This topic provides answers to FAQ about ECS pricing.

Why can't I 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 within a Mainland China region, you must pass real-name verification.
  • The number of vCPUs that pay-as-you-go instances of your selected instance type will consume exceeds the vCPU quota of pay-as-you-go instances for your account.
  • ECS instances of the selected instance type are unavailable for purchase in 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 my pay-as-you-go instances?

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

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

The billing method cannot be changed from subscription to pay-as-you-go due to one of the following reasons:

  • The instance is in a state that does not support changing billing methods.
  • The instance is in the Expired state.
  • The instance information has changed.

If you are prompted with any of the preceding error messages, adjust the instance accordingly. If this 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 01:30:00 and release it at 02:00:00, is the instance billed for half an hour or an hour?

Pay-as-you-go instances are billed on one second increments. Settlements are made every hour on the 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 01:30:00 and release it at 02:00:00, the hour from 01:00:00 to 02:00:00 is a billing cycle and the billable time is 1,800 seconds, which is calculated by using the following formula: (30 minutes) × 60 = 1800 seconds.

Are fees still incurred after a pay-as-you-go ECS instance is stopped automatically due to an overdue payment or is manually stopped?

When the payment for a pay-as-you-go instance becomes overdue, the instance is automatically stopped and taken out of service.

You can stop a running pay-as-you-go instance in the ECS console or by calling the StopInstance operation. When the instance is stopped, its status changes to Stopped. Billing of pay-as-you-go instances in the Stopped state depends on their network types.
  • VPC: The No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected) feature takes effect on pay-as-you-go instances in VPCs. After the feature is enabled, pay-as-you-go instances in VPCs start being billed when they are created, stop being billed when they enter the Stopped state, and resume being billed when they are started again. With the feature enabled, the vCPUs, memory, and public IP addresses of a VPC-type ECS instance in the Stopped state will not incur any additional costs, but its data disks will continue to be billed. For more information, see No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected).
  • Classic network: ECS instances in classic networks will continue to be billed, even when they are in the Stopped state.

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

Your order may fail to be placed due to any of the following reasons:
  • The instance is in a state that does not support changing billing methods.
  • The instance is scheduled for an automatic release at a specific point in time and does not support changing billing methods.
  • The instance is in the Expired state.
  • The instance information has changed.
  • A change order for the instance has not been paid.

If you are prompted with any of the preceding error messages, adjust the instance accordingly.

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

After you pay for the order, the billing method of your ECS instance is changed. It takes 1 to 4 seconds to change the billing method of up to 20 instances. After the change is complete, the billing method of your instance is changed to Subscription in the console.

What can I do if the billing method 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 of the instance bandwidth change?

No, the billing method of the instance bandwidth 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 bandwidth billing method, 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 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 complete the payment for this order for the change to take effect. If you upgrade the instance before the order is paid for, the order payment cannot be completed because the instance components change and the original order amount does not meet the requirements of the new billing method. If you still need to change the billing method, you must cancel the unpaid order and place a new order.

Why can't I change a pay-as-you-go instance to a subscription one?

  • The instance belongs to your account.
  • The following instance types are not applicable:
    • Generation I: t1, s1, s2, s3, m1, m2, c1, or c2
    • Generation n1, n2, or e3
    Note For more information about these instance types, see Phased-out instance types.
  • The instance cannot be a preemptible instance.
  • There is no unpaid switch order for the instance.

    If there is an unpaid switch order, you must cancel the unpaid order and then place another order to switch the billing method.

  • Auto release is not set for the instance.

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

  • 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 has changed when payment is attempted for the order. The preceding requirement is not met. The order fails and the billing method remains unchanged. You can go to the billing center 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 ECS instances that meet 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 computing and network resources of a stopped ECS 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 can configure whether an instance enters the No Fees for Stopped Instances state by setting the Stop Mode parameter when you stop the instance. If the instance does not enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances state after it is stopped, its computing and network resources are not released.

If you need to stop and then restart an instance within the span of a few minutes, we recommend that you configure the instance not to enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances state by performing one of the following operations: call the StopInstance operation with StoppedMode set to KeepCharging, or select Retain Instance and Continue Charging After Instance Is Stopped in the Stop Instance dialog box in the ECS console.

Can ECS instances for which the OS is stopped enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances state?

No, ECS instances for which the OS is stopped cannot enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances state. Only ECS instances that are stopped in one of the following methods can enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances state:
  • By using the ECS console
  • By using ECS API

Can ECS instances that use local disks enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances state?

No, ECS instances that use local disks cannot enter the No Fees for Stopped Instances state.

When I start an instance immediately after it enters the No Fees for Stopped Instances state, the OperationConflict error is reported. Why?

When an instance enters the No Fees for Stopped Instances state, its computing resources are recycled. If you need to stop and then restart an instance within the span of a few minutes, we recommend that you set StoppedMode to KeepCharging to disallow the instance from entering the No Fees for Stopped Instances state.

When I call the StartInstance operation to start an instance in the No Fees for Stopped Instances state, the OperationDenied.NoStock error is reported. Why?

When an instance enters the No Fees for Stopped Instances state, its computing resources are recycled. If ECS instance resources are insufficient, the OperationDenied.NoStock error is reported when you attempt to start the instance. We recommend that you try again later.

I have set Stop Mode to No Charges After Instance Is Stopped when stopping an instance. When I start this instance again, its public IP address changes. How do I keep the IP address from changing?

When an instance enters the No Fees for Stopped Instances state, its public IP address is released. When the instance is started again, it is assigned a new public IP address.

To retain the original public IP address of the instance, you can convert the IP address to an Elastic IP Address (EIP) before you stop the instance. For more information, see Convert an ECS public IP address in a VPC to an Elastic IP Address and ConvertNatPublicIpToEip.
Notice After the IP address is converted to an EIP, you will be charged for the EIP while the instance is in the No Fees for Stopped Instances state. For more information, see Billing method of the EIP documentation.

Can I release ECS instances on my own?

Yes, you can manually release or schedule the automatic release of pay-as-you-go instances, but 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 appears indicating that I have already changed the billing method three times. What does this mean?

Each ECS instance can be downgraded a maximum of three times. Downgrade operations include instance specifications downgrades, 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 fees 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.

Why can't I convert my pay-as-you-go instances into subscription instances?

Pay-as-you-go instances of the following instance types cannot be converted into subscription instances:
  • 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, ensure that your pay-as-you-go instances meet the requirements to convert the billing method to subscription. For more information, see Switch the billing method from Pay-As-You-Go to Subscription.

Why can't I convert my subscription instances into pay-as-you-go instances?

Whether subscription instances can be converted to pay-as-you-go instances depends on the instance usage. Before converting subscription instances, ensure that they are in the Running or Stopped state.

Do I need to pay for Red Hat images used to create ECS instances?

Yes, you must pay for Red Hat images used 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 the numbers of cores?

Windows licenses are free of charge within Mainland China but will be charged outside Mainland China. The charges for Windows licenses vary with countries, regions, and the numbers 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 is created from the source region to the destination region.
  2. Create a custom image from the snapshot copy in the destination region.
The preceding operations may incur the following fees:
  • Fees for traffic between the two regions. Alibaba Cloud has not started charging for cross-region traffic yet. For the latest billing details, see the official Alibaba Cloud website for announcements.
  • The copied snapshot consumes snapshot capacity. For the latest snapshot billing details, see the official Alibaba Cloud website for announcements.

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 is created from 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 not receive 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 commercialized?

A certain number of free Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images are still available. However, you will need to add them to your purchase at USD 0.00 before you can use them.

My ECS instance is 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.

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 fee is 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?

No.

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 recurring 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 instance can I use a subscription image?

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

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

You cannot purchase a subscription image separately.

You can purchase a subscription image in either 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 billing cycle the same as the instance billing cycle. For more information, see Replace the system disk (non-public image).
    Note In this case, you only need to pay for the image.

How do I pay for subscription images?

Subscription images require upfront payment, and its billing cycle must be the same as that of the subscription instance where the image is used.

Image prices are set by their 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 if it is not renewed in time.

You cannot renew a subscription image separately. 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 purchasing 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, and 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 billing cycle of the ECS instance.
  • Replace a subscription image with an image of another type (such as public image, custom image, and 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. After the image is replaced, if a refund is available for Image A, 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 billing cycle of the ECS instance.

Is a fee charged for creating a custom image from a subscription image? How will created custom images be affected if their corresponding subscription images expire?

When you use a custom image created from a subscription image to create an instance or replace a system disk, you are re-ordering the subscription image on Alibaba Cloud Marketplace. Therefore, the custom image is not affected by 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, visit the Pricing page.

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

For the pricing details, visit the Pricing page.

When can I purchase Shared Block Storage?

Shared Block Storage is under public preview. During the public preview, Shared Block Storage is provided for free in all regions. After the public preview ends, Shared Block Storage supports both the subscription and pay-as-you-go billing methods.

How is an independent pay-as-you-go data disk billed?

A pay-as-you-go data disk is billed in one-second increments. Its billing cycle is one hour. Note that if your account balance is insufficient, the services of the data disk will be suspended.

The snapshots from which disks or custom images were created are retained for 15 days after a payment becomes overdue in my account. Will these snapshots continue to incur fees, adding to the amount of the overdue payment?

No, the snapshots will not continue to incur fees.

For example, your account has an overdue payment of CNY 0.1. After the 15 day retention period, snapshots that have not been used to create disks or custom images are deleted, but snapshots that have been used to create disks or custom images are retained and do not incur additional charges. When you use these retained snapshots, you do not need to pay for them again but must settle the overdue payment of CNY 0.1.

How is the public network usage of ECS instances billed?

For details, see Billing methods of Internet bandwidth.

How are the internal traffic and public traffic generated by 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 public network is charged based on the following rules:

  • Inbound traffic is free of charge. Inbound traffic refers to the traffic from the public network to ECS instances, such as traffic that occurs when you download resources from the public network to your ECS instances or when you upload resources to your ECS instances by using an FTP client.
  • Outbound traffic is charged. Outbound traffic refers to the traffic from ECS instances to the public network, such as the traffic that occurs when your ECS instances provide external access or when you download internal resources of your ECS instances by using an FTP client.

For more information about bandwidth billing, see Billing methods of Internet bandwidth.

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

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

If you select pay-by-traffic as the bandwidth billing method for your instance, you are billed based on the actual volume of outbound public traffic. To prevent traffic bursts from incurring unmanageable fees, you can set a peak bandwidth for outbound public traffic.

For more information, see Billing methods of Internet bandwidth.

How do I set an appropriate peak bandwidth for outbound public traffic when I select pay-by-traffic as the bandwidth billing method?

You can set the peak bandwidth based on your expected peak volume and adjust it as needed.

Can I adjust the set peak bandwidth?

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

Will traffic generated by my ECS instances under attack incur fees?

Fees will not be incurred for the inbound public traffic generated by your ECS instance under attack, but will be incurred for the outbound public 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 bandwidth when I purchase a subscription instance?

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

For more information about pay-by-traffic billing of bandwidth, visit the Pricing page.

How is bandwidth billed when the pay-by-traffic billing method is used?

Pay-by-traffic is a pay-as-you-go billing method based on the volume of traffic. Payments are settled every hour on the hour. To keep the service running properly, ensure that your account balance is sufficient. To prevent traffic bursts from incurring unmanageable fees, you can set a peak bandwidth for traffic.

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

Yes, you can change the bandwidth billing method from pay-by-bandwidth to pay-by-traffic by using the bandwidth downgrade feature. However, this feature can only be performed a limited number of times. For more information, see Downgrade bandwidth configurations of Subscription instances.

You can also change the bandwidth billing method by using the renewal and upgrade or downgrade feature. The new configuration does not take effect until the next billing cycle. For more information, see Renew for configuration downgrade.

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

You can adjust the peak bandwidth for traffic for your ECS instance by using the bandwidth downgrade feature at any time. After you set the peak bandwidth to a smaller value, the new value takes effect immediately. A maximum of three refunds can be made for each instance. Use caution when downgrading an instance.

If you have upgraded or downgraded a subscription instance when renewing it, you cannot upgrade or downgrade the instance again until the next billing cycle.

I upgraded or downgraded my subscription instance when renewing it. During the renewal and upgrade or downgrade process, I changed its bandwidth billing method from pay-by-traffic to pay-by-bandwidth. Why is the public bandwidth service still stopped after the bandwidth billing method is changed?

If you upgrade or downgrade your subscription instance when renewing it and change the billing method of public bandwidth during the renewal and upgrade or downgrade process, the new configuration does not take effect until the new billing cycle. Although you have paid for the new billing cycle, the pay-by-traffic public bandwidth service is stopped if your account has a payment overdue for the instance before the new billing cycle starts.

If an instance still has overdue payments, the public bandwidth service will remain stopped even after the new billing cycle starts. To keep the service running properly, ensure that your account balance is sufficient.

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

Overdue payments do not affect how subscription instances run, but the pay-by-traffic public bandwidth service is stopped, causing the ECS instance not to be able to access the public network. You can continue to use the public bandwidth service only after you settle the overdue payment. To keep the service running properly, ensure that your account balance is sufficient.

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

Yes, you will be notified by SMS. To keep the service running properly, ensure that your account balance is sufficient.

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

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

If the pay-by-traffic billing method is used for the bandwidth of my subscription ECS instance, is the public bandwidth service automatically resumed after I settle all overdue payments?

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

What is the traffic price after I change the bandwidth billing method of my subscription ECS instance from pay-by-bandwidth to pay-by-traffic?

When you change the bandwidth billing method of your subscription instance from pay-by-bandwidth to pay-by-traffic, you are billed based on the volume of traffic, and payments are deducted every hour on the hour. For pricing details, visit the Pricing page.