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Everything You Need To Know About AWS S3 Pricing

AWS S3 pricing

Like anything AWS, the common pricing theme is basically that you only pay for what you use. This directly translates whenever you happen to be using Amazon S3.

When using Amazon S3, you can expect the following pricing schemes:

Amazon S3Storage Cost (pay for what you use)Data Retrievals (PUT, COPY, LIST, POST)
Standard S3 Storage$023 to $0.021 per gb$0.005 per 1,000 requests
S3 Infrequently Accessed$0.0125 per gb$0.01 per 1,000 requests
S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval $.004 per gb$0.03 per 1,000 requests

Notice how AWS has changed the name from S3 glacier to S3 glacier flexible retrieval. 

Now that we’ve gone and taken a quick look of some of the most common storage tiers for Amazon S3, let’s take a look at what you can do to further understand S3 pricing.

Using the AWS Pricing calculator

Since AWS has a pay as you go model, you will have to calculate how much storage and potential data retrieval you anticipate applying towards the managed service.

The main use of the AWS pricing calculator is merely a mechanism to better serve customers and set expectations before they even consider storing data on AWS. 

To get started with using the Amazon S3 Pricing Calculator:

Go to this link:

Click the ‘Start Estimate’ Button

Type in the name of the service – “S3” and select the appropriate configuration.

To accurately price your S3 storage costs, you’re going to want to pay close attention to three things:

  • Region
  • S3 Storage Tier
  • Data Retrieval

For this example, we’ll use the Region of US East (Ohio) as our selection, S3 Standard, and have the Data Transfer tab enabled. Being mindful of the region that you operate ANY AWS service is important because storage pricing could vary from region to region, along with data transfer fees.

You should quickly be able to see the rough monthly estimate for storing, in this case, about 5 TB of data in an Amazon S3 bucket.

In essence, you will be charged roughly $117 to store roughly the 5TB of data, which also assumes you apply 500 put, copy, list commands along with 500 get commands.

Notice how these are usually priced per 1,000 requests as mentioned earlier. If you’re performing thousands or perhaps even millions of these in a monthly timeframe – just make sure to account for them here to get a good estimate of the costs!

Let’s take a look at what it would cost to transfer this 5TB of data out of Amazon S3

A common misconception I have seen among companies, is that they assume this will actually be a monthly charge. This is not the case.

The AWS Pricing calculator is simply assuming you are retrieving 5 TB’s of data every month, which may be the case for some companies, but for the majority, most will only need to do this in the event of a disaster that requires backups. Remember, you only pay for what you use!

Also consider the inbound transfer fees into Amazon S3.

AWS doesn’t charge for inbound data, but certainly charges for outbound as noted in the pricing estimates.

Is AWS S3 Expensive?

Amazon S3 can be a great tool for storing data in a cost effective manner. Very little companies or tools out there can offer a service that is completely managed for the end customer. Furthermore, it comes prepackaged with fully redundant, regional infrastructure that offers durability in the amount of 99.99999999999% (about 11 9’s), all for a no upfront cost.

The way AWS is able to achieve this is through their economies of scale. 

Basically, there are so many customers building on top of AWS, that they can now begin to offer these incredibly sophisticated services such as Amazon S3, for that pay as you go pricing model.

If you’re still concerned about the costs of Amazon S3, I’d recommend getting in contact with your account team and asking the solutions architect to explain the value proposition behind S3. 

The undifferentiated heavy lifting is completely taken care of by AWS. So if you’re stunted by the supposed costs from the AWS pricing calculator, just consider the total cost of ownership. Normally, you’d have to pay quite a bit of money to manage storage and physical infrastructure yourself. With AWS, all of that is taken care of for you PLUS the myriad of benefits such as the automatic scalability and data durability of any objects stored.

Is AWS S3 Free?

For the first 12 months following sign-up to AWS, storage in the S3 Standard storage class is free of charge, up to a maximum of 5 GB. There is also no charge for 20,000 GET requests per month, but you can make up to 2,000 PUT, COPY, POST or LIST requests per month at no charge. You also get 100 GB of data transfer out each month when downloading your own data from S3.

AWS S3 cross region replication pricing

S3 replication gives you the ability to have data automatically replicated across regions and between S3 storage classes for a low, flat rate. You pay for storage in the destination location, plus charges for primary storage, PUT requests and retrieval of stored objects.

How is S3 Pricing Calculated?

You are charged for your S3 storage based on the size of your objects, how long you store them, and whether they’re stored on Standard or an Amazon S3 service optimized for data archiving.