For AWS usage, you are billed for the support plans, and the resources you utilize.  Billing and Pricing is 16% of the Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam, so it’s imperative that you get a good grasp on the different support plans and the resource billings, as well as ways you can monitor consumption.

Support Plans

There are 5 tiers to AWS Support Plans: Basic, Developer, Business, Enterprise On-Ramp (NEW!) and Enterprise. Depending on the plan you select, you receive different support resources.

Check out the AWS Support Plans page for more information.

3 Types of Charges

There are 3 types of charges you will accrue from your AWS infrastructure:

  • Compute
  • Storage
  • Data Out

AWS has a Whitepaper entitled “How AWS Pricing Works” which outlines the pricing models of AWS, which you might want to check out.

In most cases, inbound data transfer or data transfer between AWS services within the same region does not incur fees. The more data you transfer, the less you pay per GB.

You pay hourly from the time you launch a resource until the time you terminate for compute resources (unless you have made a reservation), and for data storage and transfer, you usually pay per GB.

AWS Free Tier

AWS Free Tier provides free services that may or may not expire after 12 months. The three types of services offered in AWS Free Tier are: “free trial,” “12 months free,” and “always free.”

Cost Calculators

There are a few ways to calculate the potential or existing costs associated with your AWS Infrastructure.

  • AWS Pricing Calculator: Calculates the cost of your entire AWS infrastructure to get a monthly bill (used to be Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator and AWS Simple Monthly Calculator)
  • AWS Cost Explorer: Analyze cost and usage data to identify trends, cost drivers, and detect anomalies
  • AWS Billing Dashboard: Part of the AWS Billing Console and provides dashboard with general view of spending and usage
  • Others: Cost Explorer, AWS Cost and Usage Report, Migration Evaluator, AWS Budgets, Amazon QuickSight

Consolidated Billing

Consolidated Billing allows one Paying Account to receive bills from multiple Linked Accounts to receive one monthly bill for everything in the company’s AWS environments. The service itself is free.

Receiving one monthly bill for up to 20 linked accounts makes it easy to track charges and allocate fees to different departments, and also makes the entity eligible for volume pricing discounts. The Paying Account is an independent account that cannot access any of the resources hosted on the Linked Accounts.  It should only be used for billing, and not for deploying resources.

Consolidated Billing allows for the use of volume pricing discounts on all of the accounts.  For example, any unused reserved EC2 Instances are applied across the group, for example, so if one account has some left over, it can “share” with the other accounts.

Tagging & Resource Groups

Utilizing Tagging and Resource Groups allows an Organization to efficiently bill out resources to departments as well as keep track of who’s using what.

How Some Core AWS Services are Billed

What determines the monthly prices of some of the core AWS services?


  • Clock hours of server time
  • Machine configuration
  • Machine purchase type
  • Number of Instances
  • Load Balancing
  • Detailed monitoring
  • Auto Scaling
  • Elastic IP addresses
  • OS and software packages
  • Type of Instance (reserved or not)


  • Storage class (ie: Standard, IA, etc.)
  • Storage amount
  • Requests (GET, PUT, COPY)
  • Data transfer


  • Clock hours of server time
  • Database characteristics
  • Database purchase type
  • Number of database Instances
  • Provisioned storage
  • Additional storage
  • Requests (GET, PUT, COPY)
  • Deployment type
  • Data transfer

Generally, data IN is free, and data OUT incurs costs.

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