Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a sprawling platform packed with services that cover all kinds of business needs using all manner of technologies. But did you know Amazon also offers a Free Tier?

With AWS, pretty much any functionality you could want from an IT perspective is available ‘as a service’, meaning there are no upfront costs and you only pay for the resources you use.

What you might not realize, though, is that a significant number of AWS products can actually be used without ever putting your hand in your pocket.

In this post, we’re going to answer all your questions about AWS Free Tier to help you make the most of your business’s free AWS trial.

Is AWS free?

Unfortunately, full access to AWS tools and services isn’t free – instead, you’ll be charged based on your usage.

However, AWS does offer a Free Tier; a collection of tools and services that can be used to trial AWS completely free.

What is the AWS Free Tier?

The AWS Free Tier is a collection of over 100 AWS services that can be used for free. Whether you’re trialing products to see which is the best fit for your business, have a short-term or small-scale project on your hands, or you want to learn more about AWS and get some practical experience, you can access a big chunk of the AWS world before you need to spend a penny.

Is the AWS Free Tier really free?

The AWS Free Tier is really, truly free; you get access to a practical, valuable amount of cloud computing resources without having to pay a penny. This being said, there are limits involved for some products.

What are the AWS Free Tier limits?

Some products are free forever and have usage caps limiting how much resource you can consume per month, like AWS Service Catalog, which allocates users 1,000 free API calls per month.

Others are entirely unlimited, for example, AWS License Manager, which enables users to manage software licenses from third-party vendors across AWS and on-premises environments.

Who can use the AWS Free Tier?

Anybody can use the AWS Free Tier. It’s available to all customers, from students and professionals to SMEs and Fortune 500 companies.

It’s important to note that only one account per organization can benefit from Amazon’s Free Tier. If your account is linked to an organization already using AWS Free Tier, you’ll be charged the standard rates for the tool or service being used.

Is the AWS Free Tier available to all regions?

The AWS Free Trier is available across the 27 AWS regions.

Your overall Free Tier usage will be calculated across all regions, rather than your limits renewing for each region and availability zone.

How long does the AWS Free Tier last?

There are three types of offers on the AWS Free Tier:

  • Always Free: Available to both new and existing AWS customers forever (subject to usage caps)
  • 12 Months Free: Available to new AWS customers for one year following the creation of their AWS account—again there are some limits on usage with these products, so if you exceed these limits or if you continue to use them after 12 months, you will incur charges
  • Trials: Short-term trials are confined either to a period of time (e.g., two months) or a limited quantity of resource (e.g., 1,000 pages)

Do I need a credit card to use the AWS Free Tier?

You need to input payment details such as a credit or debit card to use the Free Tier, just in case you exceed any usage limits. As long as you don’t go over any of these limits, you won’t be charged.

How do you use the AWS Free Tier?

When you sign up for an AWS account, you’ll automatically be eligible to use the Free Tier for 12 months.  Once you’re signed up, you can go ahead and start trialing any of the Free Tier services right away.

Be sure to check what kind of offer you’re using—Always Free, 12 Months Free, or Trial—so you know what limits you need to work within in terms of both time and resource consumption. If you want to check whether your planned AWS project or usage falls within Free Tier limits, you can run it through the AWS Pricing Calculator.

To help you stay within the limits of the Free Tier, AWS sends out automatic email alerts through its AWS Budgets tool to let you know when you’ve used up 85% of your allowance. These alerts are sent for every Free Tier product you use that falls under the Always Free and 12 Months Free categories; simply opt-in through the Billing preferences section of your Billing Management Console.

You can also set custom alerts through AWS Budgets, including forecasts to let you know when you’re likely to run out of Free Tier resource.

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What’s included in the AWS Free Tier?

The AWS Free Tier makes many of AWS’s most popular products available to be utilized for free. More than 100 products and services are available on the Free Tier in some capacity, across categories like compute, storage, analytics, machine learning, and even robotics. This includes Free Tier access to AWS EC2, S3, DynamoDB and more — just take a look at the full list below!

Analytics
ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon OpenSearch Service12 Months Free750 hours per month
Amazon QuickSightFree Trial (30 days)10 GB of SPICE capacity >4 users
Amazon RedshiftFree Trial (2 months)750 hours per month
AWS Data Pipeline12 Months Free3 low-frequency preconditions
AWS GlueAlways Free1 million objects
AWS Data ExchangeAlways Free1600+ third-party data sets

Application Integration

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon MQ12 Months Free750 hours per month
Amazon SQSAlways Free1 million requests
Amazon SWFAlways Free10,000 activity tasks
AWS Step FunctionsAlways Free4,000 state transitions per month
AWS AppSync12 Months Free250,000 query or data modifications per month

Business Productivity

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon ChimeAlways FreeNone
Amazon Chime ProFree Trial (30 days)None
Amazon WorkDocsFree Trial (30 days)1TB of storage per user, >50 users
Amazon WorkSpacesFree Trial>50 users
Amazon HoneycodeAlways Free20 users, 2,500 rows/workbook

Compute

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon EC212 Months Free750 hours per month
AWS LambdaAlways Free1 million requests per month
Amazon LightsailFree Trial (3 month)750 hours
Amazon Elastic Container Registry12 Months Free500MB of storage per month
Elastic Load Balancing12 Months Free750 hours per month

Customer Engagement

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon SESAlways free62,000 outbound messages per month
Amazon Connect12 Months Free90 minutes per month

Database

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon RDS12 Months Free750 hours per month
Amazon DynamoDBAlways Free25GB of storage
Amazon ElastiCache12 Months Free750 hours
Amazon RedshiftFree Trial (2 months)750 hours per month
Amazon Database Migration ServiceAlways Free750 hours
Amazon KeyspacesFree Trial (3 months)30 million on-demand reads/writes per month
Amazon MemoryDBFree Trial (2 months)750hours, 20GB storage
Amazon KeyspacesFree Trial (30 days)750 hours, 5GB storage
Amazon NeptuneFree Trial (30 days)10 million I/O requests, 1GB storage

Developer Tools

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon CloudWatchAlways Free10 customer metrics and alarms
AWS CodeBuildAlways Free100 build minutes
AWS CodeCommitAlways Free5 active users per month
AWS CodePipelineAlways Free1 active pipeline per month
AWS X-RayAlways Free100,000 traces per month
AWS CodeArtifactAlways Free2GB of storage per month
AWS Amplify Hosting12 Months Free1,000 build minutes per month, 15GB

End User Computing

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon AppStream 2.0Free Trial40 hours

Front-end Web and Mobile

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon SNSAlways Free1 million publishes
Amazon CognitoAlways Free50,000 MAUs per month
Amazon Pinpoint12 Months Free5,000 targeted users per month
Amazon API Gateway12 Months Free1 million per month
AWS Device FarmFree Trial1,000 device minutes
Amazon Location ServiceFree Trial (3 months)500k map tiles / 200k position writes /200k position evaluations
AWS AppSync12 Months Free250,000 query or data modification operations

Game Tech

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon GameLift12 Months Free125 hours per month

Internet of Things

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
AWS Greengrass12 Months Free3 devices
AWS IoT Core12 Months Free500,000 messages per month
AWS IoT Device Management12 Months Free50 remote actions per month
AWS IoT Events12 Months Free2,500 message evaluations per month

Machine Learning

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon SageMakerFree Trial (2 months)

Several

Amazon Comprehend12 Months Free50K units of text per API per month / 5 Topic Modeling Jobs >1MB each per month
Amazon Comprehend MedicalFree Trial8.5 million characters
Amazon Lex12 Months Free10,000 text requests per month
Amazon Polly12 Months Free5 million characters per month
Amazon Rekognition12 Months Free5,000 images per month
Amazon SageMaker Ground TruthFree Trial (2 months)500 objects labeled per month
Amazon Transcribe12 Months Free60 minutes per month
Amazon Translate12 Months Free2 million characters per month
Amazon Augmented AI12 Months Free500 objects
Amazon TextractFree Trial1,000 pages per month
Amazon KendraFree Trial (30 days)750 hours
Amazon PersonalizeFree Trial (2 months)>20GB data processing per month
AWS DeepRacerFree Trial (30 days)10 hours / 5GB storage
Amazon ForecastFree Trial (2 months)>10,000 forecasts per month
AWS Fraud DetectorFree Trial (2 months)>50 compute hours month
Amazon Lookout for VisionFree Trial (3 months)10 training hours per month
Amazon Lookout for EquipmentFree Trial (1 month)250 training hours per month
Amazon Lookout for MetricsFree Trial (1 month)100 metrics
Amazon DevOps GuruFree Trial (3 Months)7,200 hours/10,000 DevOps Guru API calls

Management and Governance

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon CloudWatchAlways Free10 Custom Metrics and 10 Alarms / 1 million API Requests / 5GB of Log Data Ingestion and 5GB of Log Data Archive / 3 Dashboards with up to 50 Metrics Each per Month
AWS License ManagerAlways FreeNone
AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate12 Months Free7,500 node hours per month
AWS OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise12 Months Free7,500 node hours per month
AWS Well-Architected ToolAlways FreeNone
AWS CloudTrailAlways Free1 trail
AWS Systems ManagerAlways FreeIncludes 12 core System Manager features
AWS CloudFormationAlways Free1,000 handler operations per month
AWS Control TowerAlways FreeNone
AWS OrganizationsAlways FreeNone
AWS Resilience HubFree Trial (6 Months)Up to 3 applications
AWS Service CatalogAlways Free1,000 API calls per month

Media Services

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon Elastic Transcoder12 Months Free20 minutes of transcoding
Amazon Interactive Video Service12 Months Free100 hours of output / 5 hours of input per month

Migration and Transfer

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
AWS Database Migration ServiceAlways Free750 Hours of instance usage /50 GB of General Purpose storage
AWS Migration HubAlways FreeNone
AWS Application Discovery ServiceAlways Free1,000 applications per account
CloudEndure MigrationFree Trial (90 days)None
AWS Service CatalogAlways Free1,000 API calls per month
AWS Application Migration ServiceFree Trial (90 days)None
Migration EvaluatorAlways FreeNone

Networking and Content Delivery

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon API Gateway12 Months Free1 million calls received per month
Amazon CloudFrontAlways Free11TB of data transfer out

Robotics

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
AWS RoboMakerFree Trial (30 days)25 SU-hours

Security, Identity, and Compliance

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon GuardDutyFree Trial (30 days)None
Amazon InspectorFree Trial (15 days)None
Amazon MacieAlways Free1GB
AWS Key Management ServiceAlways Free20,000 requests per month
AWS Security HubFree Trial (30 days)None
Amazon DetectiveFree Trial (30 days)None
AWS Audit ManagerFree Trial (60 days)35,000 resource assessments per month
AWS WAF Bot ControlAlways Free10 million requests per month
Amazon CognitoAlways Free50,000 MAUs/10GB cloud sync

Serverless

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon DynamoDBAlways Free25GB of storage
AWS LambdaAlways Free1 million free requests per month
Amazon SNSAlways Free1 million publishes
Amazon API Gateway12 Months Free1 million API calls received per month
Amazon SQSAlways Free1 million requests
AWS Step FunctionsAlways Free4,000 state transitions per month
AWS AppSync12 Months Free250,000 query or data modifications per month

Storage

ProductFree Tier offer typeUsage limitations
Amazon S312 Months Free5GB of standard storage
Amazon CloudFrontAlways Free1TB of data transfer out
Amazon EFS12 Months Free5GB of storage
Amazon Elastic Block Storage12 Months Free30GB of General Purpose or Magnetic storage
Amazon Glacier (Glacier API only)Always Free10GB of data retrievals
AWS Storage GatewayAlways Free100GB per account
Amazon ECS AnywhereFree Trial (6 months)2200 hours per month

When does the AWS Free Tier expire?

AWS Free Tier offers expire at different times depending on their type. Always Free products don’t expire (though many do have resource-related upper usage limits).

Predictably, the Free Tier for any products in the 12 Months Free category expires one year from the date you sign up to AWS.

Expiry dates for Trial products on the Free Tier vary; some offer unlimited free usage for a set period of time, for example, 30 days, some offer a pre-defined amount of usage that has to be consumed within a specific time period, for example, 750 hours to be used within one month.

Do unused limits roll into the next month?

Unfortunately, usage expires at the end of each month and doesn’t accumulate. This means your limits will reset at the beginning of each month for the duration of the trial period.

How do I check my AWS Free Tier expiry date?

The easiest way to find out when your 12 months of Free Tier access expires is to check your email to find out when you initially signed up for an AWS account. Your 12 months’ of Free Tier use will expire one year from your sign-up date. You can also use the Billing Dashboard within your AWS account to see what month you signed up (it’ll be the first monthly bill on your account).

Don’t worry though, AWS will send you an email when you’re approaching the end of your free access period so you can prepare.

What happens when the AWS Free Tier expires?

When your Free Tier access expires, you’ll need to start paying on-demand rates for any resources you use going forward. If you’re happy to start paying to continue using these services, you don’t have to do anything, you’ll simply be billed monthly for your usage.

If you don’t want to incur any charges, make sure you shut down or delete any resources running on your account. You can also delete your account if you want to.

How do I upgrade from the AWS Free Tier?

If you want to keep using the services you used on the Free Tier once it’s expired, you don’t have to do anything; you’ll simply be charged a standard on-demand rate for anything you use in the future.

If you want to use a more expensive resource type than the one offered on the Free Tier, you cannot simply pay the difference. You’ll have to sign up for the service directly, circumventing the Free Tier altogether.

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