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Elastic Compute Service:Create an instance on the Custom Launch tab

Last Updated:Jun 03, 2024

Compared with the Quick Launch tab on the Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instance buy page, the Custom Launch tab allows you to create instances by specifying custom configurations such as the image types, instance types, storage, bandwidth, and security groups based on your business requirements. This topic describes how to create an instance on the Custom Launch tab.


  • Create an Alibaba Cloud account on the international site. For more information, see Create an account.

  • Bind your credit card or PayPal account to your Alibaba Cloud account. For more information, see Introduction to Alibaba Cloud Payment.

  • (Optional) If you want to purchase an ECS instance within the Chinese mainland, you must complete real-name verification. For more information, see the How do I complete real-name registration? section in the "FAQ about real-name registration on the Alibaba Cloud international site (" topic.


  1. Go to the ECS instance buy page.

  2. Click the Custom Launch tab.

  3. Configure parameters such as Billing Method, Region, Instance Type, and Image as needed.

    For information about each parameter on the Custom Launch tab, see the Parameters section in this topic.

  4. Before you click Create Order, check the instance configurations in the Configuration Summary section and configure parameters such as Duration on the right side of the page. Make sure that all configurations meet your business requirements.

  5. Read and select service agreements such as the ECS Terms of Service. If you already signed a service agreement, you do not need to re-sign the agreement. Follow the on-screen instructions. Then, click Create Order.

    In most cases, the system requires 3 to 5 minutes to create an instance. You can go to the Instance page in the ECS console to view the status of the instance. When the instance enters the Running state, the instance is created.


Billing Method

Billing methods affect the billing and charging rules of instances. The resource status change rules of instances vary based on the instance billing method.

Billing method




A billing method that requires you to pay for resources before you use them.



A billing method that allows you to pay for resources after you use them. The billing cycles of pay-as-you-go instances are accurate to the second. You can purchase and release instances on demand.


To reduce costs, we recommend that you use the pay-as-you-go billing method together with savings plans and reserved instances.

Preemptible Instance

A billing method that allows you to pay for resources after you use them. Compared with pay-as-you-go instances that do not have discounts, you can bid for the unused ECS capacity to create preemptible instances at discounts. Preemptible instances may be automatically released due to fluctuations in market price or insufficient resources for specific instance types.

Preemptible Instance


Regions are geographical locations where Alibaba Cloud data centers are deployed. Select a region that is close to your geographical location to reduce latency. After an instance is created, the region of the instance cannot be changed. For more information, see Regions and Zones.

Network and Zone

We recommend that you specify a virtual private cloud (VPC). VPCs are logically isolated from one another, ensure enhanced security, and support features such as Elastic IP Address (EIP), IPv6, and Elastic Network Interface (ENI).

A region consists of multiple isolated locations known as zones. A zone is a physical area with an independent network and power supply. Resources that are deployed within the same zone share the network and have minimal latency between each other. Services deployed within the same zone provide faster communication speeds, which allows for more efficient business operations.

Network type




A VPC is an isolated network dedicated for your use. You have full control over your VPC. For example, you can specify a private CIDR block and configure route tables and gateways for the VPC.

If you did not create a VPC in the selected region, skip this step. The system automatically creates a default VPC and vSwitch in the region.

Select an existing VPC and an existing vSwitch. Alternatively, click Create VPC and Create vSwitch to create a VPC and a vSwitch in the VPC console. After the VPC and vSwitch are created, go back to the ECS instance buy page and click the refresh icon to obtain the most recent list of VPCs and vSwitches.


If you want to assign an IPv6 address to the instance, select a VPC and a vSwitch that have an IPv6 CIDR block enabled.

Classic Network

Instances in the classic network are deployed in the public infrastructure of Alibaba Cloud, and are planned and managed by Alibaba Cloud.


The first time you purchase an ECS instance after June 16, 2016 12:00 (UTC +8), you cannot select the classic network.

Network types

Instances & Images

Instance types and images define the basic attributes of an instance, including basic resources such as vCPUs, memory, and operating systems.

Instance Type

Available instance types vary based on the selected region. You can go to the Instance Types Available for Each Region page to view the instance types available in each region.

You may have specific configuration requirements for the instance. For example, you may want the instance to have multiple ENIs bound, use Enterprise SSDs (ESSDs), or use local disks. In this case, make sure that the selected instance type meets your business requirements. For information about the features, supported scenarios, and specifications of instance types, see Overview of instance families.

If you set Billing Method to Preemptible Instance, configure the Instance Usage Duration and Highest Price per Instance parameters.

  • Instance Usage Duration specifies the protection period of a preemptible instance. After the protection period ends, the instance may be released due to insufficient resources or a lower bid than the market price.



    One Hour

    After a preemptible instance is created, a 1-hour protection period starts. During the protection period, the instance cannot be automatically released.


    A preemptible instance is created without a protection period. Preemptible instances without a protection period are more cost-effective than preemptible instances with a protection period.

  • Highest Price per Instance



    Use Automatic Bid

    The real-time market price of an instance type is automatically used. The price may vary but cannot exceed the pay-as-you-go price of the instance type. Automatic bidding can prevent the preemptible instance from being released due to lower bids than the market price, but cannot prevent the instance from being released due to insufficient resources.

    Set Maximum Price

    Specify a maximum price. If the real-time market price exceeds the maximum price or if resources are insufficient, the preemptible instance is released.


Images contain information required to run instances. Alibaba Cloud provides a variety of image sources for easy access to images. The following table describes the image sources.

Image source



Public Image

Public images are fully licensed base images provided by Alibaba Cloud. The images include Windows Server operating system images and mainstream Linux operating system images.


If you select a g8y, c8y, or r8y YiTian instance type and an Alibaba Cloud Linux image, you can use the application acceleration feature to improve the performance of your instance. For more information, see Booster extensions.


Custom Image

You can create a custom image or import an image as a custom image. Custom images contain initial system environments, application environments, and software configurations. This eliminates the need for repetitive manual configurations.


Shared Image

Shared images are custom images shared by other Alibaba Cloud accounts. You can use the images shared to you to create instances.

Share a custom image

Marketplace Image

The Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images are strictly reviewed and have a wide range of types. You can deploy ECS instances used in scenarios such as website building and application development with a few clicks.

Use Alibaba Cloud Marketplace images

Community Image

Community images are publicly available. Custom images can be published as community images and used by other users in the Alibaba Cloud community.

Community images


Instances provide storage capabilities based on the system disks, data disks, and Apsara File Storage NAS (NAS) file systems that are attached to the instances. ECS provides cloud disks and local disks to meet the storage requirements of different scenarios.

  • Cloud disks include ESSDs, standard SSDs, and ultra disks and can be used as system disks or data disks. For more information, see Disks.


    The billing method of a cloud disk that is created along with an instance is the same as that of the instance.

  • Local disks can be used only as data disks. If an instance type, such as an instance type of an instance family with local SSDs or a big data instance family, is equipped with local disks, information about the local disks is displayed. For more information, see Local disks.


    You cannot manually attach local disks to instances.

System Disk

System disks are used to install operating systems. The default capacity of a system disk is 40 GiB. However, the actual minimum capacity varies based on the image type. The following table describes the capacity ranges of system disks for different types of images.


System disk capacity (GiB)

Linux (excluding FreeBSD and Red Hat)

[max{20, Image size}, 2,048]


[max{30, Image size}, 2,048]

Red Hat

[max{40, Image size}, 2,048]


[max{40, Image size}, 2,048]

(Optional) Data Disk

Data disks are used to store application data. When you add a data disk, you can encrypt the disk to meet data security and regulatory compliance requirements. For information about data encryption, see Overview.


The number of data disks that can be attached to a single instance is limited. For more information, see the Block storage limits section in the "Limits" topic.

(Optional) Snapshot

A snapshot is a point-in-time backup of a disk. You can quickly import data by creating a disk from a snapshot. You can use automatic snapshot policies to periodically back up disks to prevent risks such as accidental data deletion.

Select an existing snapshot policy or click Create Automatic Snapshot Policy to create an automatic snapshot policy on the Snapshots page. For more information, see Create an automatic snapshot policy. After the automatic snapshot policy is created, go back to the ECS instance buy page and click the refresh icon to obtain the most recent list of automatic snapshot policies.


You are charged for snapshots. For information about the billing of snapshots, see Snapshots.

(Optional) NAS File System

If you have a large amount of data to share among multiple instances, we recommend that you use NAS file systems to reduce costs in data copying and synchronization.

Select an existing NAS file system or click Create File System to create a NAS file system in the Apsara File Storage NAS console. For more information, see the Create a General-purpose NAS file system in the NAS console section in the "Create a file system" topic. After the NAS file system is created, go back to the ECS instance buy page and click the refresh icon to obtain the most recent list of NAS file systems. For information about how to mount a NAS file system to an instance, see Mount NAS file systems when you purchase an ECS instance.

Bandwidths & Security Groups

You can configure bandwidth and security group settings to allow the instance to communicate with the Internet and other Alibaba Cloud resources and secure the instance in network communications.

(Optional) Public IP Address

To allow the instance to access the Internet, you must assign a public IP address to the instance. You can select Assign Public IPv4 Address when you create an instance to have a public IP address automatically assigned to the instance. Alternatively, you can configure an EIP or a Network Address Translation (NAT) gateway after an instance is created to provide Internet access for the instance. You must separately purchase an EIP and a NAT gateway. For more information, see What is an EIP? and What is NAT Gateway?

Select Assign Public IPv4 Address and specify Bandwidth Billing and Bandwidth or Peak Bandwidth.

For information about the billing of the public bandwidth, see Public bandwidth.

Bandwidth billing method



You are charged based on a specified bandwidth value. The actual outbound public bandwidth is capped at the specified bandwidth value.

  • Pay-by-bandwidth is suitable for scenarios that require stable bandwidth.

  • If your instance frequently communicates with external networks and requires long-term use of bandwidth or if the public bandwidth utilization of your instance exceeds 10%, we recommend that you select pay-by-bandwidth as the billing method for network usage.


You are charged based on the actual traffic volume. To prevent excessive fees that are caused by traffic bursts, you can specify a maximum bandwidth for outbound traffic.

  • Pay-by-traffic is suitable for scenarios in which bandwidth demands fluctuate.

  • If your instance has a public bandwidth utilization that does not exceed 10% and experiences occasional traffic spikes, we recommend that you select pay-by-traffic as the billing method for network usage.

(Optional) Select Upgrade to CDT for Data Transfer Billing. Cloud Data Transfer (CDT) provides an efficient and cost-effective method for managing public bandwidth expenses. It supports flexible billing, free data transfer quota, tiered pricing, and unified billing for multiple Alibaba Cloud services. Compared with the pay-by-traffic billing method, the CDT billing method provides specific discounts. For more information, see What is CDT?

  • CDT activation is not subject to any restrictions.

  • CDT is an out-of-the-box service and does not involve resource creation. Therefore, you are not charged for the activation or use of the CDT service. The fees that are displayed in CDT bills are incurred when other Alibaba Cloud products consume data transfer resources.

  • After CDT is activated and used to bill data transfers for Alibaba Cloud products, all existing and new pay-by-data-transfer instances are automatically billed in CDT in a centralized manner, and pay-by-bandwidth instances continue to be billed in the Alibaba Cloud products. You can choose Expenses > User Center to go to the Expenses and Costs console and click Bill Details to view the billing data in CDT.

  • Check whether you have a pay-by-data-transfer instance. If you only activate CDT but do not have a pay-by-data-transfer instance, you do not enjoy the data transfer benefits of CDT.

  • After CDT is activated, you can obtain a quota of 200 GB free Internet data transfers per month. Among the 200 GB of free Internet data transfers, 20 GB can be used in global regions (including regions in the Chinese mainland) and the other 180 GB can be used only in regions outside the Chinese mainland.

Security Group

A security group is a virtual firewall that is used to control the inbound and outbound traffic of instances in the security group. For more information, see Overview.

If the selected VPC does not have a security group, the system automatically creates a default security group. The default security group allows inbound traffic over SSH port 22, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) port 3389, and Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP). You can modify the security group configurations after the security group is created.

You can also select an existing security group or click Create Security Group to create a security group based on your business requirements. When you create a security group, you must configure Security Group Name, Security Group Type, and Open IPv4 Ports/Protocols.


For information about how to configure a security group, see Create a security group.

(Optional) ENI

ENIs include primary ENIs and secondary ENIs. Primary ENIs cannot be unbound from instances. They can be created and released only along with instances. Secondary ENIs can be bound to or unbound from instances to allow traffic to be switched between instances. To create a secondary ENI when you create an instance, click the add-nic icon and select a vSwitch to which the secondary ENI belongs.


You can bind only one secondary ENI when you create an instance. You can also create secondary ENIs and bind them to an instance after the instance is created. For information about the number of ENIs that can be bound to an instance of each instance type, see Overview of instance families.

(Optional) IPv6

After you enable IPv6, the public IPv4 address depletion issue is resolved, and a variety of devices can access the Internet.

Select Assign IPv6 Address Free of Charge. After you assign an IPv6 address, you must log on to the instance and configure an IPv6 address in the operating system to use the IPv6 address. For more information, see Configure an IPv6 address for an ECS instance.

(Optional) Management

Management settings include the Logon Credential and Tag parameters for remote connection to instances and easy retrieval and management of resources.

Logon Credential

Logon Credentials is used to securely log on to an instance. For information about how to connect to the instance, see Connection method overview.

Logon credential


Key Pair


You can use key pairs to log on to only Linux instances.

Select a username to use to log on to the instance. Then, select an existing key pair or click Create SSH Key Pair to create a key pair. After the key pair is created, go back to the ECS instance buy page and click the refresh icon to obtain the most recent list of key pairs. For more information, see Create an SSH key pair.

You can set Logon Username to root or ecs-user.


If you log on to an ECS instance as the root user, you have the highest permissions on the instance. However, security risks may arise. We recommend that you log on to the ECS instance as the ecs-user user.

Password Preset in Image


Only Custom Image and Shared Image support this authentication method.

To use the password preset in the selected image to log on to the instance, select this authentication method. If you want to select this option, make sure that your selected image has a password preset.

Custom Password

Enter and confirm a password. Then, set Logon Username.

  • For Linux instances, set Logon Username to root or ecs-user.


    If you log on to an ECS instance as the root user, you have the highest permissions on the instance. However, security risks may arise. We recommend that you log on to the ECS instance as the ecs-user user.

  • For Windows instances, a default value of administrator is used for Logon Username.

Set Later

After the instance is created, bind a key pair or reset the instance password. For more information, see Bind an SSH key pair and Reset the logon password of an instance.


Each Tag consists of a tag key and a tag value. You can add tags to resources that have identical characteristics, such as resources that belong to the same organization and resources that serve the same purpose. You can use tags to search for and manage resources in an efficient manner. For information about tags, see Tags.

Select or create tags.

(Optional) Advanced Settings

Advanced Settings include Hostname, Metadata Access Mode, and User Data. They are used to customize the information displayed or usage of the instance in the related console and operating system.



Instance Name, Description, Hostname, and Sequential Suffix

If you want to create multiple instances, you can set sequential instance names and hostnames to facilitate management. For information about how to configure sequential instance names and hostnames, see Batch configure sequential names or hostnames for multiple instances.

Instance RAM role

An ECS instance can assume an instance Resource Access Management (RAM) role to obtain the permissions of the role. Then, the instance can securely make API requests to specific Alibaba Cloud services and manage specific Alibaba Cloud resources based on the Security Token Service (STS) temporary credentials of the role.

Select an existing instance RAM role or click Create Instance RAM Role to go to the RAM console to create an instance RAM role. After the instance RAM role is created, go back to the ECS instance buy page and click the refresh icon to obtain the most recent list of instance RAM roles. For more information, see Grant ECS access to resources of other Alibaba Cloud services by using instance RAM roles.

Metadata Access Mode

ECS instance metadata contains information about instances in Alibaba Cloud. You can view the metadata of running instances and configure or manage the instances based on their metadata. For information about how to view instance metadata, see Access instance metadata.

User Data

User data can be run as scripts on ECS instance startup to automate instance configurations or be passed to ECS instances as regular data. For more information, see Instance user data.

In the User Data field, enter the user data that you prepared. If the user data is encoded in Base64, select Enter Based64-encoded Content.

Resource Group

Resource groups allow you to manage resources across regions or services based on your business requirements and manage the permissions of resource groups. For more information, see Resource groups.

Select an existing resource group, or click Create Resource Group to create a resource group in the Resource Management console. After the resource group is created, go back to the ECS instance buy page and click the refresh icon to obtain the most recent list of resource groups. For more information, see Create a resource group.

Deployment Set

Deployment sets support the high availability strategy. After you apply the high availability strategy to a deployment set, all instances in the deployment set are distributed across different physical servers to ensure business availability and implement underlying disaster recovery.

Select an existing deployment set or click Manage Deployment Sets to create a deployment set. After the deployment set is created, go back to the ECS instance buy page and click the refresh icon to obtain the most recent list of deployment sets. For more information, see Create a deployment set.

Dedicated Host

A dedicated host is a cloud host whose physical resources are exclusively reserved for a single tenant. Dedicated hosts meet strict security compliance requirements and support bring your own license (BYOL) when you migrate services to Alibaba Cloud.

Select an existing dedicated host or click Create Dedicated Host to create a dedicated host. After the dedicated host is created, go back to the ECS instance buy page and click the refresh icon to obtain the most recent list of dedicated hosts. For more information, see Create a dedicated host.

Private Pool Type

After an elasticity assurance or a capacity reservation is created, the system generates a private pool to reserve resources for a specific number of instances that have specific attributes. During the validity period of the elasticity assurance or capacity reservation, you always have access to the resources reserved in the private pool when you want to create instances. For information about Resource Advisor, see Overview.


Only pay-as-you-go instances can be created from the resources reserved by elasticity assurances or capacity reservations.

  • Open: The capacity in open private pools is given priority over public pool resources. If no capacity is available in private pools, the system attempts to use public pool resources.

  • None: The capacity in private pools is not used.

  • Targeted: The system uses the capacity of a specified private pool or an open private pool to create instances. If no resource in the specified private pool is available, instances cannot be created.

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