After you specify instance types and network configurations, you can estimate costs based on factors such as billing methods, regions, images, networks, and the number of instances.

Billing methods

Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) provides multiple billing methods such as subscription, pay-as-you-go, preemptible instances, and reserved instances. For more information, see Overview, Preemptible instances, and Reserved instances.

  • Subscription

    Subscription is a billing method that allows you to pay in advance for ECS instances. Billing cycles are measured in weeks, months, or years. Subscription is applicable to 24/7 services, such as web services.

  • Pay-as-you-go

    Pay-as-you-go is a billing method that allows you to use ECS instances and pay for them later. Pay-as-you-go instances are billed by the second. The unit price of instances is displayed in USD/hour. Pay-as-you-go is applicable to applications or services that experience traffic spikes, such as temporary scaling, interim testing, and scientific computing.

  • Preemptible instances

    To reduce your ECS instance costs, you can use preemptible instances. Preemptible instances are on-demand instances for which you must set maximum hourly prices to bid for instance types. If your bid prices are higher than the current market price, preemptible instances are created and run. The instances are billed based on the market price.

  • Reserved instances

    Reserved instances are discount coupons that can be applied to pay-as-you-go instances (excluding preemptible instances) and provides a resource reservation for pay-as-you-go instances. A combination of reserved instances and pay-as-you-go instances provides higher cost-effectiveness and a higher degree of flexibility as compared with subscription instances.

The advantages of each billing method vary with different instance types. For more information, see the Pricing tab on the Elastic Compute Service product page.

Regions

When you select a region, you must consider the following factors:
  • The region of instances and the geographical locations of you and your users
  • The relationship between ECS and other Alibaba Cloud services
  • The prices of resources in the selected region
  • Special requirements such as compliance requirements For example, if you purchase an ECS instance in a region in the Chinese mainland and use the instance as a web server, you must apply for an ICP license.
Note The price for the same instance type may vary based on regions. For more information, see the Pricing tab on the Elastic Compute Service product page.

Quantity

The total cost varies based on the number of instances that you purchase.

Images

The prices of instances vary with different image types. For more information about the billing methods of different image types, see Image overview.

Networks

After you configure the network planning, you must select a virtual private cloud (VPC) and a vSwitch. You are not charged for using VPCs and vSwitches.

Note Before you create an ECS instance, you must create a VPC and a vSwitch.
  • When you select Assign Public IPv4 Address, Bandwidth Billing and Bandwidth are displayed. You are charged based on the specified billing method for network usage (Bandwidth Billing) and the specified bandwidth value. For more information about the billing methods for network usage, see Public bandwidth. If you specify 0 Mbps for the bandwidth, no public bandwidth is assigned to the instance by default.
    Note The public IP address assigned to an instance cannot be disassociated from the instance.
  • Elastic IP Address (EIP) provides a more flexible static IP adress solution compared with public IP addresses. We recommend that you associate an EIP with the instance. For more information about the billing of EIPs, see Billing overview.