This topic describes items related to ECS billing, including billable resources, billing methods, and payment methods.

Resource pricing

For more information about ECS resource prices, see Pricing.

Note The price of an ECS resource may vary depending on regions.

Billable resources

ECS comprises the following major components: instances, images, block storage devices, snapshots, security groups, and networks. For more information, see ECS architecture.

The following table describes billable ECS resources.
Resource Description
ECS instances You are billed based on the instance type you choose. The instance type determines the number of vCPUs and the size of memory you can use.
Images Images are classified into four types:
  • Public images
    • Windows Server images: The price is subject to the instance type you choose. For more information, see the purchase page.
    • Red Hat images: These images incur fees. For more information, see the purchase page.
    • Other public images are free of charge.
  • Marketplace images: The price is subject to the pricing standards of image providers. For information about how to use Marketplace images, see Marketplace images.
  • Custom images
    • If a custom image is obtained from a free public image or a free Marketplace image, the image fee is the fee incurred by the snapshot used to create the custom image. Snapshots are charged based on storage space usage.
    • If a custom image is obtained from a paid public image or a paid Marketplace image, the image fee is the fee incurred by the snapshot used to create the custom image. Snapshots are charged based on storage space usage. If you use a custom image to create an ECS instance, you are also charged for the image.
  • Shared images
    • If a shared image is obtained from a free public image or a free Marketplace image, it is free of charge.
    • If a shared image is obtained from a paid public image or a paid Marketplace image, you are also charged for the image if you use it to create an ECS instance.
Block storage Alibaba Cloud provides the following types of block storage devices:
  • Cloud disks

    Cloud disks are billed based on their storage capacity. You can use cloud disks as system disks or data disks.

  • Local disks

    Local disks are billed based on their storage capacity. You can use local disks only as data disks. You cannot purchase a separate local disk. Local disks created together with an ECS instance have the same billing method as the ECS instance.

    Instance families that are equipped with local disks include but are not limited to d1ne, d1, i2, i2g, i1, gn5, and ga1. For information about instance families, see Instance families.

  • Shared Block Storage

    Shared Block Storage is under free invitational review and can only be used as data disks.

Internet bandwidth An ECS instance can access the Internet by using the following methods:
  • Public IP address
    • Fixed public IP address allocated by the system
      If your instance accesses the Internet by using a fixed public IP address, the charges are as follows:
      • Retained IP addresses: Retained fixed public IP addresses do not incur fees. You are only charged for Internet bandwidth.
      • Internet bandwidth:
        • Pay-By-Bandwidth. Fees are charged by the bandwidth you specify.
        • Pay-By-Traffic. Fees are charged by the traffic you actually used.
    • Elastic IP Address (EIP)

      EIP is an independent service. For more information, see Billing of EIP. You can only associate EIPs with VPC-type ECS instances.

  • NAT Gateway

    NAT Gateway is an independent service. For more information, see Billing of NAT Gateway.

Snapshots Snapshots are billed based on the storage space usage.

Billing methods

ECS instances support two billing methods: subscription and pay-as-you-go.
  • Subscription: A prepaid method that allows you to use an instance only after you pay for it. Subscription is suitable the services that run for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, such as Web services. For more information, see Subscription.
  • Pay-as-you-go: A postpaid method in which you can pay after using the resource. Pay-as-you-go is suitable for scenarios where traffic spikes occur, such as temporary scaling, interim testing, and scientific computing. For more information, see Pay-As-You-Go.

For the difference between subscription and pay-as-you-go, see Billing method comparison.

Resource Billing method
ECS instances
  • Subscription
  • Pay-as-you-go

    If you plan to make a long-term commitment with pay-as-you-go ECS instances, you can purchase reserved instances to offset your bill. This method is more flexible and cost-effective. For more information, see Reserved instance overview. For the billing details of reserved instances, see Billing of Reserved Instances.

  • Preemptible instances

    Preemptible instances are a type of on-demand instances that reduce overall ECS instance costs. Preemptible instances may be reclaimed. You can use auto provisioning groups to alleviate the instability caused by reclaiming preemptible instances. For more information, see Auto provisioning overview.

Images
  • Subscription
  • Pay-as-you-go

Images can only be used with ECS instances. Windows-based reserved instances can be used to offset image bills.

Cloud disks
  • Subscription
  • Pay-as-you-go
The billing methods of cloud disks depend on how they are created.
  • Cloud disks created along with an ECS instance have the same billing method as the ECS instance.
  • Cloud disks created for a subscription ECS instance use the subscription billing method.
  • Cloud disks created on the Disks page of the ECS console support only pay-as-you-go.
  • Cloud disks created from snapshots support only pay-as-you-go.

You can change the billing methods of your cloud disks to suit your needs. For more information, see Convert the billing methods of cloud disks.

Internet bandwidth If your ECS instance accesses the Internet by using a fixed public IP address, the billing methods are as follows:
  • Pay-By-Bandwidth
    Fees are charged based on the bandwidth you specify. The following billing methods are supported:
    • Subscription
    • Pay-as-you-go
  • Pay-By-Traffic

    You are billed based on the traffic you actually used on an hourly basis.

You can enable Internet bandwidth when creating an ECS instance or enable Internet bandwidth by using the upgrading or downgrading function after you create an ECS instance. For more information, see Billing of Internet bandwidth.

Snapshots

Pay-as-you-go.

For more information, see Billing of snapshots.

Payment methods

You can use the following methods to pay for ECS resources.
  • Bank card
  • PayPal

    Alibaba Cloud will make pre-authorization hold to your PayPal account after your pay-as-you-go resources start incurring fees.

  • Paytm (India)

    Only for users in India. Alibaba Cloud will make pre-authorization hold to your Paytm account after your pay-as-you-go resources start incurring fees.

Note Coupons are used to offset your billing invoice before the bill is issued. It is not involved in the actual payment process.

Before purchasing ECS resources, you must bind a bank card, PayPal account, or Paytm (India) account to your Alibaba account. For more information, see Add a payment method in Account management .

To purchase ECS resources in mainland China, you must complete real-name verification. For more information, see "How can I complete real-name verification?" in Real-name verification FAQs of Account management .