How you, a regular person, can understand and take advantage of Amazon Web Services without spending any money
AWS is a daunting collection of services, many of which seem like slightly different names for the same thing, with distinctions and features meaningful only to professional system administrators (sorry -- Cloud Operations Analysts) and all of which feature complex price structures and vague threats of billing pitfalls. Which ones are free and how do you know which one suits your purposes? How do you avoid exceeding the free tier limits, and how do you piece together the pricing structure to estimate how costly it will be if you do? What even are "GET requests" and "PUT requests" and how do you know how many you'll actually use? All this and more will be elucidated.
The best part for you is that I'm new to AWS and inexperienced with cloud computing in general. That means I don't already know what I'm doing, so there's no chance that I'll accidentally assume you already know anything about it. For the sake of expedience, I'll assume that you aren't a complete beginner, as applicable to each topic -- you're eyeballing S3, so you've already stored some backups or shared files on Google Drive or Dropbox, and you want to experiment with something more powerful; you're interested in EC2, so you already know what a VPS is and what you might like to do with one; you want to figure out CloudFront, so you've probably already hosted a website somewhere before.
People more familiar with AWS who find something too inaccurate to bear should feel free to provide feedback. I'll focus for now on the few services I'm familiar with so far, and add more as I learn.
If the names of these services leave you confused, refer to AWS in Plain English for a list of what they are and what they should have been named.
|Service||Trial Period||Storage||Requests [?]||Data Transfer / [Other]|
Simple Storage Service
|12 months||5 GB (S3 Standard storage class||20,000 GET requests
2,000 PUT/COPY/POST/LIST requests
|15 GB 1|
Elastic Block Store
|12 months||30 GB||2,000,000 I/Os (with EBS Magnetic)||[1 GB of snapshot storage]|
Elastic File System
|12 months||5 GB on EFS Standard|
Long-term data archival
|Forever||10 GB of storage retrievals 2|
|CloudFront||12 months||50 GB||2,000,000 HTTP or HTTPS requests
2,000,000 CloudFront function invocations
|EC2||12 months||750 hours of Linux and Windows 4 t2.micro instances (t3.micro for the regions in which t2.micro is unavailable)|
Relational Database Service
|12 months||750 hours of db.t2.micro database usage 5||20 GB SSD database storage||20 GB storage for backups/snapshots|