Pay-as-you-go is a billing method that allows you to use resources first and pay for them afterward. Pay-as-you-go Elastic Compute Service (ECS) resources can be purchased and released on demand and provide cost savings of 30% to 80% compared with traditional hosts. This topic describes the billing and settlement rules for pay-as-you-go ECS resources.

Overview

You are billed for pay-as-you-go resources on an hourly basis. If you have a quota agreement with Alibaba Cloud, fees are deducted only when the cumulative consumption of your account exceeds the quota. You must complete the payment at least once a month.

You can change the configurations of your pay-as-you-go ECS resources. For more information, see Change the instance type of a pay-as-you-go instance and Modify the bandwidth configurations of pay-as-you-go instances.

You can change the billing methods of your pay-as-you-go ECS resources. For more information, see Change the billing method of an instance from pay-as-you-go to subscription.

You can use one of the following methods to view the consumption details of your pay-as-you-go ECS resources:
  • For information about how fees are calculated, see Billing.
  • For information about how the ECS resource status affects the billing duration, see Billing duration.
    Note If you stop an ECS instance but do not release its resources, you continue to be charged for these resources.
  • For information about settlement, see Settlement cycle.

Applicable resources

The pay-as-you-go billing method is applicable to the following ECS resources:
  • Computing resources (vCPUs and memory)
  • Images
  • Disks
  • Public bandwidth (pay-by-bandwidth)
  • Snapshots
When you create an instance, you must configure the computing resources (vCPUs and memory), Elastic Block Storage (EBS) devices, an image, and a network type. When you create a pay-as-you-go instance, the image and disks created along with the instance use the pay-as-you-go billing method. However, you can also use a billing method for network usage.
Note After you create a pay-as-you-go instance, you can attach pay-as-you-go disks that are separately created to the instance. For more information, see Attach a data disk.

After you create a snapshot, you are immediately charged for the snapshot.

You can view the total price of the preceding resources in the lower-left part of the instance buy page in the ECS console.
  • Total indicates the total price of the following resources:
    • Computing resource (vCPUs and memory)
    • Cloud disk
    • Public bandwidth (pay-by-bandwidth)
      Note If you select pay-by-traffic as the billing method for network usage, the total price does not include the price for public bandwidth. For more information, see Public bandwidth.
  • Marketplace Image Fees indicates that you selected a paid Alibaba Cloud Marketplace image.

Billing

You are charged for pay-as-you-go resources based on their billing cycles. The billing cycle of a pay-as-you-go resource immediately begins after the resource is created. You can calculate the total fee that you must pay for a period of time based on the configurations of your choice. The following table describes the billing cycle of each ECS resource and the formula used to calculate the fee of each ECS resource.
Resource Billing cycle Formula Unit price
Computing resource (vCPUs and memory) Varies based on the number of the vCPUs of the instance type.
  • 1 vCPU: 10 minutes, with a minimum of 10 minutes
  • 2 vCPUs: 5 minutes, with a minimum of 5 minutes
  • 4 vCPUs: 2 minutes, with a minimum of 2 minutes
  • More than 4 vCPUs: 1 second
Unit price of an instance type × Billing duration For more information, see the Instance section on the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service product page.
Note Local disks are tied to specific instance types. The prices of local disks are included in the prices of corresponding instance types.
Image 1 second Unit price of an image × Billing duration You can view the price on the instance buy page of the ECS console and in Alibaba Cloud Marketplace.
Cloud disk (system disk) 1 second Unit price of a cloud disk × Disk capacity × Billing duration For more information, see System Cloud Disk Fee of the Storage section on the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service product page.
Note The prices for pay-as-you-go disks on the page are displayed in the unit of USD/100 GiB/hour. You can divide the unit price by 100 to obtain the unit price per GiB.
Cloud disk (data disk) 1 second Unit price of a cloud disk × Disk capacity × Billing duration For more information, see Data Cloud Disk Fee of the Storage section on the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service product page.
Note The prices for pay-as-you-go disks on the page are displayed in the unit of USD/100 GiB/hour. You can divide the unit price by 100 to obtain the unit price per GiB.
Public bandwidth (pay-by-bandwidth) 1 second Unit price of bandwidth × Bandwidth value × Billing duration

For more information, see Public bandwidth.

A tiered billing model is used for bandwidth. You can select a bandwidth value on the instance buy page to view the fee schedule.
Snapshot 1 hour, with a minimum of 1 hour Unit price of a snapshot × Snapshot capacity × Billing duration

For more information, see Snapshots.

For more information, see the Snapshot section on the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service product page.
Note If the billing cycle is 1 second, you are charged for resources in 1-second increments. If an hourly price is displayed, you can divide the price by 3,600 to obtain the price per second.
For example, you created a pay-as-you-go instance in the China (Qingdao) region and used this instance from 11:00:00 to 12:00:00 on August 8, 2019. The following figure shows the process of calculating the instance price.
Note The price in the following figure is for reference only. For more information about the actual price, visit the URLs in the preceding table.

Billing duration

If a pay-as-you-go instance is automatically stopped due to an overdue payment, the billing of some resources suspends. The billing resumes after you settle the overdue payment and reactivate the instance.

The following table describes the billing duration of each resource type on the premise that you have no overdue payments within your account.
Resource Billing duration
Computing resource (vCPUs and memory) The billing duration of computing resources (vCPUs and memory) is affected by the network type of the instance.
  • For an instance of the classic network type, billing begins when the instance is created and ends when the instance is released.
  • For an instance of the virtual private cloud (VPC) type, the billing duration varies based on whether the economical mode is enabled.
    • If the economical mode is disabled, billing begins when the instance is created and ends when the instance is released.
    • If the economical mode is enabled, billing begins when the instance is created and suspends when the instance is stopped in the ECS console. Billing resumes when the instance is started again in the ECS console and ends when the instance is released. For more information, see No Fees for Stopped Instances (VPC-Connected).
      Notice If you stop the instance by shutting down its operating system, the economical mode cannot be not triggered.

You can purchase reserved instances to minimize your costs. For more information, see Overview.

Image Billing begins when the instance is created and ends when the instance is released.
Cloud disk (system disk) Billing begins when the instance is created and ends when the system disk is released along with the instance.
Cloud disk (data disk) Billing begins when a data disk is created and ends when the data disk is released.
Public bandwidth (pay-by-bandwidth) Billing begins when public bandwidth (pay-by-bandwidth) is enabled and ends when public bandwidth is disabled or when the instance is released.

For information about how to disable public bandwidth, see Modify the bandwidth configurations of pay-as-you-go instances.

Snapshot Billing begins when a snapshot is created and ends when the snapshot is deleted.
Note If a pay-as-you-go instance incurs less than USD 0.01 in charges during its entire lifecycle, you are charged USD 0.01.

To prevent unexpected fees incurred when a pay-as-you-go instance is not released in a timely manner, we recommend that you enable the automatic release feature. If automatic release is enabled, billing ends when the resources are released. The automatic release time is accurate to the second.

Settlement cycle

You are billed for pay-as-you-go resources on an hourly basis. The fees for pay-as-you-go resources are paid together with those for other pay-as-you-go resources within your account. If you have a quota agreement with Alibaba Cloud, fees are deducted only when the cumulative consumption of your account exceeds the quota. If the cumulative monthly consumption of your account is less than the quota, fees are deducted on the first day of the next month.
  • If your default payment method is bank card, the quota is USD 1,000.
  • If your default payment method is PayPal or Paytm (India), the quota varies based on your ECS usage.

The system attempts to deduct fees three times: on the due date (T), day T+7, and day T+14. If the fees cannot be deducted on the due date (T), the payment becomes overdue for the corresponding instance and the system attempts to deduct the fees again on day T+7 and day T+14. If all three attempts to deduct the fees fail, the instance is stopped on day T+15 and the billing of its resources also stops.

The following state changes occur on resources after a payment becomes overdue:
  1. Within the 15 days after the payment becomes overdue, you can continue to use existing ECS resources but are not allowed to purchase new instances, upgrade instance configurations, or renew instances.
  2. Within these 15 days after the instance is stopped, you must submit a ticket to settle the overdue payment and reactivate the instance. Otherwise, the instance is released. For information about the resource status, see Resource status when an instance is stopped due to an overdue payment.
    Note An instance can be reactivated or restarted, but the two terms apply to different scenarios.
    • reactivate indicates that a pay-as-you-go instance that has entered the Expired state due to an overdue payment is restored to the Running state. After the overdue payment is settled, the instance is automatically reactivated. If the instance cannot be automatically reactivated, you can manually reactivate it. For more information, see Start an instance.
    • restart indicates that an instance in the Running state is restarted.
  3. More than 15 days after the instance is stopped, the pay-as-you-go ECS resources are released, detached or disassociated.

Resource status when an instance is stopped due to an overdue payment

Notice If you have overdue payments within your account, your instances may be stopped. The system sends you notifications about the overdue payments. We recommend that you settle the overdue payments in a timely manner to ensure that your service remains available. If you still have problems, submit a ticket.

If all three attempts to deduct fees fail, the instance is stopped. The following table describes the resource status after your instance is stopped due to an overdue payment.

Resource Within 15 days after the instance is stopped More than 15 days after the instance is stopped
Computing resource (vCPUs and memory) The computing resources (vCPUs and memory) are retained, but the instance is stopped and does not provide services.

When a pay-as-you-go instance is automatically stopped due to an overdue payment, it enters the Expired state and the billing ends. After an instance is stopped, you cannot connect to the instance or access websites deployed on the instance, and service errors may occur.

The computing resources (vCPUs and memory) are released.
Note If your computing resources (vCPUs and memory) are released due to an overdue payment, the system sends you an email notification.
Image The image is unavailable. The image is unavailable.
EBS device
  • Cloud disks and data stored on them are retained, but the cloud disks cannot be used.
  • Local disks and data stored on them are retained, but the local disks cannot be used.
Note After cloud disks or local disks become unusable, they cannot properly process I/O read/write requests. This affects how the instances to which these disks are attached run. For example, the read/write performance of applications may significantly degrade, it may take a long time to perform operations, or instances may be unexpectedly powered down, or instances cannot be restarted if they use specific operating systems.
  • Cloud disks are released and data stored on them cannot be recovered.
    Note Cloud disks (data disks) created along with pay-as-you-go instances and pay-as-you-go cloud disks (data disks) separately created on the Disks page in the ECS console are released.
  • Local disks are released and data stored on them cannot be recovered.
IP address
  • If the instance is of the classic network type, its public IP address is retained.
  • If the instance is of the VPC type, the following rules apply:
    • The public IP address is retained.
    • The elastic IP address (EIP) associated with the instance remains unchanged.
  • If the instance is of the classic network type, its public IP address is released.
  • If the instance is of the VPC type, the following rules apply:
    • The public IP address is released.
    • The EIP is disassociated from the instance.
Snapshot All snapshots are retained, but automatic snapshots cannot be created. All snapshots are deleted, except for those that were used to create cloud disks or custom images.