AWS Free-Tier

One of the biggest perks about Amazon Web Services is their Free Tier offerings.  Basically, you can run your IT infrastructure completely in AWS free of charge, if you stay within certain limits and choose certain resources.  The free-tier offerings last for 1 full year of opening your AWS account.

Here is a listing of the resources that qualify for FREE-TIER.   AWS free-tier FAQ’s.   I put it in a neat table format for our reference:

Don’t get overwhelmed if you don’t know all of the services in this chart.  To be honest, I haven’t even used a lot of the services either.

But it’s important to understand the concept.  You can run certain AWS resources, absolutely free of charge, if you stay within the limits.

The most important resources to understand as beginners are Compute And Storage. EC2’s and S3 Buckets.

EC2-Free Tier

You can run EC2’s under free-tier for 750 hours / month.  The free-tier EC2 is the T2-MICRO instance.

You can run your EC2 instances completely for free, as long as they are the T2-MICRO instance.

AWS gives you 750 Hours / Month of Running EC2 for free.

Be careful though.  It is 750 Hours / Month TOTAL compute.  Meaning, if you are running 3 EC2 instances the entire month, that is a total compute time of:


I made the mistake of thinking that I get 750 Hours for EACH EC2 instance.  So when I see on my bill, that I’m charged for the T2-Micro free-tier, I’m scratching my head wondering why.

The hours of 750 Hrs / month is total running time for all your instances COMBINED.  When I first saw that we had 750 hours of free EC2, I calculated that there are only 720 hours in an average month, so why would they give you more hours than a month had to begin with?  Now I get why after getting hit with the bill.  750 Total Hours for ALL your running EC2 instances.  

The second subtle thing to keep in mind is that when you set up an EC2, it comes with an EBS hard drive.  Some of the AMI (machine images) have large EBS volumes.  Take for example the AWS Cognosys AMICognosys Wordpress Instance.  It is a free tier EC2 with T2-Micro, but the actual EBS volume is 127 GB, which is way above the free tier limit of 30 GB.  So your compute in this case would be free, but your storage would be billable and it would be outside of the free tier limits.

Here is some more info about the AWS free-tier.


1 Comment

  • This is a very good article and really appreciated it. However I think that you are misinforming your users slightly. You can run one EC2 Linux and one EC2 windows session concurrently for 750 hours a month each. As free tier is a test environment rather than a production environment this allocation should suffice

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