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Billgist

AWS Free Tier Explained

Aarzoo Naeem
Originally published at billgist.com Updated on ・2 min read

Amazon is leading the market in real-time accessible cloud computing services. The Amazon Web Services include a diverse range of services and an even wider range of features for those services. From cloud computing, databases to newer technologies like machine learning and so on, AWS has a lot to offer. Anyone from an individual to a large organization can use AWS and the AWS free tier. Students can upload research material while start-ups can manage their websites or blogs with the Free Tier.

What’s included?

AWS provides new users a free usage tier so they can explore and try out specified services. The free tier only applies to a limited number of services that have a maximum usage limit. There are three types of free tier offers -12 months free trial, short-term free trials and an Always Free offer. There is a limited hour or usage limit on services, and you are charged pay-as-you-go when the limit is exhausted.

But is it really free?

This is where a lot of new AWS users get confused as they read stories of users receiving shockingly high bills despite signing up for the free tier services. It is true that AWS offers free tier services, but a few terms and conditions apply.
For example, in the 12-month trial, there is a limit on the hours that can be used. It gives the user 750 hours. These hours are renewed every month, they do not get accumulated or carried forward. Similarly, the short-term trials are limited to particular services, with a particular time limit that starts when you activate it. As soon as your free trial period expires, you start getting charged on the standard pay-as-you-go rates.

Is it possible to monitor the costs?

Yes. You can set up a budget on AWS budgets and control your costs drastically. Make sure that you monitor the dashboard a few times every day, especially if you are a new user. Notifications can also be set up to inform you of the usage and also when you exceed the set limit. It is also possible to customize usage for instances in services like Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS among a few others. You can also use the AWS pricing calculator to check the charges for your planned configuration.
A major setback that users sometimes face is being charged for instances they are no longer using or are not in production. It is essential to shut down instances when not needed, otherwise, you may be charged.
It can be a full-time job to track your AWS costs. Thus, using a service that can help monitor and cut down the charges on AWS usage can prove helpful. These services can help in identifying where and how to lower the costs.
Signing up for the AWS Free Tier Services is a great way to scale and grow your business. It helps you explore options of storing and managing data as well as a wide range of databases, security, compute services, etc.

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