How do I make sure I don't incur charges when I'm using the AWS Free Tier?

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I'm using the AWS Free Tier to test AWS services. I want to make sure that all the resources that I'm using are covered under the AWS Free Tier.

Short description

You can help avoid unnecessary charges when using the Free Tier by following these best practices:

  • Understand what services and resources are covered by the AWS Free Tier.
  • Monitor Free Tier usage with AWS Budgets.
  • Monitor costs in the AWS Billing console.
  • Find and terminate resources when you're done using them.

Important: The AWS Free Tier makes certain amounts and types of resources for new AWS accounts available free of charge for a one-year period. Any amounts and types of resources that aren't covered are charged at standard rates.

Resolution

Understand what services and resources are covered

Before you create any new resources, do the following:

  1. Access the list of covered services and resources at AWS Free Tier.
    Scroll down to see the Free Tier details listing.
  2. Use the filter options or search to locate a specific service.
  3. Choose the service to expand the tile and view specific usage limits.

Important: Not all AWS services are covered under Free Tier. Some services launched under the Free Tier have usage limits. If you exceed the usage limits, then you are charged at standard rates.

Use AWS Budgets to monitor your Free Tier usage

You can track your Free Tier usage with the AWS Free Tier usage alerts. These alerts notify you when your free tier usage exceeds 85 percent of your monthly limit.

To opt in to the AWS Free Tier usage alerts, do the following:

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console, and then open the Billing console.
  2. Under Preferences in the navigation pane, choose Billing preferences.
  3. Under Cost Management Preferences, select Receive AWS Free Tier Usage Alerts to opt in to Free Tier usage alerts.

Monitor your bill

Track your AWS Free Tier usage in the AWS Billing console to see how much of the AWS Free Tier that you're currently using. You can use the Top AWS Free Tier Services by Usage table to check if your current usage rate will incur charges.

Check your usage in the Billing console. Even if your resources are covered under the AWS Free Tier, you see a line item on your bill for each covered resource.

Note: Most benefits offered by the AWS Free Tier apply globally to all resources on your account, not individually to each AWS Region. Be sure to monitor your usage in all AWS Regions.

Find and terminate resources when you're done using them

To avoid incurring unexpected charges, it's a best practice to routinely check if you have active resources that you no longer need. Then, terminate these unneeded resources.

To find your active test resources, see How do I check for active resources that I no longer need on my AWS account?

To terminate your resources after testing, see How do I terminate active resources that I no longer need on my AWS account?

Related information

Using the AWS Free Tier

AWS Free Tier FAQs

Create a billing alarm to monitor your estimated AWS charges

How do I avoid future charges when I use the AWS Free Tier?

What do I need to know if my Free Tier period with AWS is expiring?

5 Comments

Is there a way to automatically block using services that would not be covered in the free tier? For a topic title "make sure I don't incur charges", I don't see content here that actually answers the question of how to make sure I don't incur charges. Why can't there be selectors/menu items that say "Not included in free tier" or simply pop-ups that warn "Are you sure you want to use this resource that is not included in the free tier". I'm following a tutorial that uses resources that a listed in the free tier, and even billing seems to show that I am using resources in the free tier (did not reach/surpass free usage hours), yet I still am getting billed. Why?

replied 10 months ago

Thank you for your comment. We'll review and update the Knowledge Center article as needed.

profile pictureAWS
MODERATOR
replied 9 months ago

aws is unfortunately not transparent about this. Surprise fees come later. The fact that he did not warn when creating the order indicates that he is exploiting this issue.

ercan
replied 8 months ago

Only Admin should be allowed to make these changes which are impacting billings / or there should be an approvals flow for the changes being made at AWS

replied 8 months ago

Thank you for your comment. We'll review and update the Knowledge Center article as needed.

profile pictureAWS
MODERATOR
replied 8 months ago