This topic provides answers to commonly asked questions about 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 passed real-name verification. To purchase ECS instances in a region inside mainland China, you must pass real-name verification.
  • The number of vCPUs to be consumed by the selected pay-as-you-go instance type exceeds the relative remaining vCPU-based quota of your account.
  • Resources of the selected instance type are not available 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 will determine 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 duration. 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 of an instance after it has been in use for a certain 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 of 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 will be made based on the exchange rate at the time of payment. This prevents the amount refunded for instance configuration downgrades from being affected by exchange rate fluctuations.

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 some 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 manner:
    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. 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 have been upgraded after the instance was in use for some 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 manner:
    1. Calculate the remaining value M of Instance B.
      The configurations of the instance have been 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. 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 some 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 manner:
    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 have been upgraded after the instance was in use for some 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 have been 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 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 changes before the downgrade, the actual refundable amount is calculated based on the non-discounted or new 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 manner:

  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 can 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, the instance has an unpaid order.
  • The instance is in the Expired state.
  • The instance information has 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.

How is the billable time of a pay-as-you-go instance calculated? For example, if I create a pay-as-you-go ECS instance at 2019-12-12 01:30:00 and release it at 2019-12-12 02:00:00, is the instance billed for a period of half an hour or an hour?

Pay-as-you-go instances are billed at increments of one second. Payments are made at the top of each hour. The billable time of pay-as-you-go instances is automatically calculated. For example, if you create a pay-as-you-go instance at 2019-12-12 01:30:00 and release it at 2019-12-12 02:00:00, 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.

Will I still be charged for a pay-as-you-go instance after it is stopped either manually or due to an overdue payment?

Stopped due to an overdue payment: A pay-as-you-go instance will be automatically stopped when a payment becomes overdue for it, and stop incurring charges. Instances will not always stay in the Stopped state after they are stopped due to overdue payments. For more information, see Pay-as-you-go.

Manually stopped: You can stop a running pay-as-you-go instance from the ECS console or by calling the StopInstance operation. When the instance is stopped, its state changes to Stopped. Billing of stopped pay-as-you-go instances depends on their network types.
  • VPC: You can enable the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) feature.
    • After the feature is enabled, billing of pay-as-you-go instances in VPCs will start when the instances are created, stop when the instances enter the Stopped state, and resume when the instances are started again. When a pay-as-you-go instance enters the Stopped state, the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) feature stops only the vCPUs, memory, and public IP address of the instance from incurring charges. Other resources such as disks and EIP of the instance will continue to incur charges. For more information, No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected).
    • If the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) feature is disabled, pay-as-you-go instances continue to incur charges when they are stopped.
  • Classic network: ECS instances in the classic network will be billed regardless of whether they are in the Stopped state.

What can 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, the instance has an unpaid order.
  • 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 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 ECS instance will be changed after the order is paid. It can take up to four seconds to change the billing method of 20 instances. After the change is completed, you can see that the billing method of your instance has been changed to Subscription in the console.

What can 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, will the billing method for network usage of the instance also change?

No, the billing method for network usage of the instance will 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, will the order still be 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, you must cancel the unpaid order and place a new order.

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

The ECS instance whose billing method you want to change must meet the following requirements:
  • The instance belongs to your account.
  • The instance is of none of the following instance types:
    • Instance types in Generation I instance families: t1, s1, s2, s3, m1, m2, c1, and c2.
    • Instance types in the n1, n2, and e3 instance families.
    Note For more information about these instance types, see Phased-out instance types.
  • The instance cannot be a preemptible instance.
  • You have no unpaid order to switch the billing method of the instance.

    If you have an unpaid order to switch the billing method of the instance, you must cancel the unpaid order and then place another order to switch the billing method.

  • Automatic release is not set for the instance.

    If automatic release has been set for an instance, you must disable the automatic release configuration and then switch the billing method. For more information, see Disable automatic release.

  • The instance is in the Running or Stopped state.

    Example: An order to switch the billing method has been placed when the ECS instance is in the Running or Stopped state. However, the instance status changed when the payment was attempted. The preceding requirement is not met. 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.

To which types of ECS instances is the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) feature applicable?

The No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) feature is applicable to the ECS instances that meet all of the following requirements:
  • The network type of the instances is VPC.
  • The instances use the pay-as-you-go billing method.
  • The instances do not use local disks.

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 No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) feature?

With the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) feature enabled, you still can configure a pay-as-you-go instance to enter or not to enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state when you stop the instance. If you configure the instance not to enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state, its compute and network resources will be retained when it is stopped.

If you only need to stop an instance for a few minutes before it is restarted, we recommend that you perform one of the following operations to configure the instance not to enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state: Call the StopInstance operation with StoppedMode set to KeepCharging, or set Stop Mode to Retain Instance and Continue Charging After Instance Is Stopped when you stop the instance from the ECS console.

Can ECS instances that are stopped from within their operating systems enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state?

No, ECS instances that are stopped from within their operating systems cannot enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state. Only ECS instances that you stop by using one of the following methods can enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state:
  • Using the ECS console.
  • Using ECS API.

Can ECS instances that use local disks enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state?

No, ECS instances that use local disks cannot enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state.

When I attempted to start an instance immediately after it entered the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state, an OperationConflict error was reported. Why?

When an instance enters the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state, its compute resources (CPUs and memory) and public IP address are recycled. If you only need to stop an instance for a few minutes before it is restarted, we recommend that you set StoppedMode to KeepCharging to keep the instance from entering the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state.

When I called the StartInstance operation to start an instance in the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state, an OperationDenied.NoStock error was reported. Why?

When an instance enters the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state, its compute resources are recycled. If the inventory of resources is insufficient, an OperationDenied.NoStock error is reported when you attempt to start the instance. We recommend that you try again later.

I set Stop Mode of an instance to No Charges After Instance Is Stopped. The instance was stopped and entered the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state. When I restarted this instance, its public IP address changed. How do I prevent the IP address from changing?

When an instance enters the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state, its public IP address is released. When the instance is restarted, it is assigned a new public IP address.

To retain the original public IP address, you can convert this IP address to an Elastic IP address before you stop the instance. For more information, see Convert the public IP address of a VPC-type instance to an Elastic IP address and ConvertNatPublicIpToEip.
Notice After the IP address is converted to an Elastic IP address, you will be charged for the Elastic IP address while the instance is in the No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) state. 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 try to change the billing method of a disk in an ECS 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 only be downgraded a maximum of 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 Billing > 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 pay-as-you-go to subscription?

The billing method of instances of the following instance types cannot be changed from pay-as-you-go to subscription:
  • Instance types of Generation One: t1, s1, s2, s3, m1, m2, c1, and c2
  • Instance types in the n1, n2, and e3 instance families
Note For more information about the preceding instance types, see Phased-out instance types.

If your pay-as-you-go instances are not of the preceding instance types, make sure that the instances meet the requirements to change their billing method to subscription. For more information, see Switch the billing method from pay-as-you-go to subscription.

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, see the ECS pricing page.

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

Windows licenses are free of charge in regions inside mainland China but are charged in regions outside of mainland China. The prices of Windows licenses vary depending on countries, regions, and the number of vCPUs. For pricing details, see 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.
The preceding operations may incur the following fees:
  • Fees for traffic between the two regions. Alibaba Cloud does not currently charge for cross-region traffic. For the latest billing details, see the official Alibaba Cloud website for announcements.
  • The copied snapshot consumes snapshot capacity. Currently, snapshot capacity is billed. For more information, see Snapshot billing.

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 disks. 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 using a public image.
  • The custom image was created based on a paid public image such as Windows Server or Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

Are Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images refundable?

Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images support money-back guarantee refunds within a certain period of time based on the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace rules. However, you will be 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.

Will any free Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images be available after Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images are commercially available?

A certain number of 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.

My ECS instance was created from an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image. Do I need to make further payments when I upgrade or renew my ECS instance?

No, you do not need to make any further payments. You can use a purchased image to create as many instances as you like.

My ECS instance is created from an Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image. After my ECS 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 a new 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 the 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 that derives 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.

In which ECS instances can I use a subscription image?

A subscription image can only be used in a subscription instance with the same subscription period.

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

No, you cannot purchase a subscription image separately.

You can purchase a subscription image in one of the following ways:
  • When you create an ECS instance, set Billing Method to Subscription, select an image from Alibaba Cloud Marketplace, and then set Duration.
    Note Then, you must pay for both the instance and image. The instance is created upon successful payment for both the image and instance.
  • If you want to use a subscription image in an existing subscription ECS instance, you can use this image to replace the operating system of the instance. In this case, you must set the image subscription period to be the same as the instance subscription period. For more information, see Replace the system disk (non-public images).
    Note In this case, you only need to pay for the image.

How do I pay for subscription images?

Subscription images require payment upfront. The subscription period of a subscription image must be the same as that of the subscription instance in 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 renew a subscription image. If you want to continue using the image, you must renew the image with the corresponding ECS instance. You can resume use of the image after it is renewed.

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

The image provider will determine whether to make a refund. You can consult the image provider before your purchase the image.

What can I expect when a refund is made?

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

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

Subscription images cannot be converted to pay-as-you-go images. This function is currently 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 will calculate the actual cost based on the image cost and the remaining subscription period 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 will be made based on your actual usage.
  • Replace Subscription Image A with Subscription Image B. If a refund is available after the image is replaced, the refund will be made based on the refund policy. The actual cost of Image B will be calculated based on the image price and the remaining subscription period of the ECS instance.

Is a fee charged for a custom image created based on a subscription image? How will the custom image be affected if the subscription image expires?

When you use a custom image created based on 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 will not be affected regardless of whether the original subscription image expires.

How are enhanced SSDs billed?

Enhanced SSDs support both subscription and pay-as-you-go billing methods. For more information, see the Pricing page.

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

For pricing details, see the Pricing page.

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

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

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

No, you will 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, the snapshots from which no existing disks or custom images were created will be deleted. The snapshots from which existing disks or custom images were created will be retained, and you will not continue to be charged for these snapshots. To use these retained snapshots, you must first settle the overdue payment but you do not have to pay for the snapshots again.

How is the network usage of ECS instances billed?

For more information, see Billing methods of 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 local area network (LAN) 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 that is 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 that is 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 Billing methods of 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 the actual volume of generated traffic. To prevent out-of-control fees incurred from traffic bursts, you can set a peak bandwidth for outbound Internet traffic.

For more information, see Billing methods of public bandwidth.

Can I adjust the specified peak bandwidth?

Yes, you can adjust the specified peak 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 provided wizard.

For more information about the pay-by-traffic billing method, see the ECS pricing 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 volume of traffic. Payments are settled at the top of each hour. To keep services running properly, make sure that your account balance is sufficient. To prevent out-of-control fees incurred from traffic bursts, you can set a peak traffic bandwidth.

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 Downgrade the public bandwidth of subscription instances.

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

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

Yes, you can adjust the peak traffic bandwidth for an ECS instance at any time by using the bandwidth downgrade feature. After you set the peak traffic 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 duration 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, preventing the instances from accessing the Internet. You can continue to use the public bandwidth service only after you settle the overdue payment. To keep the service 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 will automatically resume when the overdue payment is settled.

How is traffic priced 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 the actual volume of traffic. Payments are settled at the top of each hour. For pricing details, see the ECS pricing page.