This topic describes public bandwidth types, billing methods for network usage, and examples on how to calculate network usage fees.

Billing overview

An ECS instance can access the Internet by using the following methods:
  • Public IP address

    Public IP addresses are assigned by the system. You are not charged to retain public IP addresses, but are charged only for the outbound public bandwidth. Two billing methods for network usage are available: pay-by-bandwidth and pay-by-traffic.

  • Elastic IP address (EIP)

    EIPs are public IP addresses that you can purchase and use independently. Only VPC-type instances support EIPs. For information about the billing details of EIPs, see Billing.

  • NAT gateway

    NAT gateways are Internet gateways that can be purchased independently. For information about the billing details of NAT gateways, see Billing.

This topic describes how to use public IP addresses to access the Internet and the billing methods for network usage. After an ECS instance is assigned a public IP address, you can use the instance to access the Internet and receive requests from the Internet. The following table describes the related public bandwidth types.
Public bandwidth type Charged Description Example
outbound bandwidth Yes Bandwidth for traffic from ECS instances to the Internet FTP clients download resources from ECS instances by using public IP addresses.
inbound bandwidth No Bandwidth for traffic from the Internet to ECS instances FTP clients upload resources to ECS instances by using public IP addresses.
Note Alibaba Cloud does not charge any fees for internal bandwidth usage. Within the same region, no fees are charged for traffic generated when ECS instances communicate with other ECS instances or other Alibaba Cloud services by using private IP addresses. For example, communication between Alibaba Cloud services that belong to the same VPC is free of charge. If an ECS instance communicates with other Alibaba Cloud services over the Internet, the outbound bandwidth is charged. For example, you are charged for communication between an instance from China (Hangzhou) and an instance from China (Shanghai).

For information about the limits on the public bandwidth of ECS instances, see Limits.

Billing methods

Two billing methods for network usage are available: pay-by-bandwidth and pay-by-traffic.
  • Pay-by-bandwidth: You are charged based on the bandwidth that you specify. The actual outbound bandwidth does not exceed the specified bandwidth.
  • Pay-by-traffic: a pay-as-you-go billing method. You are charged for the traffic that you actually used. You must configure a peak bandwidth for outbound traffic to avoid unmanageable fees incurred by outbound traffic bursts.
    Notice When the pay-by-traffic billing method is used, the peak inbound and outbound bandwidths are both the upper limits of bandwidths and for reference only. In the event of resource contention, these peak bandwidths cannot be guaranteed. If you want guaranteed bandwidths for your instance, use the pay-by-bandwidth billing method.
Note You can also purchase a data transfer plan to offset the network traffic fees. For more information, see Data Transfer Plan.
The pricing of bandwidth varies based on regions. For more information, see the Pricing tab on the Elastic Compute Service page. The following table describes the billing methods for network usage and their relationship with billing methods of ECS instances.
Billing method for network usage Billing method of ECS instances Billing rule for network usage
Pay-by-bandwidth Subscription You must pay for the bandwidth and subscription duration that you purchased in advance. The bandwidth (Mbit/s) is charged based on a tiered billing system. Unit: USD/month.
  • 1‒5 Mbit/s: Each bandwidth value corresponds to a unit price.
  • ≥ 6 Mbit/s: You are charged based on a Mbit/s basis.
Pay-as-you-go Bandwidth bills are accurate to the second. The bills are generated on the hour every hour. The bandwidth (Mbit/s) is charged based on a tiered billing system. Unit: USD/hour.
  • 1‒5 Mbit/s: Each bandwidth value corresponds to a unit price.
  • ≥ 6 Mbit/s: You are charged based on a Mbit/s basis.
Pay-by-traffic Subscription and pay-as-you-go The bills are generated on the hour every hour. You are charged based on the volume of the traffic (GB) you used. Unit: USD/GB.

Billing examples

The following table describes how network usage is billed. Assume that the instances that you used are in the China (Hangzhou) region.
Note The unit price is only for reference and the prices on the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service page prevails.
Billing method for network usage Billing method of ECS instances Example of billing conditions Fee (USD)
Pay-by-bandwidth Subscription
  • Usage period: 1 month
  • Bandwidth value: 2 Mbit/s
  • Unit price for 2 Mbit/s: USD 6.8 per month
1 × 6.8 = 6.8
  • Usage period: 1 month
  • Bandwidth value: 7 Mbit/s
  • Unit price for 5 Mbit/s: USD 17 per month
  • Unit price for 6 Mbit/s or higher: USD 11.8 per month
1 × [17 + (7 - 5) × 11.8] = 40.6
Pay-as-you-go
  • Usage period: 1 month
  • Bandwidth value: 2 Mbit/s
  • Unit price for 2 Mbit/s: USD 0.012 per hour
24 × 30 × 0.012 = 8.64
  • Usage period: 1 month
  • Bandwidth value: 7 Mbit/s
  • Unit price for 5 Mbit/s: USD 0.03 per hour
  • Unit price for 6 Mbit/s or higher: USD 0.021 per hour
24 × 30 × [0.03 + (7 - 5) × 0.021] = 51.84
Pay-by-traffic Subscription and pay-as-you-go
  • Consumed traffic: 1 GB
  • Unit price: USD 0.123 per GB
  • Usage period: N/A. You are charged based on the traffic that you actually used.
1 × 0.123 = 0.123

References

You can change the billing method for network usage from pay-by-bandwidth to pay-by-traffic, or from pay-by-traffic to pay-by-bandwidth. For more information, see Change the billing method for network usage.

If the current public bandwidth cannot meet your business requirements, you can upgrade or downgrade the public bandwidth. For more information, see Overview of instance upgrade and downgrade.