EC2 Pricing: How Much Does AWS EC2 Really Cost?
Finding exact prices for AWS EC2 is not easy. The difficulty arises because several factors determine the price. Costs in the Europe AWS zone may not be the same as those in the Asia Pacific zone.
AWS EC2 provides a scalable and secure cloud platform for organizations to manage their workloads. This platform has various pricing options depending on your AWS availability region, allocated resources, and time spent on the cloud.
If you also increase Instance sizes, usage time, and processor capabilities, AWS EC2 Pricing increases. It’s equally important to note that the more AWS resources you use, the more it costs.
There are five main models for AWS’ pricing:
- Free Tier Pricing
- Spot Pricing
- Reserved Pricing
- On-Demand Pricing
- Dedicated Hosts Pricing
This article discusses each pricing model in detail. Let’s start with Free Tier Pricing.
The Free Tier plan helps to remove the price barrier while joining the cloud. Any cloud user can access AWS Free Tier and test the features before making a long-term commitment.
Do you want to launch a product, make mobile apps, or host a website on the cloud? AWS has a 12-month Free Trial to help meet anyone’s needs.
Just below the AWS Free Tier, Spot Pricing is the next cheapest option. With Spot Instances, you’re using someone else’s unused capacity. For this reason, Spot prices have large discounts. Spot Instances are ideal for short-term workloads, such as development and testing.
Spot Instances are also subject to interruptions when Amazon EC2 needs the capacity back. You will receive a two-minute notification, however. This means you’ll need fault-tolerant applications while running Spot Instances.
This pricing model allows you to reserve AWS resources for future use. But how much does it cost? It’s usually more expensive than Spot Pricing because you’re accumulating costs over several years. AWS applies discounts of up to 70 percent on this plan.
AWS provides both Standard and Convertible Reserved Instances for EC2. It’s best to purchase Convertible Reserved Instances as they provide more flexibility.
To explain further, let’s say you are in the Eastern United States (Ohio). You choose a one-year commitment plan.
- If you pay the whole amount at the beginning of the contract for a1.medium resource, you’ll pay $131.
- If you pay a partial upfront fee of $77 for a1.medium RI, you can pay $.72 for consecutive months.
- If you pay no upfront fee, you can pay $13.51 in each of the 12 months.
These commitments go from one- to three-year terms.
See the AWS pricing table for updated prices.
AWS understands it’s difficult to pay lump sum checks at once. That’s why its On-Demand prices let you pay as you go. On-Demand prices can be 27 percent to 35 percent higher than Reserved Pricing. Before going deep into how much On-Demand prices cost, let’s examine some of its use-cases.
Generally, if you’re doing short-term projects, you’ll want On-Demand instances.
Other scenarios include:
- When you’re doing irregular workloads.
- When you’re doing operations that shouldn’t have any interruptions, such as a migration process.
- When you’re looking for flexibility and have an irregular schedule.
You can use an On-Demand pricing calculator to know how much it costs.
Since you’re in the U.S. East (Ohio) AWS region, you would choose a Linux server and two vCPUs: AWS offers different Instances at different hourly rates. The c6g large Instance costs $0.068 per hour. AWS will let you access 4 GiB of memory, EBS storage, and up to 10 Gigabits of network performance for one hour. If demand doesn’t change, you’ll continue to access these resources at the agreed hourly rate.
You can use On-Demand or Reserved Pricing for Dedicated Hosts. AWS has a table explaining the prices of various Dedicated Hosts. It’s more expensive because Dedicated Hosts give you more control and help you meet regulatory compliance requirements.
While the a1 general purpose Dedicated Host costs $0.449 per hour, the mac1 Dedicated Host costs $1.083 per hour.
AWS Savings Plans is a flexible pricing model that allows users to commit to specific usages at discounted prices. With AWS Savings Plans, users pay a fixed hourly rate for a period of either one or three years.
There are two types of Savings Plans:
- EC2 Savings Plans
The EC2 Savings Plans apply to instances with a specific region and provide higher discounts of up to 72 percent. They are ideal for fixed applications that are unlikely to change over time.
- Compute Savings Plans
Compute Savings Plans allows you to purchase an amount of compute time for EC2 instances, Lambda, and Fargate. They offer more flexibility and are ideal for large organizations whose demand for resources keeps changing.
AWS Savings Plans provide an easy way to reduce cloud bills. They offer significant savings provided you commit to a one- or three-year term.
The Bottom Line
The big question is: How much does AWS EC2 cost? The answer depends on many factors. All prices are estimates, and it may be difficult to know what you’ll use and how much you’ll pay.