Amazon EC2 is free to try. There are multiple ways to pay for EC2 instances: On-Demand, Savings Plans, and Amazon EC2 Spot Instances. For more information on how to optimize your EC2 spend, visit the Amazon EC2 Cost and Capacity page.
AWS Free Tier
As part of the AWS Free Tier, you can get started with EC2 for free. This includes 750 hours of Linux and Windows t2.micro instances (t3.micro for the regions in which t2.micro is unavailable), each month for one year. To stay within the Free Tier, use only EC2 Micro instances.
On-Demand Instances let you pay for compute capacity by the hour or second with no long-term commitments. This frees you from the costs and complexities of planning, purchasing, and maintaining hardware and transforms what are commonly large fixed costs into much smaller variable costs.
On-Demand Instances are recommended for:
- Users that prefer the low cost and flexibility of EC2 without any upfront payment or long-term commitment
- Applications with short-term, spiky, or unpredictable workloads that cannot be interrupted
- Applications being developed or tested on EC2 for the first time
Savings Plans is a flexible pricing model that can help you reduce your bill by up to 72% compared to On-Demand prices, in exchange for a commitment to a consistent amount of usage (measured in $/hour) for a 1- or 3-year term.
AWS offers three types of Savings Plans: Compute Savings Plans, EC2 Instance Savings Plans, and Amazon SageMaker Savings Plans. Compute Savings Plans apply to usage across Amazon EC2, AWS Lambda, and AWS Fargate.
Savings Plans are recommended for:
- Committed and steady-state usage
- Users looking to innovate faster by using the newest instance families, generations, and Regions while continuing to save
Amazon EC2 Spot Instances
Amazon EC2 Spot Instances let you take advantage of unused EC2 capacity in the AWS cloud and are available at a discount of up to 90% compared to On-Demand prices.
Spot Instances are recommended for:
- Fault tolerant or stateless workloads
- Applications that can run on heterogeneous hardware
- Applications that have flexible start and end times
Dedicated or reserved capacity
A Dedicated Host is a physical EC2 server fully dedicated for your use. Dedicated Hosts can help you reduce costs by allowing you to use your existing server-bound software licenses, including Windows Server, SQL Server, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (subject to your license terms), and can also help you meet compliance requirements. Dedicated Hosts can be purchased On-Demand (hourly) or can be purchased as part of Savings Plans.
Dedicated Hosts are recommended for:
- Users looking to save money on licensing costs
- Workloads that need to meet corporate compliance requirements
- Users looking to offload host maintenance onto AWS, while controlling their maintenance event schedules to suit their business’s operational needs
On-Demand Capacity Reservations
On-Demand Capacity Reservations enable you to reserve compute capacity for your EC2 instances in a specific Availability Zone for any duration. Capacity reservations mitigate against the risk of being unable to get On-Demand capacity in case of capacity constraints and ensure that you always have access to EC2 capacity when you need it, for as long as you need it.
On-Demand Capacity Reservations are recommended for:
- Business-critical events or workloads that require capacity assurance
- Workloads that need to meet regulatory requirements for high availability
- Disaster recovery
EC2 per-second billing removes the cost of unused minutes and seconds from your bill. Focus on improving your applications instead of maximizing hourly usage, especially for instances running over irregular time periods such as dev/testing, data processing, analytics, batch processing, and gaming applications.
EC2 usage is billed in one-second increments, with a minimum of 60 seconds. Similarly, provisioned storage for Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes is billed per-second increments, with a 60-second minimum. Per-second billing is available for Amazon Linux and Windows instances across all regions and Availability Zones and is applicable across all EC2 purchase models.
For details on related costs like data transfer, Elastic IP addresses, and EBS Optimized Instances, visit the On-Demand pricing page.
Additional pricing resources
There are several ways to get started with Amazon EC2 for free.
Instantly get access to the AWS Free Tier.
Get started building with Amazon EC2 in the AWS Console.