What is the AWS Free Tier, and how do I use it?

Last updated: 2020-06-17

I want to test AWS using resources covered under the AWS Free Tier. How does the AWS Free Tier work, and what are some things to keep in mind while using it?

Short Description

The AWS Free Tier is automatically activated on each new AWS account. With the AWS Free Tier, you can try out some AWS services free of charge within certain usage limits.

The AWS Free Tier includes three different types of offerings:

  • Trials: These are short-term trial offers that start from the date that you activate a service. You pay standard rates after the trial period expires. For more information on how different services are charged, see AWS Pricing.
  • 12-Months free: These offers provide limited usage for 12 months after your initial sign-up date. You pay standard rates after your 12 months free usage term expires or if your application use exceeds the free tier limits.
  • Always free: These offers are available to all AWS customers and don't expire at the end of your 12-month AWS Free Tier term.

However, not all AWS services are free. You can track your Free Tier usage with the AWS Free Tier usage alerts. AWS provides free tier usage alerts using AWS Budgets. These alerts notify you when your free tier usage exceeds 85 percent of your monthly limit.

Resolution

Keep the following in mind when using the AWS Free Tier:

Not all AWS services are covered under the AWS Free Tier

Check the AWS Free Tier offerings to be sure that the services you intend to use are covered.

Not all free usage is part of the AWS Free Tier

Some services launched under the Free Tier have usage limits. If you exceed the usage limits, you are charged at standard rates.

Some services offer free trials outside of AWS Free Tier. Other services offer some level of service for free, whether or not your account is covered under the AWS Free Tier.

Check the service's pricing documentation to find out if that service has a free trial option.

Your access to services is not restricted by the AWS Free Tier

You are responsible for the services that you launch. You might incur charges for any services and usage that are not covered by the Free Tier. For information on how much your resources will cost after the Free Tier limits are exceeded, see How do I estimate how much my planned AWS resource configurations will cost?