Unlocking the Power of AWS Free Instances: What You Need to Know!

Aws Free Instances

Aws Free Instances When you first sign up for your AWS account, it's usually a pretty exciting time. You may sign into your account, take a look at all the different AWS services, and quickly get started building whatever it is you're trying to build. Many of us take some assurance in AWS, despite the fact that we pony up our credit card information, with the belief that they advertise the free tier as a way for us to easily get started and try a bunch of different AWS services at no additional cost.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions around what is exactly included in the free tier. Many people don't completely understand what it is and what you can do for free on AWS, and what you'll be charged for. Take, for instance, these examples:

I wish this was less common, but the truth is there's pretty much a Twitter thread or a Reddit post popping up almost every day about this kind of problem. So, this is what I wanted to talk about in today's article: What really is the AWS free tier? I want to explain to you, in the simplest possible layman's terms, what it is, what's included in it, the three different categories of what is inside the free tier, and how you can use it.

Finally, I want to give you some helpful resources, tips, and tricks that you can apply today to make sure that you're not getting any surprise bills. That's the agenda for today's discussion, so let's dive in and talk about the three different categories of what's included in the free tier.

Categories of AWS Free Tier:

1. Free Trial:

The free trial offers short-duration, time-bound access to a particular AWS resource that never expires. It activates once you use that specific service for the first time. These trials can vary in duration, ranging from a month to three months.

For example, Amazon Lightsail, used for launching WordPress blogs and databases, offers a clear three-month free trial. However, not all AWS services provide such clear communication about their free trial limits. It's crucial to pay attention to the settings during setup to avoid unexpected charges.

2. 12 Months Free:

This category starts from the moment you activate your AWS account, providing access to various AWS services for a year. Services like EC2 instances and RDS databases offer limited free usage during this period.

Pay close attention to configurations during setup, as selecting options outside the free tier can result in charges. For instance, choosing the multi-AZ option for RDS could deploy multiple databases, incurring costs.

3. Always Free:

Certain AWS services remain free for the lifetime of your account, subject to usage restrictions. For example, DynamoDB offers 25 gigabytes per month, Lambda provides 1 million invocations, and CloudWatch includes 10 alarms monthly. Exceeding these limits results in additional charges, typically at a low rate per unit.


Understanding the AWS Free Tier can save you from unexpected charges. Always check the specific limits and configurations when setting up services. Here are some tips to help you manage your usage effectively:

Helpful Resources and Tips:

1. AWS Free Tier Overview Tool: This tool on the AWS website provides a detailed breakdown of what's included in the free trial, 12 months free, and always free categories. Use it to ensure you're aware of any potential charges.

2. Free Tier Monitor: Under the billing section of the AWS console, this tool lets you track your usage across free tier services. Monitor your usage to avoid exceeding limits.

3. Alerting for Spending: Set up alerts using the AWS Budgets tool to notify you when you approach or exceed spending thresholds. This helps catch any unexpected costs early.

4. Never Ignore AWS Emails: Stay vigilant and read all emails from AWS regarding your account activity. Ignoring these emails can lead to increased problems and costs.

Understanding and managing your AWS Free Tier usage is essential for keeping your costs under control. By following these tips and using the provided resources, you can navigate the free tier effectively and avoid surprise bills. Happy cloud computing!

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