How to Use Amazon’s AWS Free Usage Tier to Test Out the Cloud


Jan 29, 2018

Do a trial run with the cloud using Amazon’s AWS free usage tier for up to 12 months

While many companies are looking to test out the benefits of cloud computing, some are not quite ready to invest the necessary resources to migrate all of their data. To meet the needs of organizations in this situation and to answer common questions, Amazon now offers what they refer to as the “AWS Free Usage Tier.” It gives companies a chance to essentially “try before you buy.”

What is Amazon’s AWS free usage tier?

The AWS free usage tier allows organizations to try out the Amazon cloud – completely free – for up to 12 months. As you can imagine, there are a variety of stipulations that go along with the free usage tier, but it can be a great introduction to the cloud.

While many of Amazon’s cloud services offer free tiers for up to 12 months, the easiest and most popular is likely Amazon EC2, which gives users up to 750 hours per month of compute capacity in the cloud for up to 12 months. This allows you to test out whether the move will be beneficial for your organization by rolling out a cloud instance on the operating system of your choice.

Other AWS free tier options

The following are just a few of the free services offered through the AWS free tier:

Amazon QuickSight – Gain access to enterprise level, cloud-powered analytics services at a fraction of the cost of traditional Business Intelligence solutions. Users have access to 1 GB of capacity for up to 12 months.

Amazon RDS – A fully-managed, relational-database service for SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle BYOL, and MariaDB. Users have access to 750 hours per month with the free usage tier.

AWS Lambda – A cloud-based service that runs code in response to events and automatically manages the necessary computer resources. One million free requests are available each month during the AWS free tier.

Amazon S3 – Receive 5 GB of secure and scalable object storage during the free tier.

AWS free tier FAQ

How can I qualify for the AWS free usage tier?

The AWS free usage tier is available to all new customers, which can include students, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and even Fortune 500 companies. To try out the AWS free usage tier, simply sign up for an account with AWS, activate the services you’d like to try, and place a credit card on file. Your credit card will only be charged if your services are still active when the free tier expires.

When does the AWS free tier expire?

The AWS free tier will expire 12 months from the date of when you first sign up. If your free usage expires or your use exceeds the free usage tiers, you’ll simply pay the standard, pay-as-you-go rates. Each service page details what these rates will be.

If I don’t use all of the available resources in a given month, will the balance roll over?

No. The free usage tier is simply applied to your monthly usage, and does therefore not accumulate.

How do I know how if I’ve gone over the free usage tiers?

You can login to your Account Activity page and see both current and past usage activity, as well as download Usage Reports for various date ranges.

Can I use the free usage tier in any region?

Yes, the free usage tier can be used across all AWS regions.

Are there limitations to the type of instances I can use with the AWS free usage tier?

Yes. You can use t2.micro instances running either Linux or Windows. If you upgrade to a more powerful instance, you will fall outside of the AWS free usage tier.

Interested in giving AWS a try?

If you’re interested in trying out the AWS free usage tier or expanding your usage of AWS after trying it out, you can reach out to CloudHesive for help. We’re longtime Amazon partners and have provided a variety of cloud consulting services to companies looking to migrate to AWS. To reach out to our team, simply give us a call at 800-860-2040 or fill out our online contact form.

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