD currency, go to Manage > Billing and usage in the IBM Cloud console, and select Payments.
  • To manage your payment method for an account that's billed in non-USD currency, go to IBM Billing.

Accessing your invoices

  • To access an invoice for an account that's billed in USD currency, go to Manage > Billing and usage in the IBM Cloud console, and select Invoices.
  • To access an invoice for an account that's billed in non-USD currency, go to Manage > Billing and usage in the IBM Cloud console, and select Invoices. Then, click IBM Invoices.

Set preferences for receiving notifications

Complete the following steps to set your preferences for receiving various types of notifications:

  1. To receive notifications about IBM Cloud platform-related, or resource-related items, go to the Avatar icon Avatar icon Profile > Notification preferences.

    • When you set IBM Cloud platform notifications, you receive email notifications that are associated with only the platform. You do not receive notifications about events that are associated with IBM Cloud services. By default, all platform notifications are turned off.
    • If you update your preferences on resource activity, such as incidents, maintenance, security bulletins, or infrastructure service updates, the notifications are for only the services you use or the devices that you have created. By default, all infrastructure notifications are turned off.
  2. To receive spending notifications, go to Manage > Billing and usage > Spending notifications in the IBM Cloud console. Or, you can access it directly from the Notification preferences page by clicking Manage in the Billing and Usage section.

    You receive notifications when you reach 80%, 90%, and 100% of the spending thresholds that you specify. Enter the dollar amount to set a spending threshold when set up your spending notification. For more information, see Setting spending notifications.

Create your resource groups

Resource groups provide a way for you to easily manage access to multiple resources and to view billing usage for a set of resources. With your Pay-As-You-Go account, you can create more resource groups in addition to the default resource group that's created for you.

  1. Go to Manage > Account > Account resources > Resource groups in the IBM Cloud console.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Enter a name for your resource group, and click Add.

See What makes a good resource group strategy? for details about how to optimally organize resources in your resource groups.

Set up access

IAM access groups provide a way for you to quickly and easily assign access to multiple resources in your account at one time.

  1. Create an access group.

    1. Go to Manage > Access (IAM) > Access Groups in the IBM Cloud console.
    2. Click Create.
    3. Enter a name for your group, and click Create. For example, if you know multiple users in your account need to be able to apply subscription codes, track usage, or perform other billed-related tasks, you might name your group Billing-Editor-Access.
  2. Assign access to the group.

    1. Click Access > Assign access.

    2. Select individual services or a group of services:

      • All Identity and Access enabled services: Assigns access to all catalog services that use IAM for access management.
      • All Account Management services: Assigns access to manage platform services, such as billing, license and entitlements, and enterprises. For more information, see Assigning access to account management services.
      • All IAM Account Management services: Assigns access to a subset of account management services that includes the IAM platform services IAM Identity, IAM Access Management, IAM User Management, IAM Groups, and future IAM services.
    3. Click Next.

    4. Select all roles that apply, then click Next.

    5. Click Add and repeat as needed.

    6. Click Assign.

See What makes a good access group strategy? for details about how to best set-up your access groups.

Invite users to your account

You're ready to invite users to your account and grant them access based on the resources they work with and the tasks they perform. If you want users to create resources from the catalog and assign the resources to a resource group, the following access is required:

  • Viewer role or higher on the resource group.
  • Editor or administrator role on the service.

Complete the following steps:

  1. Go to Manage > Access (IAM) > Users in the IBM Cloud console.
  2. Click Invite users.
  3. Specify the email address of the user. If you are inviting more than one user, they are all assigned the same access.
  4. Add the user to one or more of the access groups that you created in the previous step.
  5. Click Invite.

To learn more about the invitation flow and how users can accept invitations, see Inviting users to an account.

You can also give users access to your account by using trusted profiles. For more information, see What makes a good trusted profiles strategy?.

Explore your support options

You can use the Support Center to get help with any issues that you might encounter. To access the Support Center, click the Help icon Help icon > Support center from the console menu bar.

  • The Help just for you section features links to common tasks, troubleshooting, and FAQs specific to the resources in your account.
  • The Featured FAQs section provides FAQs related to platform tasks, for example, resetting your password, IAM, and upgrading your account.
  • The Contact support section provides the options for getting in touch with a support representative: start a live chat, contact by phone, or create a support case.