Subscription is a billing method that allows you to pay upfront for the use of resources over a period of time. This billing method offers significant savings compared with the pay-as-you-go billing method and allows you to reserve resources at discounted rates. This topic describes the billing rules for subscription Elastic Compute Service (ECS) resources.

Billing overview

The subscription billing method is suitable for the following scenarios:
  • The usage period of resources can be estimated.
  • The resource usage remains relatively flat.
  • Long-term use of resources is required.

The following table describes how to use a subscription instance.

PhaseDescription
Before you have a subscription instance to useYou must create a subscription instance. When you create a subscription instance on the Quick Launch or Custom Launch tab of the instance buy page in the ECS console, supported subscription durations are displayed on the tab.
When a subscription instance is being createdYou must pay for the instance and subscription resources involved. For more information about how prices are calculated, see the Billing examples section of this topic.
After a subscription instance is createdYou can upgrade or downgrade instance configurations or resize subscription disks that are attached to the instance. For more information, see Overview of instance configuration changes and Overview.
When an expired subscription instance continues to be usedYou must renew the instance. For more information, see Renewal overview.

Billable items

The combination of computing resources (vCPUs and memory), block storage devices, an image, and a network type uniquely determines the service form of an ECS instance. The following table describes the ECS resources that support the subscription billing method.
ResourceDescription
Computing resource (vCPUs and memory)When you create an instance, you must specify whether to use the subscription billing method.
Image The image that you select when you create a subscription instance also uses the subscription billing method.
Cloud diskCloud disks created along with a subscription instance also use the subscription billing method.

After a subscription instance is created, you can create subscription disks for the instance or attach pay-as-you-go disks that were separately created to the instance. For more information, see Create a subscription disk and Attach a data disk.

Public bandwidth (pay-by-bandwidth)If you select pay-by-bandwidth as the billing method for network usage when you create a subscription instance, the amount of public bandwidth allocated to the instance is also billed on a subscription basis. For more information, see Public bandwidth.
You can view the total price of the preceding resources in the lower part of the instance buy page in the ECS console, as shown in the following figure.
  • Total indicates the total price of the following resources:
    • Computing resource (vCPUs and memory)
    • Cloud disks
    • 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 of public bandwidth use. For more information, see Public bandwidth.
  • Image Fees: If you selected a paid image, image Fees are displayed.

You can use the ECS TCO Calculator to analyze your cloud migration costs.

Billing cycles

The billing cycle of a subscription instance is the time commitment (in UTC+8:00) that you made when you purchased the instance. The billing cycle begins at the time (accurate to the second) when the subscription instance is purchased or renewed and ends at 00:00:00 on the day after the expiration date.
Note The billing cycles of subscription resources are in the unit of calendar years or months.

Billing examples

For example, assume that you used computing resources (vCPUs and memory), an image, and a cloud disk (as the system disk) to create a one-month subscription instance at 13:00:00 on August 9, 2022. Then, assume that you manually renewed the instance for another one month. The following billing cycles apply:
  • The first billing cycle is from 13:00:00 on August 9, 2022 to 00:00:00 on September 10, 2022.
  • The second billing cycle is from 00:00:00 on September 10, 2022 to 00:00:00 on October 10, 2022.
Resources are billed separately. You must pay for the resources before you can use them. You can calculate the total price for each billing cycle based on your selected configurations. The following table describes the formulas used to calculate the fee of each resource.
ResourceFormulaUnit price
Computing resource (vCPUs and memory)Unit price of an instance type × Subscription durationFor 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 the instance types.
ImageUnit price of an image × Subscription durationYou can view the price on the instance buy page in the ECS console or in Alibaba Cloud Marketplace.
Cloud disk (system disk)Unit price of a disk × Disk capacity × Subscription durationFor more information, see the Storage section on the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service product page.
Note The prices for pay-as-you-go disks displayed on the tab are prices in USD per 100 GiB-hour. You can divide the prices by 100 to obtain the unit prices per GiB-hour.
Cloud disk (data disk)Unit price of a disk × Disk capacity × Subscription durationFor more information, see the Storage section on the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service product page.
Note The prices for pay-as-you-go disks displayed on the tab are prices in USD per 100 GiB-hour. You can divide the prices by 100 to obtain the unit prices per GiB-hour.
Public bandwidth (pay-by-bandwidth)You are charged for the bandwidth (in Mbit/s) based on a tiered billing model.
  • 1 to 5 Mbit/s: Each bandwidth value corresponds to a different unit price.
  • ≥ 6 Mbit/s: You are billed at a flat rate per Mbit/s.
A tiered billing model is used for bandwidth. You can select a bandwidth value on the instance buy page to view the fee schedule.
For example, assume that you created a three-month subscription instance in the China (Qingdao) region. The following figure shows the process of calculating the instance price.
Note The prices in the following table are for reference only. Prices on the Pricing tab of the Elastic Compute Service product page prevail.

Changes in resource states after a subscription instance expires

Important After a subscription instance expires, it may be stopped. The system sends you notifications for renewing the instance. Renew your instance at your earliest convenience to ensure service availability. If you have other questions, submit a ticket.
If the auto-renewal feature is not enabled for a subscription instance, the instance stops providing services at some point from 00:00:00 on the expiration date to 00:00:00 the next day.
Note You cannot enable the auto-renewal feature for an expired subscription instance.
The following table describes the resource states for such an expired subscription instance.
ResourceWithin 15 days after the instance expiresMore than 15 days after the instance expires
Computing resource (vCPUs and memory)The computing resources (vCPUs and memory) are retained, but the instance stops providing services.
Note 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.
ImageThe image is unavailable. The image is unavailable.
Block storage device
  • Cloud disks and their data are retained, but the cloud disks cannot be used.
  • Local disks and their data are retained, but the local disks cannot be used.
  • Subscription disks are released and their data cannot be recovered.
    Note If you have manually attached pay-as-you-go cloud disks to the instance and have not set the release mode of the disks to Release with Instance, these disks stop working.
  • Local disks are released and their data cannot be recovered.
Public IP address
  • If the instance resides in the classic network, its public IP address is retained.
  • If the instance resides in a virtual private cloud (VPC), the following rules apply:
    • The public IP address is retained.
    • The elastic IP address (EIP) associated with the instance remains unchanged.
  • If the instance resides the classic network, its public IP address is released.
  • If the instance resides in a VPC, the following rules apply:
    • The public IP address is released.
    • The EIP is disassociated from the instance.

If the auto-renewal feature is enabled for a subscription instance but the instance fails to renew, the instance stops providing services at some point from 00:00:00 on the 15th day after it expires to 00:00:00 on the 16th day after it expires.

The following table describes the resource states for such an expired subscription instance.
ResourceWithin 15 days after the instance expires16 to 30 days after the instance expiresMore than 30 days after the instance expires
Computing resource (vCPUs and memory)The computing resources (vCPUs and memory) are retained, and the instance works normally.
Note When an instance works normally, you can start or stop the instance and connect to the instance by using management terminals or other connection methods.
The computing resources (vCPUs and memory) are retained, but the instance stops providing services.
Note 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.
ImageThe image is available. The image is unavailable. The image is unavailable.
Block storage device
  • Cloud disks and their data are retained. The cloud disks can work normally.
  • Local disks and their data are retained. The local disks can work normally.
  • Cloud disks and their data are retained, but the cloud disks cannot be used.
  • Local disks and their data are retained, but the local disks cannot be used.
  • Subscription disks are released and their data cannot be recovered.
    Note If you have manually attached pay-as-you-go cloud disks to the instance and have not set the release mode of the disks to Release with Instance, these disks stop working.
  • Local disks are released and their data cannot be recovered.
Public IP address
  • If the instance resides in the classic network, its public IP address is retained.
  • If the instance resides in a VPC, the following rules apply:
    • The public IP address is retained.
    • The EIP associated with the instance remains unchanged.
  • If the instance resides in the classic network, its public IP address is retained.
  • If the instance resides in a VPC, the following rules apply:
    • The public IP address is retained.
    • The EIP associated with the instance remains unchanged.
  • If the instance resides in the classic network, its public IP address is released.
  • If the instance resides in a VPC, the following rules apply:
    • The public IP address is released.
    • The EIP is disassociated from the instance.
After an instance expires, Data Storage is displayed in the Actions column corresponding to the instance on the Instances page. Before the instance is released, you can create a custom image from the instance or create snapshots for disks of the instance to back up disk data. Data Storage

Switch from subscription to pay-as-you-go

You can change the billing method of an instance from subscription to pay-as-you-go. This allows you to recover a portion of the subscription costs and use the instance in a more flexible manner. For more information, see Change the billing method of an instance from subscription to pay-as-you-go.

Overdue payments

If you have overdue payments within your account, you can use your subscription resources normally but cannot perform operations that incur charges on them, such as purchasing instances, upgrading instance configurations, or renewing resources. For more information, see Overdue payments.

Billing FAQ