This topic describes pricing, billing items, and billing methods about ApsaraDB for RDS.

Billing items

Billing item Description Pricing
Instance Primary instances are charged. A primary instance is billed based on pay-as-you-go or subscription. For more information about the billing methods, see Billing methods.
Capacity The storage space used by a primary instance is charged. The storage space is charged using the same billing method as your primary instance, which can be pay-as-you-go or subscription.
Read-only instance (optional) Read-only instances are charged. A read-only instance is charged on an hourly basis. The hourly rate varies depending on the specification of the read-only instance.
Cloned instance (optional) A cloned instance is charged under the same pricing standards as a newly purchased primary instance.
Backup space (optional) You are charged for the storage space occupied by backup files. ApsaraDB for RDS offers a free tier of storage space for data backups and binary log backups. If your usage exceeds the free tier, the exceeded storage space is charged on an hourly basis. For more information, see View the quota of free backup space for an ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL instance.
Performance monitoring (optional)
  • Free-of-charge features: update monitoring data with a frequency of every 60 or 300 seconds.
  • Charged features: update monitoring data with a frequency of every 5 seconds. Billing method: pay-as-you-go.
SQL Explorer (SQL audit) (optional) SQL Explorer (SQL audit) is disabled by default. No fee is charged. After you enable SQL Explorer, this feature is charged on an hourly basis.

Hourly rate = Amount of consumed SQL audit log data × Unit price.

Note SQL Explorer is free of charge in ApsaraDB for RDS Enterprise.
Dedicated proxy (Optional) The dedicated proxy service is disabled by default. No fee is charged. After you enable the dedicated proxy service, this feature is charged on an hourly basis.

Billing method: pay-as-you-go.

Billing methods

ApsaraDB for RDS supports the following billing methods.

Billing method Description
  • You must make an upfront payment when you create a subscription instance.
  • We recommend that you select subscription billing for long-term use because it is more cost-effective than pay-as-you-go billing. You receive larger discounts for longer subscription periods.
  • You cannot release a subscription instance before the subscription ends.
  • Subscription billing can be converted to pay-as-you-go billing. For more information, see Switch the billing method from subscription to pay-as-you-go.
  • A pay-as-you-go instance is charged based on the actual usage. Bill statements are generated on an hourly basis, and fees are deducted from the balance of your Alibaba Cloud account.
  • We recommend that you choose pay-as-you-go billing for short-term use. You can release your pay-as-you-go instance to reduce costs when you no longer need it.
  • You can switch the billing method of an instance from pay-as-you-go to subscription. For more information, see Switch from pay-as-you-go billing to subscription billing.

Spending details

For more information about how to view the spending details of an instance, see View spending details. The spending details list the costs categorized by different billing items, such as instance specification, performance monitoring, and SQL Explorer (SQL audit).


  • Why am I charged additional fees for a subscription instance?

    The fee you pay when you purchase a subscription instance only covers the instance and its storage capacity. If you create read-only instances, enable SQL Explorer (SQL Audit) or performance monitoring, or consume more storage usage than allowed by the free tier of backup space, you must pay the additional fees incurred. For more information, see Billing methods and billable items.

  • Will I be charged for a pay-as-you-go instance that I am not using?

    Yes, your pay-as-you-go instance consumes computing and storage resources even if you are not using it, therefore you are still charged an hourly fee. If you will not use your pay-as-you-go instance for a long period of time, we recommend that you save its data and then release it.

  • Is the Internet traffic that involves inbound and outbound traffic consumed for my pay-as-you-go and subscription instances free of charge?

    Yes, all Internet traffic that involves inbound and outbound traffic consumed for your pay-as-you-go and subscription instances is free of charge.