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Warren Parad
Warren Parad

Posted on • Originally published at Medium on

AWS Free Tier Cost

AWS Free Tier Cost Breakdown

Obviously by now everyone knows that product free tiers are a really good attempt to capture your market. Whatever that is, a free tier lets you get in and get consumed by what is offered. For some products there is an explicit line you need to cross or action you need to do before that happens.

  • Click Upgrade
  • Upgrade to Premium

For instance. But for AWS it is a bit different, and it’s different for any one using rate billing instead of seat based billing. Because you’ve already signed up and crossing that magic line is passive, there isn’t anything you need to do before you start paying. Other than use the services of course.

One question on ever maker’s mind is how much are my users worth to me. A more difficult question is How much do they cost me?

Over at Rhosys, we are busy making Teaminator, but while doing that we are happily releasing free community services on top of our infrastructure. (We can do that because we write microservices. You know that little app you are using which doesn’t do exactly what you want, well we just decided to rewrite it and offer it for free. The cost to us is negligible.) However we still want to know how much that is.

Last year our latest community software app was Standup & Prosper. We took everything we knew about asking teams questions, getting feedback, and helping teams perform better and drove it into a replacement for every Slack Standup app out there. We needed something for our fully distributed team, and the current ones just didn’t make the cut.

Back on topic, I was curious how much does supporting the community for async standup really cost us? — To which I could go to AWS and check our bill, break it down by microservice and estimate the cost based on the resources.

Well sort of.

I got a number and then divided by the hundreds of teams on our products. But I was unhappy with that. It just didn’t account for the free tier that AWS was providing. So here it goes, if you used 100% of the free tier from AWS, but it wasn’t free, you would actually be paying per month an additional:

  • Lambda: $6.87
  • DynamoDB: $44.99 + $7.08 (+ Streams $0.567) => $52.63
  • SQS: $0.40 (Standard) + $0.50 (FIFO) => $0.90
  • X-Ray: $1.00
  • Step Functions: $0.10
  • KMS: $0.06
  • CloudWatch: $13 (Metrics) + $9 (Dashboards) + $1 (Std Alarms) + $3 (Logs) => $22
  • SES: $6.20 (Send) + $0.10 (Receive) => $6.30
  • SNS: $0.58 (send) + $? (for SMS messages, pay by country, so don’t)
  • Cognito: $2775 + $16.50 (Sync)
  • EC2: $6
  • Overall Data Transfer out (for all services): $1.26


  • These calculations are from eu-west-1
  • Where reserved capacity exists, calculations are done assuming 1 year commitment, adjusted for what is offered for the free tier.
  • That’s not all the services, I jumped at the ones that are on our scorecard, if there is something out there that a cloud-based startup could really use. I’ll add it in.

So besides Cognito which I’m not totally sure what you are paying for there, welcome to paying an additional $97.90 per month.

Surprise, Surprise, Amazon is paying you $100/month to get hooked on their services, and it’s a pretty sweet deal.

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