What is AWS Free Tier : Exploring the AWS World with the AWS Free Tier Program

For developers, students, and startups, the AWS Free Tier program is a dream come true. The program offers the perfect chance to delve into the world of AWS technologies and sharpen your hands-on experience - all at no cost! Yes, you heard that right.

The Free Tier provides free access to a limited range of AWS services, giving you the opportunity to experiment and understand the intricacies of the platform.

But why exactly do people use the AWS Free Tier program?

The AWS Free Tier program was designed with one objective in mind - to give individuals the chance to gain practical experience with AWS services, learn how they work, and understand the platform better.

What's in the AWS Free Tier basket?

The Free Tier program offers a smorgasbord of low-level services, including computing, storage, and databases, with popular services like:

  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2),

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3),

  • Amazon DynamoDB,

  • Amazon CloudWatch,

  • Amazon Simple Email Service (SES). 

However, it also provides restricted access to higher-level services like Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), Amazon Elasticsearch, and Amazon App Runner - but with varying limits and conditions. It's vital to keep a close eye on your usage to avoid incurring additional charges.

Signing Up for the AWS Free Tier: A Step-by-Step Guide

Getting started with the AWS Free Tier program is easy. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you sign up:

Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible, you must sign up for a new AWS account using a valid email address. Note that this program is not available to existing AWS customers or users who have created an AWS account in the past.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. 1

    Visit the AWS Free Tier page (https://aws.amazon.com/free/).

  2. 2

    Click on the "Create a Free Account" button.

  3. 3

    Fill in the required information, including your name, email, password, and phone number.

  4. 4

    Click on the "Sign In Using Our Secure Server" button.

  5. 5

    Verify your phone number by entering the code sent via text message.

  6. 6

    Fill in your payment information, even though you won't be charged.

  7. 7

    Click the "Create Account and Continue" button.

  8. 8

    Choose a support plan; the Free Tier includes basic support.

  9. 9

    Review the AWS Customer Agreement and complete the sign-up process.

  10. 10

    And that's it! Once you complete the sign-up process, you will have immediate access to the AWS Free Tier services.

How to Monitor Your AWS Free Tier Usage

Monitoring your usage within the AWS Free Tier is crucial to staying within the limits of the free services offered and avoiding unexpected charges. Here are a few tools and methods you can use:

  1. 1

    AWS Billing and Cost Management Dashboard: 

    This tool provides an overview of your current usage and a breakdown of costs by service, region, and resource. You can also set up billing alerts to be notified when your usage exceeds a certain amount.

  2. 2

    AWS Free Tier Monitoring Scripts:

    AWS provides several scripts that you can run in your environment to monitor usage and ensure you are staying within the limits of the Free Tier.

  3. 3

    AWS Cost Explorer: 

    This tool provides detailed usage and cost data for your AWS resources, including the cost of your Free Tier services. You can use it to see how your usage patterns affect your costs and identify ways to optimize your usage.

What are the different pricing models for the AWS Free Tier:

The AWS Free Tier offers a spectrum of pricing models, each with its own set of features and restrictions, aimed at catering to a diverse clientele - from novice AWS users to those with more sophisticated demands. The three principal pricing models are:

  • Free Usage Tier: This model grants complimentary access to select services for a limited duration, usually 12 months.

  • Ever-Present Freebies: Certain services are permanently free, although with lower usage limits as compared to the Free Usage Tier.

  • Pay-As-You-Go: With this pricing model, customers are charged based on actual service utilization, with no upfront payment necessary.

Choosing the right pricing model that aligns with your needs and business can be challenging, therefore, it's important to thoroughly compare each pricing model before making a decision.

How to know if my AWS account is free Tier: 

Are you ready to unleash the power of the cloud with Amazon Web Services (AWS)? One crucial aspect to keep in mind is whether or not your account is part of the elusive and highly coveted "Free Tier."

Don't be in the dark about your account status, let's walk through how to determine if you are among the fortunate few.

  1. 1

    First, log into the AWS Management Console using your account credentials, 

  2. 2

    Then proceed to the Billing and Cost Management Dashboard by clicking on the "Billing & Cost Management" button in the navigation bar.

  3. 3

    A quick peek in the top right corner of the dashboard should reveal whether you're eligible for the AWS Free Tier or not, indicated by a message.

  4. 4

    But what if you're not entirely sure about your account status? Fear not! Simply click on the "Free Tier" link on the dashboard and uncover the specifics of the services included and their usage limits.

  5. 5

    Still have questions or concerns? AWS Support is ready to assist you and help you understand the free tier limits and pricing. By following these steps, it's effortless to uncover if your AWS account is in the Free Tier and enjoy the free resources at your disposal.

What happens after 12 months of AWS free tier:

After a full year as an AWS Free Tier user, the time comes for bidding farewell to the gratis services and resources that have been available to you. Unfortunately, as the Free Tier period concludes, you'll be held accountable for incurring charges on any services or resources that you persist in utilizing.

Keep tabs on your account:

It's wise to keep a close eye on your account status and usage history in order to comprehend the services and resources you've been leveraging, and to gauge their cost should you opt to continue their usage beyond the Free Tier era.

Proactivity is key, as monitoring your usage and strategizing for any necessary adjustments prior to the end of the 12-month span is highly recommended.

Maximizing Your AWS Free Tier Benefits:

As a savvy user of the AWS Free Tier, you want to make the most of your available resources and build robust applications without incurring hefty expenses. So, here are some expert tips I've compiled to help you unlock the full potential of the AWS Free Tier.

  • Strategize Your Approach: 

    Before firing up any instances, it's imperative to assess the free tier limits and map out your usage plan accordingly. Failing to do so could result in unwanted overages.

  • Leverage the Free Services: 

    The AWS Free Tier offers a comprehensive range of services, ranging from computing power to storage. Don't miss the chance to avail of these services and extract maximum value from the Free Tier.

  • Monitor Your Usage: 

    Keep a vigilant eye on your usage to ensure you stay within the free tier limits. AWS has a Usage Dashboard that makes it a breeze to keep tabs on your utilization.

  • Embrace Automated Shutdowns: 

    If you require instances only for specific periods, you can configure them to shut down automatically when not in use and start again as needed. This helps you stay within the free tier limits while also obtaining the resources you need.

  • Opt for the Right Instance Type: 

    AWS provides a variety of instance types with varying costs. Choose the one that aligns with your requirements. For instance, the t2.micro instance type, which is part of the Free Tier, is perfect for low-traffic, small-scale applications.

By adhering to these tips, you'll be able to exploit the AWS Free Tier to the fullest and dodge any costly overages. Happy Cloud Computing!

Can I cancel AWS after the free trial:

Yes, indeed, you have the option to discontinue the utilization of Amazon Web Services (AWS) even after the conclusion of the complimentary trial. To achieve this, simply log into your AWS account and venture to the "Billing and Cost Management" section. 

At this point, you can either opt to completely close your account or decrease your subscription to the free tier if you desire to continue availing some AWS services, but with no monetary obligation.

It is imperative to carefully scrutinize any remaining charges before finalizing the cancellation of your account to steer clear of any unexpected expenses.


In this article, we've explored the intricacies of the AWS Free Tier program. This initiative, offered by Amazon Web Services, provides limited access to an array of their services - all at no cost for a designated duration, usually a year.

This program presents a fantastic prospect for individuals and organizations alike to test the waters with AWS and decide whether it suits their needs.

Leveraging the AWS Free Tier is an exceptional way to familiarize yourself with the platform and assess its suitability for your needs. By adhering to best practices and tips to maximize usage, you can maximize the potential of this program and be well on your way to unlocking the power of Amazon Web Services.


Is the AWS Free Tier program really free... forever?

Alas, the answer is no. The AWS Free Tier is a generous program that lasts for a full 12 months, offering eligible customers a taste of the various services available on the AWS platform. However, after the one-year mark, usage charges will start to apply.

What exactly are the AWS free tier limits?

The limits for the AWS Free Tier program vary, depending on the specific service you're interested in. For example, if you're looking to take advantage of the Amazon EC2 service, you'll have a limit of 750 hours per month. Meanwhile, with Amazon S3, you'll have a limit of 5 GB of storage.

So, what happens after 12 months of AWS Free Tier?

Once you've passed the 12-month mark, usage charges will take effect for any services that exceed the free tier limits. Keep in mind, it's important to monitor your usage regularly to avoid any unexpected charges.

What does "no free tier" mean?

If a service is not part of the AWS Free Tier program, it simply means that there's no allowance for free usage. From the moment you start using the service, you'll be charged for all usage.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of ITCertificate.org

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