5 (five) AWS Pricing Models

AWS provides 5 (five) pricing models, which can help you optimize costs and plan budgets according to specific use cases. You can use one or more of these models when planning your AWS project.


AWS lets you use EC2 compute instances with on-demand pricing, and pay by the hour or by the second. This pricing model enables you to spin up instances without paying for anything in advance. You can quickly terminate these instances as needed, and pay for the resources you used. This option provides a high level of flexibility and scalability, and is ideal for new AWS users testing the environment or for unpredictable workloads. However, on-demand instances are more expensive and can quickly accumulate costs. 

Spot Instances

AWS Spot Instances can help you significantly reduce costs on computing capacity, because these instances are offered at up to 90% off the on-demand price. This model offers the largest potential cost-savings, especially when you need to scale quickly. However, spot instances can be challenging to use for some fault-sensitive workloads. A spot instance may be terminated at any time, whenever AWS needs this compute capacity. You get a two minutes warning before your instance is terminated. 

Learn more about using spot instances for production and mission-critical workloads.

Reserved Instances

Reserved Instances (RIs) pricing offers significant discounts in return for committing to use AWS for a long period of time—1 or 3 years. AWS offers several ways to pay for RIs, including no upfront, partial upfront, and all upfront. It is relatively less complex to set up and maintain RIs, compared to spot instances. However, you are billed for all reserved instances, even if you do not use all capacity.

Saving Plans

Like RIs, AWS Saving Plans offer a significant discount in return for committing to use AWS resources for a longer period of time. However,  Savings Plans let you make an hourly spend commitment, and then applies a discount rate, which is subtracted from your on-demand usage. Unlike RIs, Saving Plans are consolidated across resources, which means you can leverage several discounts across your AWS account. 

Dedicated Hosts

AWS lets you rent physical servers, which are called Dedicated Hosts. This option is considered highly secured and reliable, because you have the entire server for your private use. When renting a Dedicated Host, you do not need to do administrative tasks. AWS cleans and maintains the hardware. However, Dedicated Hosts are more expensive, and is mainly within the budget of enterprises.

Pricing Factors for 10 Popular AWS Services

Amazon pricing is extremely complex, with long tables of pricing data for each service. Pricing can also change frequently, with shifts of demands for different Amazon services. 

While it’s not possible to cover all prices and combinations in one article, below we provide a map of key Amazon services and the main factors guiding their pricing. 

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)Amazon regionStorage class—Standard, Standard-Infrequently-Accessed, Intelligent Tiering, and Glacier (archive)Data requests—priced by type of requestData transfer outside the Amazon regionAmazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)Compute instance types—these are divided into five families: General Purpose, Compute Optimized, Memory Optimized, Accelerated Computing, and Storage Optimized.Time the instance is run (billed by the second)Operating system—for Windows instances, the hourly price includes license costsPricing model—On-Demand, Reserved Instance, Spot Instance, and Savings PlansAttached storage (see EBS below)Learn more in our guide to AWS EC2 pricing
Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS)Amount and duration of storage used (GB-month)Storage used for snapshots (priced separately)Data transfer outside EC2Type of EBS volume—General Purpose SSD, Provisioned IOPS SSD, HDDI/O Operations Per Second (IOPS)—for high performance provisioned IOPS volumesAmazon Relational Database Service (RDS)Database engine—MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, Oracle, SQL ServerDeployment In single availability zone or multiple availability zonesInstance type—divided into two families, General Purpose and Memory OptimizedData transfer in GBBackup storagePricing model—On-Demand or Reserved Instance
Amazon DynamoDBCapacity model: on-demand, provisioned, or reserved capacityData storageNumber of reads/write requestsBackup and restoreUsage of global tablesData transfer outside DynamoDB, over 1GBAmazon Elastic Map/Reduce (EMR)When running on EC2 instances, pricing is an additional charge on top of the regular EC2 price. Price per hour depending on EC2 instance typeWhen running Amazon EKS, price per vCPU-hour and per GB-hour.Learn more in our guide to AWS EMR pricing
Amazon LambdaNumber of serverless function invocationsTime a function runs—priced per GB-secondMemory available to functions—priced per millisecondProvisioned concurrency—pre-loaded functions ready to accept requestsAmazon FargateNumber of virtual CPUs used per hourStorage and duration (GB-hour)Pricing model—On-Demand or Spot instancesLearn more in our guide to Fargate pricing
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS)$0.10 per hour for each Amazon EKS clusterWhen running on EC2, regular pricing for EC2 instancesWhen running on Fargate, regular pricing for Fargate appliesAmazon Elastic Container Service (ECS)When running on EC2, no additional charge for running ECSWhen running on Fargate, charges are for vCPUs and GB used until ECS tasks completeLearn more in our guide to AWS ECS pricing

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