This topic provides answers to frequently asked questions about Elastic Compute Service (ECS) billing.

Why am I unable to purchase pay-as-you-go instances?

You may be unable to purchase pay-as-you-go instances due to one of the following reasons:

  • You have not completed real-name verification. To purchase ECS instances within a region inside mainland China, you must complete real-name verification.
  • The number of vCPUs to be consumed by the selected pay-as-you-go instance type exceeds the remaining vCPU quota for the instance type within your account.
  • Currently, resources for the selected instance type are unavailable for purchase within the selected region. Try again later or go to the ECS Instance Types Available for Each Region page to view instance types available in each region.

How are invoices issued for pay-as-you-go instances?

You can apply for invoices for your pay-as-you-go instances. A single invoice is provided based on your monthly statement. Go to the Billing Management console to apply for invoices.

How is the refundable amount for an instance configuration downgrade calculated?

Alibaba Cloud determines how to calculate the refundable amount for an instance configuration downgrade based on the payment currency specified on your order to purchase the instance.
  • If the payment currency is USD, the price difference-based method is used to calculate the refundable amount.
  • If the payment currency is a currency other than USD such as Malaysian ringgit (MYR) or Indian rupee (INR), the ratio-based method is used.

Remaining value: Alibaba Cloud linearly amortizes the value of each subscription ECS instance over its subscription period. The value of each subscription instance diminishes over time. The value that a subscription instance has is its remaining value. If you cancel the subscription for an instance that has been in use for a period of time, the remaining value of the instance can be refunded to you. For example, assume that you purchased a 30-day subscription instance at the price of USD 30. If you cancel the subscription for the instance after it has been in use for 10 days, the remaining value of the instance of USD 20 will be refunded to you.

When you used a currency other than USD to pay for the instance during purchase, the amount on the instance purchase order was converted to your payment currency at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of payment. Therefore, this exchange rate will be considered during the calculation of the instance remaining value. As opposed to the price difference-based method, the ratio-based method ensures that refunds are made based on the prevailing exchange rate at the time of payment. This prevents the amounts refunded for instance configuration downgrades from being affected by fluctuations in the exchange rate.

Note
  • Instance configuration downgrades do not change the lifecycles of instances.
  • If you have used different currencies to purchase an instance and upgrade its configurations, the instance cannot have its configurations downgraded.
The following examples demonstrate how to use the price difference-based method to calculate the refundable amounts for instance configuration downgrades:
  • Example 1: The configurations of a new instance are downgraded after it has been in use for a period of time.
    Assume that on the first day of a calendar month, you purchased a 30-day subscription instance (Instance A) at the price of USD 1/day and paid USD 30 in total. On the 11th day of the calendar month, you initiate a configuration downgrade for the instance. The price of the new instance configurations is USD 0.5/day. The refundable amount for the downgrade is calculated in the following steps:
    1. Calculate the remaining value M of Instance A.

      M = USD 30 × (30 days -10 days)/30 days = USD 20

    2. Calculate the value N of the new instance configurations.

      The instance lifecycle remains unchanged before and after the downgrade. You can use the new instance configurations only for the remaining 20 days of the instance subscription period. The following formula is used to calculate N: N = USD 0.5/day × 20 days = USD 10.

    3. Calculate the refundable amount.

      Refundable amount = M - N = USD 20 - USD 10 = USD 10

    In this example, Alibaba Cloud will refund USD 10 for the instance configuration downgrade.

  • Example 2: The configurations of a new instance were upgraded after it had been in use for a period of time, and are downgraded after another period of time.
    Assume that on the first day of a calendar month, you purchased a 30-day subscription instance (Instance B) at the price of USD 1/day and paid USD 30 in total. On the 11th day of the calendar month, you upgraded the configurations of the instance. The price of the new instance configurations was USD 2/day. You paid the price difference P between the original and new instance configurations. The following formula is used to calculate P: P = (USD 2/day - USD 1/day) × (30 days - 10 days) = USD 20. On the 21st day of the calendar month, you initiate a configuration downgrade for the instance. The price of the new instance configurations is USD 0.5/day. The refundable amount is calculated in the following steps:
    1. Calculate the remaining value M of Instance B.
      The configurations of the instance were upgraded. Therefore, the remaining value of the instance consists of the remaining value M1 from instance purchase and the remaining value M2 from the configuration upgrade. The following formulas are used to calculate M1 and M2:
      • M1 = USD 30 × (30 days -20 days)/30 days = USD 10
      • M2 = USD 20 × (20 days -10 days)/20 days = USD 10

      M = M1 + M2 = USD 20

    2. Calculate the value N of the new instance configurations.

      The instance lifecycle remains unchanged before and after the downgrade. You can use the new instance configurations for the remaining 10 days of the instance subscription period. The following formula is used to calculate N: N = USD 0.5/day × 10 days = USD 5.

    3. Calculate the refundable amount.

      Refundable amount = M - N = USD 20 - USD 5 = USD 15

    In this example, Alibaba Cloud will refund USD 15 for the instance configuration downgrade.

The following examples demonstrate how to use the ratio-based method to calculate the refundable amount in MYR for instance configuration downgrades:

  • Example 1: The configurations of a new instance are downgraded after it has been in use for a period of time.
    Assume that on the first day of a calendar month, you placed an order to purchase a 30-day subscription instance (Instance A) and the order amount was USD 30. The MYR to USD exchange rate was 1:10 at the time of your purchase, and you paid MYR 300 in total. On the 11th day of the calendar month, you initiate a configuration downgrade for the instance. The price of the new instance configurations is USD 0.5/day. The refundable amount for the downgrade is calculated in the following steps:
    1. Calculate the remaining value M of Instance A.

      M = MYR 300 × (30 days -10 days)/30 days = MYR 200

    2. Calculate the refund ratio R.

      R = (USD 1/day - USD 0.5/day)/USD 1/day = 1/2

    3. Calculate the refundable amount.

      Refundable amount = M × R = MYR 200 × 1/2 = MYR 100

    In this example, Alibaba Cloud will refund MYR 100 for the instance configuration downgrade.

  • Example 2: The configurations of a new instance were upgraded after it had been in use for a period of time, and are downgraded after another period of time.
    Assume that on the first day of a calendar month, you placed an order to purchase a 30-day subscription instance (Instance B) and the order amount was USD 30. The MYR to USD exchange rate was 1:10 at the time of your purchase. You paid MYR 300 in total. On the 11th day of the calendar month, you upgraded the configurations of instance. The price of the new instance configurations was USD 2/day. The MYR to USD exchange rate was 1:11 at the time of upgrade. You paid the price difference P between the original and new instance configurations. The following formula is used to calculate P: P = (USD 2/day - USD 1/day) × (30 days - 10 days) × 11 = MYR 220. On the 21st day of the calendar month, you initiate a configuration downgrade for the instance. The price of the new instance configurations is USD 0.5/day. The refundable amount is calculated in the following manner:
    1. Calculate the remaining value M of Instance B.
      The configurations of the instance were upgraded. Therefore, the remaining value of the instance consists of the remaining value M1 from instance purchase and the remaining value M2 from the configuration upgrade. The following formulas are used to calculate M1 and M2:
      • M1 = USD 30 × (30 days -20 days)/30 days × 10 = MYR 100
      • M2 = USD 20 × (20 days -10 days)/20 days × 11 = MYR 110

      M = M1 + M2 = MYR 210

    2. Calculate the refund ratio R.

      R = (USD 2/day - USD 0.5/day)/USD 2/day = 3/4

    3. Calculate the refundable amount.

      Refundable amount = M × R = M1 × R + M2 × R = MYR 100 × 3/4 + MYR 110 × 3/4 = MYR 157.5

    In this example, Alibaba Cloud will refund MYR 157.5 for the instance configuration downgrade.

Why is the actual refundable amount for an instance configuration downgrade less than that I expected?

If you purchased the instance at a discounted rate or if the instance price changed before the downgrade, the actual refundable amount may be less than that you expected.

For example, assume that you purchased a 30-day subscription instance at the price of USD 1/day, and that the MYR to USD exchange rate was 1:10 at the time of your purchase. You paid MYR 300 for the instance. 10 days later, you initiate a configuration downgrade for the instance, and the price of the new instance configurations is USD 0.5/day. The refundable amount is MYR 100 as calculated based on the original price of USD 1/day. However, if you purchased the instance at a discounted rate or if the instance price changed before the downgrade, the actual refundable amount is calculated based on the non-discounted or new instance price. For example, assume that the instance price has changed to USD 0.7/day before the downgrade. The refundable amount is calculated in the following steps:

  1. Calculate the remaining value M of Instance A.

    M = MYR 300 × (30 days -10 days)/30 days = MYR 200

  2. Calculate the refund ratio R.

    R = (USD 0.7/day - USD 0.5/day)/USD 1/day = 1/5

  3. Calculate the refundable amount.

    Refundable amount = M × R = MYR 200 × 1/5 = MYR 40

In this example, the actual refundable amount is MYR 40 instead of MYR 100.

What is a savings plan?

A savings plan is a discount plan that allows you to receive pay-as-you-go billing discounts in exchange for a commitment to use a consistent amount (measured in USD/hour) of resources over a one-year or three-year period. After you purchase a savings plan, the hourly bills of your pay-as-you-go instances are covered up to the amount of the plan. For more information, see Overview.

What are the advantages of savings plans?

  • Flexible in price and payment: Savings plans are available for purchase for as little as one cent and have no price limits. Savings plans can be paid in installments to minimize the impact on your cash flow.
  • Cost-effective: Savings plans can significantly reduce costs and provide discounts on pay-as-you-go resources as great as 76% off.
  • Easy to manage: A single savings plan can be applied to pay-as-you-go ECS instances or elastic container instances across different regions, instance types, and accounts.

What is the hourly commitment of a savings plan?

When you purchase a savings plan, you commit to a usage duration and an amount of expense. The hourly commitment is the minimum amount of resources (measured in USD) that you commit to use per hour. Each hour when hourly bills are generated, the charges for the amount of resources that you committed to in the savings plan are discounted. If you select the Partial Upfront payment option for your savings plan, you must pay 50% of your hourly commitment when your hourly bill is less than your hourly commitment. If you select the No Upfront payment option for your savings plan, you must pay 100% of your hourly commitment when your hourly bill is less than your hourly commitment. For information about how to select an appropriate hourly commitment, see Purchase and apply savings plans.

Each savings plan can be applied to offset discounted hourly pay-as-you-go charges up to the hourly commitment that you made to purchase the plan. Within the hourly commitment, the price of a pay-as-you-go bill is discounted first and then offset. Example:
Note The following prices are for reference only. The actual prices are displayed on the buy page.
The unit price of pay-as-you-go ecs.c5.large instances for the China (Shanghai) region is USD 0.62/hour. A discount of 57.8% off is provided for the instances after you purchase a three-year general-purpose savings plan by using the All Upfront payment option. Assume that an hourly commitment of USD 10 is specified. In this case, the number of ecs.c5.large instances to which the savings plan can be applied per hour is calculated based on the following formula: 10/(0.62 × 0.422) = 38.22.

When the number of instances to which a savings plan can be applied is not a whole number, how does the savings plan work?

Assume that your savings plan can be applied to 38.22 instances per hour. If you have 39 running instances, the hourly fees for 38 of your instances are fully covered by your savings plan. For one of your instances, 22% of the hourly fees are covered by your savings plan, and the remaining 78% of the hourly fees are paid at regular pay-as-you-go rates. If you have 38 running instances, the coverage for 0.22 instance per hour is wasted in this savings plan.

What are the types of savings plans?

Savings plans come in two types:
  • General-purpose

    General-purpose savings plans can be applied to offset the bills of pay-as-you-go ECS instances and elastic container instances. General-purpose savings plans are automatically applied to eligible pay-as-you-go instances regardless of region, instance family, instance size, and operating system.

  • ECS compute

    ECS compute savings plans can be applied only to offset the bills of pay-as-you-go ECS instances. ECS compute savings plans can be applied only to a specific instance family within a single region regardless of instance size and operating system.

General-purpose savings plans can be used more flexibly than ECS compute savings plans, but ECS compute savings plans offer higher discounts and cost savings. For more information, see Savings plan types.

What are the payment options of a savings plan?

Savings plans support three payment options: All Upfront, Partial Upfront, and No Upfront. The discount that you can obtain varies based on your specified duration and payment option. You can obtain the maximum discount when you purchase a three-year all upfront savings plan. The following combinations of different durations and payment options are ranked based on their discounts from largest to smallest: three-year partial upfront > three-year no upfront > one-year all upfront > one-year partial upfront > one-year zero upfront. For more information, see Savings plans.

Where do I view the recommendation and buy pages for a savings plan?

  • Method 1:

    You can directly access the Savings plan buy page to purchase a savings plan. You can also go to the Savings plan purchase recommendation page to obtain recommendations. Appropriate savings plans are recommended based on your selected conditions such as historical consumption of a specified period of time, savings plan type, and payment option.

  • Method 2

    Go to the ECS console. In the left-side navigation pane, choose Instances & Images > Savings Plan.

How do I query the discount offered in a savings plan?

You can go to the Discount Details page to query the discount offered in a savings plan.

How do I query the cost savings provided by a savings plan?

You can go to the Overview tab on the Savings Plan page to view the cost savings provided by a savings plan, including the total, annual, and monthly saving amounts.

Can I have multiple savings plans in effect at the same time?

Yes, you can purchase and use multiple savings plans at the same time. The system automatically selects the optimal savings plan to apply.

Can I purchase reserved instances if I have purchased savings plans?

Yes, you can purchase both reserved instances and savings plans at the same time. However, reserved instances have a higher priority than savings plans when they are applied to pay-as-you-go instances.

Can I purchase SCUs if I have purchased savings plans?

Yes, you can purchase both SCUs and savings plans at the same time. However, SCUs have a higher priority than savings plans when they are applied to pay-as-you-go instances.

Do savings plans provide reserved resources?

No, savings plans do not provide reserved resources. No resources are specified when you purchase savings plans.

Can savings plans be applied to preemptible instances?

No, savings plans cannot be applied to preemptible instances.

What happens if my savings plans expire?

When your savings plans expire, the discounts provided by your savings plans are no longer applicable. Your eligible pay-as-you-go instances are billed at their regular prices. The pay-as-you-go instances to which your savings plans have already been applied are not released. The expiration of savings plans does not affect your business.

What do I do if the billing method of an instance cannot be changed from subscription to pay-as-you-go?

You may be unable to change the billing method of an instance from subscription to pay-as-you-go due to one of the following reasons:

  • The instance is in a state that does not support changes to the billing method. For example, you have an unpaid order for the instance.
  • The instance is in the Expired state.
  • Changes to the billing method are not allowed because the instance information has been changed. For example, the bandwidth of the instance has been temporarily upgraded.

If one of the preceding errors is reported, adjust the instance accordingly. If the problem persists, submit a ticket.

Why am I prompted with an overdue payment when my subscription instances have not expired?

After you purchase subscription instances, if you use resources that are billed on a pay-as-you-go basis, such as snapshots and pay-by-traffic public bandwidth, you are charged for the resources separately from the instances. When your account balance is insufficient to pay for the due pay-as-you-go charges, the payment becomes overdue. You can view your consumption details to check whether you have outstanding pay-as-you-go bills. For more information, see View billing details.

How is the billable time of a pay-as-you-go instance calculated? For example, if I created a pay-as-you-go ECS instance at 01:30:00 of December 12, 2019 and released it at 02:00:00 of December 12, 2019, was the instance billed for a 30-minute or 1-hour period?

Pay-as-you-go instances are billed in 1-second increments. Payments are made every hour on the hour. The billable time of pay-as-you-go instances is automatically calculated. For example, if you created a pay-as-you-go instance at 01:30:00 of December 12, 2019 and released it at 02:00:00 of December 12, 2019, the hour from 01:00:00 to 02:00:00 is a billing cycle. The billable time is 1,800 seconds, which is calculated based on the following formula: (30 minutes) × 60 = 1800 seconds.

After a pay-as-you-go instance is stopped manually or due to an overdue payment, am I still charged for it?

Stopped due to an overdue payment: When a payment becomes overdue in your account, your pay-as-you-go instance is automatically stopped and billing for the instance stops. Instances do not always remain in the Stopped state after they are stopped due to overdue payments. For more information, see Pay-as-you-go.

Manually stopped: You can use the ECS console or call the StopInstance operation to stop a running pay-as-you-go instance. When the instance is stopped, it enters the Stopped state. How stopped pay-as-you-go instances are billed depends on their network types.
  • VPC: You can enable the economical mode for pay-as-you-go instances within VPCs.
    • After the economical mode is enabled, billing for pay-as-you-go instances begins when they are created, and billing for some instance resources stops when the instances enter the Stopped state and resumes when the instances are started. When a pay-as-you-go instance enters the Stopped state, the economical mode stops the billing only for the vCPUs, memory, and public IP address of the instance. Other resources such as disks and EIP of the instance continue to be billed. For more information, see No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected).
    • After the economical mode is disabled, billing for pay-as-you-go instances continues when they enter the Stopped state.
  • Classic network: Pay-as-you-go instances in the classic network are billed regardless of whether they are in the Stopped state.

What do I do if an order cannot be placed to change the billing method of an instance from pay-as-you-go to subscription?

You may be unable to place the order due to one of the following reasons:
  • The instance is in a state that does not support changes to the billing method. For example, you have an unpaid order for the instance.
  • Changes to the billing method are not allowed due to an upcoming scheduled automatic release.
  • Changes to the billing method are not allowed because the instance information has been changed.
  • A previous order to change the billing method of the instance has not been paid.

If one of the preceding errors is reported, adjust the instance accordingly.

How long after an order is paid does it take to change the billing method of an instance from pay-as-you-go to subscription?

The billing method of your instance is changed after the order is paid. It can take up to 4 seconds to change the billing method of 20 instances. After the change is complete, you can see that the billing method of your instance has been changed to Subscription in the ECS console.

What do I do if the billing method of an instance cannot be changed from pay-as-you-go to subscription?

Submit a ticket.

When I change the billing method of an instance from pay-as-you-go to subscription, does the billing method for network usage of the instance also change?

No, the billing method for network usage of the instance does not change. Only the billing method of instances and disks can be changed from pay-as-you-go to subscription. For information about how to change the billing method for network usage, see Overview of instance upgrade and downgrade.

I have an unpaid order to change the billing method of an instance from pay-as-you-go to subscription. If I upgrade the configurations of the instance, is the order still valid?

An order is created when you change the billing method of your instance from pay-as-you-go to subscription. You must pay for the order to complete the change. If you upgrade the configurations of the instance before the order is paid, the order payment cannot be completed because the instance components are different and the original order no longer matches. If you still want to change the billing method of your instance, you must cancel the unpaid order and place a new order.

Why am I unable to change a pay-as-you-go instance into a subscription one?

The pay-as-you-go instance whose billing method you want to change must meet the following requirements:
  • The instance type of the instance is not retired. For more information, see Retired instance types.
  • The instance is not a preemptible instance.
  • No unpaid orders related to the instance exist.

    If unpaid orders related to the instance exist, you must pay for the orders or cancel the orders before you change the billing method of the instance.

  • Automatic release time is not configured for the instance.

    If automatic release time is set for the instance, you must disable the automatic release configuration before you change the billing method. For more information, see Disable automatic release.

  • The instance is in the Running or Stopped state.

    Example: An order to change the billing method was placed while the ECS instance is in the Running or Stopped state. However, the instance status changes before the payment was attempted. The order fails and the billing method does not change. You can go to the Billing Management console and pay for the order when the instance is in the Running or Stopped state again.

What ECS instances support the economical mode?

The ECS instances that meet all of the following requirements support the economical mode:
  • The network type of the instances is Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).
  • The instances are pay-as-you-go or preemptible instances.
  • The instance families are not equipped with local storage.
  • The instance families are not equipped with persistent memory.

For more information, see No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected).

Can I retain the compute and network resources of a stopped pay-as-you-go instance after I enable the economical mode?

After you enable the economical mode, you still can configure whether to trigger the economical mode for a pay-as-you-go instance when you stop the instance. If the economical mode is not triggered for a pay-as-you-go instance when the instance is stopped, the compute and network resources of the instance are not released.

If you only need to stop a pay-as-you-go instance for a few minutes and then start it again, we recommend that you perform one of the following operations to stop the economical mode from being triggered: Call the StopInstance operation with StoppedMode set to KeepCharging, or set Stop Mode to Standard Stop Mode when you stop the instance from the ECS console.

Can the economical mode be triggered for ECS instances that are stopped from within their operating systems?

No, the economical mode cannot be triggered for ECS instances that are stopped from within their operating systems. After the economical mode is enabled, it can be triggered only when ECS instances are stopped by one of the following methods or factors:
  • Use the ECS console. For more information, see Stop an instance.
  • Use Alibaba Cloud CLI or SDK to call an API operation. For more information, see StopInstance.
  • Overdue payments.

Do instances that are equipped with local storage support the economical mode?

No, instances that are equipped with local storage do not support the economical mode.

When I attempted to immediately start an instance after it is stopped in economical mode, an OperationConflict error was reported. Why?

When the economical mode is triggered for an instance, the compute resources (CPUs and memory) and public IP address of the instance are recycled.

If you only need to stop a pay-as-you-go instance for a few minutes and then start it again, we recommend that you perform one of the following operations to stop the economical mode from being triggered: Call the StopInstance operation with StoppedMode set to KeepCharging, or set Stop Mode to Standard Stop Mode when you stop the instance from the ECS console.

When I called the StartInstance operation to start an instance in economical mode, an OperationDenied.NoStock error was reported. Why?

When an instance is stopped in economical mode, its compute resources are recycled. If available resources are insufficient, an OperationDenied.NoStock error is reported when you attempt to start the instance. We recommend that you try again later.

When I stopped an instance, I set Stop Mode to Economical Mode (Formerly Known as No Fees for Stopped Instances Mode). Then, the instance was stopped in economical mode. When I started the instance again, its public IP address changed. How do I prevent the IP address from changing?

When an instance is stopped in economical mode, its public IP address is recycled. When the instance is started again, it is assigned a new public IP address.

To retain the original public IP address, you can convert it into an elastic IP address (EIP) before you stop the instance. For more information, see Convert the public IP address of a VPC-type instance to an EIP and ConvertNatPublicIpToEip.
Notice After the IP address is converted into an EIP, this EIP is not released when the instance is stopped in economical mode. You are charged for this EIP. For more information about how Elastic IP addresses are billed, see Billing overview.

Can I release ECS instances on my own?

Yes, you can manually release or schedule the automatic release of pay-as-you-go instances. However, you cannot release subscription instances on your own.

If you have further questions, submit a ticket.

When I attempt to change the billing method of a disk in an instance, an error message is returned indicating that I have already changed the billing method three times. What does this mean?

Each ECS instance can have its configurations downgraded up to three times. Downgrade operations include downgrades of instance specifications, bandwidth downgrades, and the change of the disk billing method from subscription to pay-as-you-go.

Why has a pay-as-you-go bill been generated for my instance? What are the charges on the bill?

You can copy your instance ID and perform the following steps to view the bill details:
  1. Log on to the ECS console.
  2. In the top navigation bar, choose Expenses > User Center.
  3. In the left-side navigation pane, choose Spending Summary > Instance Spending Detail.
  4. Set the search criteria and click Search.

Why am I unable to change the billing method of an instance from subscription to pay-as-you-go?

Your ECS usage determines whether the billing method of your subscription instances can be changed to pay-as-you-go. Before you change the billing method of a subscription instance, make sure that the instance is in the Running or Stopped state.

Do I need to pay for Red Hat images when I use them to create ECS instances?

Yes, you must pay for Red Hat images when you use them to create ECS instances. Red Hat images are paid images. For pricing details, visit the ECS pricing page.

How are Windows licenses billed? Are they billed based on countries and numbers of cores?

Windows licenses are free of charge within regions inside mainland China but are charged in regions outside mainland China. The prices of Windows licenses vary based on countries, regions, and the number of vCPUs. For pricing details, visit the ECS pricing page.

How am I charged when I copy a custom image?

You must perform the following operations to copy a custom image:
  1. Copy the snapshot from which the custom image was created from the source region to the destination region.
  2. Create a custom image from the snapshot in the destination region.
You may be charged the following fees for the preceding operations:
  • Fees for traffic between the two regions. Alibaba Cloud does not charge you for cross-region traffic. For the latest billing details, see the official Alibaba Cloud website for announcements.
  • The new snapshot (snapshot copy) consumes snapshot storage space in the destination region. Snapshots are billed based on the storage space used. For more information, see Snapshots.

I am creating an ECS instance. Why is the total instance cost displayed when I select a custom image higher than that displayed when I select a public image?

This situation may occur in the following circumstances:
  • The custom image contains data disk snapshots. When such an image is selected, the costs of the data disks cause the total cost of the instance to be higher than that of an instance created from a public image.
  • The custom image was derived from a paid public image such as a Windows Server or RHEL image.

Are Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images refundable?

Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images support money-back guarantee within a period of time based on the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace rules. However, you are ineligible for a refund in the following situations:
  • You have deployed the purchased image to an ECS instance within the money-back guarantee period.
  • You have deployed the purchased image to an ECS instance before your application for a refund for this image is approved.
  • You can receive refunds only for images that have not been used.

Are free Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images still available after Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images are commercially available?

Free Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images are still available. However, you must purchase them at a price of USD 0.00 before you can use them.

I have an instance created from an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image. Do I need to make further payments for the image when I renew the instance or upgrade the configurations of the instance?

No, you do not need to make further payments for the image. After you purchase an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image, you can use it on instances at no additional costs.

I have an ECS instance created from an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image. After the instance is released, can I continue to use that image free of charge when I purchase a new ECS instance?

Yes, you can continue to use that image free of charge when you purchase an ECS instance.

I created an ECS instance from an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image and then created a custom image from the instance. Do I need to pay for the custom image when I use it to create an ECS instance?

Yes, you must pay the original price of the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image.

If I copy an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image that I bought to another region to create an ECS instance, do I need to pay for the image?

Yes, you must pay the original price of the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image.

I created an ECS instance from an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image and then created a custom image from that instance. If I share the custom image to Account B, does Account B need to pay for the custom image when it uses this image to create an ECS instance?

Yes, Account B must pay the original price of the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image.

Is a fee charged if I replace a system disk by using an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image or an image derived from an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image?

It depends. If the current image of your ECS instance is a different version of the replacement image, no fees are charged. Otherwise, a fee is charged.

My ECS instance is using an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image. Is a fee charged if I replace the system disk of the instance?

No, no fees are charged if you replace the system disk of the instance.

What are yearly, monthly, and weekly subscription Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images?

Yearly, monthly, or weekly subscription Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images are images that are purchased from Alibaba Cloud Marketplace and billed on a subscription basis. These images are developed and maintained by image providers, who are responsible for both pre-sales consultation and after-sales services. In this topic, these images are collectively referred to as subscription images.

On which ECS instances can I use a subscription image?

A subscription image can be used only on a subscription instance with the same subscription duration.

How do I purchase a subscription image? Can I separately purchase it?

No, you cannot separately purchase a subscription image.

You can use one of the following methods to purchase a subscription image:
  • When you create an instance, set Billing Method to Subscription, select an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image, and then specify a subscription duration by setting Duration.
    Note In this case, you must pay for both the instance and the image. The instance is created on successful payment for both the image and instance.
  • To use a subscription image on an existing subscription ECS instance, you can use the image to replace the operating system of the instance. In this case, you must select the image subscription duration based on the instance subscription duration. For more information, see Replace the operating system of an instance by using a non-public image.
    Note In this case, you need only to pay for the image.

How do I pay for subscription images?

Subscription images require payment upfront. The subscription duration of a subscription image must be the same as that of the subscription instance on which the image is used.

Image prices are set by the image providers.

Can I use a subscription image after it expires? How do I continue to use it?

When a subscription image expires, it cannot be used unless it is renewed in a timely manner.

You cannot separately renew a subscription image. If you want to continue to use the image, you must renew the image together with the corresponding ECS instance. After the image is renewed, you can continue to use it.

After I purchase a subscription image, can I request a refund if I no longer want to use it?

The image provider determines whether to make a refund. You can consult the image provider before you purchase the image.

What can I expect when a refund is made?

If a refund is available, the image provider makes the refund based on your usage.

Can a subscription image be converted into a pay-as-you-go image?

No, subscription images cannot be converted into pay-as-you-go images. This conversion feature is under development for release in the future. Stay updated on the official Alibaba Cloud website.

Can I replace a subscription image with an image of another type or vice versa? How is the fee calculated?

Yes, you can replace images when you replace system disks of ECS instances. You can make the following replacements:
  • Replace an image of another type (such as public image, custom image, or shared image) with a subscription image. After the image is replaced, the system calculates the actual cost based on the image cost and the remaining subscription duration of the ECS instance.
  • Replace a subscription image with an image of another type (such as public image, custom image, or shared image). If the image provider allows for refunds, a refund is made based on your actual usage.
  • Replace one subscription image with another subscription image. If a refund is available for the replaced image after the replacement, the refund is made based on the refund policy. The actual cost of the replacement image is calculated based on the image price and the remaining subscription duration of the ECS instance.

Is a fee charged for a custom image derived from a subscription image? How is the custom image affected if the subscription image expires?

When you use a custom image derived from a subscription image to create an instance or replace a system disk, you are re-ordering the subscription image on Alibaba Cloud Marketplace. The custom image is unaffected regardless of whether the subscription image expires.

How are you billed for ESSDs?

Enhanced SSDs support the subscription and pay-as-you-go billing methods. For more information, see the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service page.

How do I purchase a standard SSD? What are the pricing options for I/O optimized instances and standard SSDs?

For more information about pricing, see the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service page.

How is a separately purchased pay-as-you-go data disk billed?

A pay-as-you-go data disk is billed by hour. Note that if you have insufficient balance within your account, the services of the data disk is suspended.

The snapshots from which existing disks or custom images were created are retained 15 days after a payment becomes overdue. Do I continue to be charged for these snapshots, which will cause the overdue amount to increase?

No, you do not continue to be charged for the snapshots.

For example, assume that you have an overdue payment of USD 0.1. After the 15-day retention period ends, the snapshots from which no existing disks or custom images were created are deleted, whereas snapshots from which existing disks or custom images were created are retained and no longer billed. To use these retained snapshots, you need only to settle the overdue payment.

How am I billed for the network usage of ECS instances?

For more information about billing for the network usage of ECS instances, see Public bandwidth.

How is the inbound and outbound traffic of pay-as-you-go instances billed?

Traffic between ECS instances or between ECS instances and other Alibaba Cloud services within the same VPC is free of charge. Traffic between ECS instances and the Internet is billed based on the following rules:

  • Inbound Internet traffic is free of charge. Inbound Internet traffic refers to traffic from the Internet to ECS instances, such as traffic generated when you download resources from the Internet to your ECS instances or when your users upload resources to your ECS instances by using an FTP client.
  • Outbound Internet traffic is billed. Outbound Internet traffic refers to traffic from ECS instances to the Internet, such as traffic generated when your ECS instances provide external access or when your users download internal resources from your ECS instances by using an FTP client.

For more information about bandwidth billing, see Public bandwidth.

What is the difference between the pay-by-bandwidth and pay-by-traffic billing methods?

If you select pay-by-bandwidth as the billing method for network usage, you are charged based on the specified bandwidth. Your actual outbound bandwidth will not exceed the specified bandwidth.

If you select pay-by-traffic as the billing method for network usage, you are charged based on actual data transfers. To prevent out-of-control fees caused by traffic bursts, you can set a maximum bandwidth for outbound Internet traffic.

For more information, see Public bandwidth.

Can I adjust the specified maximum bandwidth?

Yes, you can adjust the specified maximum bandwidth. For more information, see Overview of instance upgrade and downgrade.

Will I be charged for the traffic generated by ECS instances under attack?

You will not be charged for the inbound Internet traffic generated by ECS instances under attack, but will be charged for the outbound Internet traffic.

We recommend that you use Alibaba Cloud Security services such as Server Guard to reinforce the security of your ECS instances.

Can I select the pay-by-traffic billing method for network usage when I purchase a subscription instance?

Yes, you can select the pay-by-traffic billing method for network usage when you purchase a subscription instance. For more information, see Create an instance by using the wizard.

For more information about the pay-by-traffic billing method, visit the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service product page.

How am I charged when I select the pay-by-traffic billing method for network usage?

Pay-by-traffic is a pay-as-you-go billing method in which fees are charged based on the actual amount of data transferred. Payments are settled every hour on the hour. To keep services running properly, make sure that your account balance is sufficient. To prevent out-of-control fees caused by traffic bursts, you can set a maximum bandwidth for traffic.

Can I change the billing method for network usage of a subscription instance from pay-by-bandwidth to pay-by-traffic?

Yes, you can change the billing method for network usage of a subscription instance from pay-by-bandwidth to pay-by-traffic by using the bandwidth downgrade feature. However, you can make this change only a limited number of times. For more information, see Modify the bandwidth configurations of subscription instances.

You can also use the renewal and configuration downgrade feature to change the billing method for network usage. The new configurations do not take effect until the next subscription period starts. For more information, see Downgrade the configurations of an instance during renewal.

Can I adjust the maximum bandwidth for an ECS instance at any time?

Yes, you can use the bandwidth downgrade feature to adjust the maximum bandwidth for an ECS instance at any time. After you set the maximum bandwidth to a smaller value, the new value takes effect immediately. A maximum of three refunds can be made for each instance. Exercise caution when you downgrade the configurations of an instance.

If you downgraded the configurations of a subscription instance when you renewed it, you cannot upgrade or downgrade the instance configurations again until the new subscription period starts.

If the pay-by-traffic billing method is used for a subscription instance, can the instance continue to use the public bandwidth service when a payment becomes overdue due to insufficient account balance?

Overdue payments do not affect the running of subscription instances, but do cause the pay-by-traffic public bandwidth service to be stopped. After the service is stopped, the instances cannot access the Internet. You can continue to use the public bandwidth service only after you settle the overdue payment. To keep services running properly, make sure that your account balance is sufficient.

If the pay-by-traffic billing method is used for a subscription instance, will I be notified when a payment becomes overdue in my account?

Yes, you will be notified by SMS. To keep services running properly, make sure that your account balance is sufficient.

If the pay-by-traffic billing method is used for a subscription instance, can I upgrade the instance configurations after a payment becomes overdue in my account?

No, you can upgrade the instance configurations only after you settle the overdue payment.

If the pay-by-traffic billing method is used for a subscription instance, does the public bandwidth service of the instance automatically resume after I settle overdue payments?

If the public bandwidth service was stopped due to an overdue payment, the service automatically resumes when the overdue payment is settled.

How am I billed for network usage after I change the billing method for network usage of a subscription instance from pay-by-bandwidth to pay-by-traffic?

When you change the billing method for network usage of your subscription instance from pay-by-bandwidth to pay-by-traffic, you are billed for network usage based on actual data transfers. Payments are settled every hour on the hour. For pricing details, visit the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service product page.