It is essential to keep track of AWS costs before they start sending you hefty surprise packages in the form of bills. There's not one, not two, not ten, but thousands of stories where people got billed for AWS services unexpectedly. If you've received your first surprise bill of services you meant to turn off or weren't using, AWS might issue a refund or give you credit. But if it's been a couple of times, you might want to read through this article to ensure you don't incur any more expensive bills.
In another article, we discussed at length how you could monitor AWS usage to avoid underutilized resources incurring extra cost. This article will explore various AWS billing mistakes people have made that ended up costing them a lot to ensure you don't make them.
AWS Promotional Credit is an impeccable beginning to diving into AWS. Your credit card may be charged even after you remove it after using resources on AWS. It won't necessarily stop the system from charging you again if you've used up your promotional credit. You might end up with a significant charge on your account despite removing credit card credentials from your AWS account.
Another user on Reddit had a funnier story. He was charged a whopping $61,000 for services he initially claimed he didn’t use. He created a reductant setup of a website with AWS RDS. He later forgot about getting switched to a higher priority task. Bam. He receives a bill of $5,000 first, then $32,000, and finally $24,000.
When choosing your cloud database options, make sure you don't select costly options that you don't need or are entirely unnecessary. A Reddit user got a bill of $670 just by spending half an hour extra in a database running a few queries. Don't wait for a surprise charge in the email; check your options now to opt-out of a potential extra bill. Amazon's impeccable customer service issued a refund to him for the previous month and issued a credit for what he owed the next month.
Keep a close eye on your account usage, set up alerts, or opt for other ways to reduce your AWS bill Five Tips to Reduce Your AWS Bill. If your account gets hacked, ensure that you save all your usage logs before deleting any instances, so you have all your information to log a complaint with your data. Yes, your AWS account is susceptible to unauthorized usage as it is an online platform. But no, don't panic just now because all your focus should be on saving your data, so you have your log history since you made an account. In case your account got hacked, Amazon will most likely be very supportive, but they don't always have to be. So one missed billing alert may end up costing you a lot.
You can avoid these unpleasant surprises by using Billgist. Billgist emails you daily snapshots of your daily spending and how it's trending each month. You can choose your alert frequency and add additional recipients as well. The existing AWS billing console is limited because it can only display your costs without notifying you about an eventual surge in the bill. It can also be impractical for most non-technical users to monitor your AWS costs continuously. Billgist gives you a simple overview of your expenses, delivered daily into your inbox.
Billgist allows these reports to be pushed to anyone on the team (e.g., accountant, CFO, someone with financial responsibility) without knowing how to sign in to the AWS console. If you manage client's AWS accounts (like our teams at Foretheta do), Billgist helps you monitor multiple AWS accounts without paying per-seat pricing.
Surprises can be fun, but not when it's in the form of an unexpected AWS bill surge. People have made many expensive AWS billing mistakes, but following the good practices above will ensure you don't end up being like them.