This article describes the pricing, billing methods, and payment methods of an ECS instance.

Pricing

The price of an ECS instance varies according to the following:

  • Instance type, including the memory capacity and the number of CPU cores.
  • Region: The price for the same instance type varies in different regions.
  • Image: Windows images are more expensive than Linux or UNIX images for the same instance type in the same region because Microsoft charges an additional license fee for Windows images.

For more information, see Pricing.

Billing methods

Currently, ECS instances support two billing methods:

  • Subscription

    A prepaid method that allows you to use an instance only after you make the payment for it. Instance usage is billed on a monthly basis, and the billing unit is USD/month. Subscription is applicable to fixed 24/7 services, such as Web services. For more information, see Subscription.

  • Pay-As-You-Go

    A postpaid method in which you can pay after using the instance. Instance usage is billed on a minute basis, and the billing unit is USD/hour. The minimum charge for the lifecycle of an ECS instance (from creation to release) is USD 0.01. Pay-As-You-Go is applicable to scenarios where sudden traffic spikes occur, such as temporary scaling, interim testing, and scientific computing. For more information, see Pay-As-You-Go.

Functions

The functions of an ECS instance vary depending on the billing method. The following table lists the differences between Subscription and Pay-As-You-Go billing.

Function Subscription Pay-As-You-Go
Renew Supported. You can manually renew, activate auto-renewal, or renew for downgrade for your ECS instance. Not supported.
Release instances at any time Not supported. The instance will be automatically released if it is not renewed within the grace period after the instance expires. Supported. If you do not need an instance any longer, release it immediately. Otherwise, the instance is still billed even after it is stopped until it is out of service and automatically released because of overdue payment. You can enable the No fees for stopped instances (VPC-Connected) feature.
Change instance specification Supported. For more information, see Overview of configuration changes. Supported.
Upgrade bandwidth Supported. For more information, see Overview of configuration changes. Supported.
Change billing method Not supported. Supported. You can switch from Pay-As-You-Go to Subscription. For more information, see Switch from Pay-As-You-Go to subscription.
ICP Filing for instances in regions inside mainland China Supported. Not supported.
Use API to create instances Supported. Supported.

Payment methods

The payment methods of an ECS instance vary depending on the billing method.

Currently, you can use credit cards, PayPal, or coupons to pay for instances. Before you purchase an ECS instance, you must add a credit card or PayPal account to your Alibaba Cloud account.

Note
  • Subscription is a prepaid billing method. Therefore, payment by credit card, PayPal account, or coupons is supported. For more information about billing rules, see Subscription.

    To view the billing record for aSubscription instance, log on to the ECS Console and go to Billing Management > Bills > Subscription.

  • The Pay-As-You-Go billing method allows you to use instances first and then pay for the resources you have used. Payment by credit card or coupons is supported. For more information about billing rules, see Pay-As-You-Go.

    To view the billing record for aPay-As-You-Go instance, log on to the ECS Console and go to Billing Management > Bills > Pay-As-You-Go.