Can I delete an EC2 instance and start off from scratch on my EBS free tier usage? For instance, I was running a Red Hat server with 10 GB of EBS being used. However, I deleted that EC2 within a few hours. I then spun up another machine with 8 GB of EBS. Do I now have 22 GB of storage left for the month or just 12 GB, after combining the 8 with the 10?

I assume, given that AWS doesn't reference hourly usage on their free tier category for EBS that the 30 GB is just a flat fee. Again, I simply don't understand if I can replete an instance, then start from scratch to zero EBS on a new instance.

  • Welcome Richard! Could you please edit your question and use a more descriptive title? This is a Q&A site and titles like "I have a question about XXX" makes it impossible to find this question again when searching the site and web. – Mikael Dúi Bolinder Mar 18 '20 at 20:13

While I can't find it explicitly written anywhere, I do know that textbooks frequently reference that you can use the free tier to avoid costs, and that they frequently have you create and destroy instances between chapters. So, I find it extremely hard to believe that you would get billed for deleting and creating new EBS volumes.

So, I believe that if you create a 30GB one, destroy it, and create another, you should be fine. You should definitely make sure to remove the volumes and any related snapshots though just to be safe.

They definitely don't seem to explicitly confirm that though... e.g. in text like this:

Notable offers for the first 12 months following your AWS account sign-up include some level of free usage for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Amazon S3, Amazon Relational Database Services (RDS), and many other useful services.

They use the free tier to get customers hooked. They want you to like it and not be frustrated so you're more likely to use the real services and so that you may advocate them in your businesses. So, by that logic, I similarly find it hard to believe they would "trick you" by billing you in this situation without making it more obvious. That would be bad for sales.

  • Thanks for your help, John. I think you're right in your theory regarding AWS having an intent to get us hooked.Thank you for referencing your textbook knowledge which has certainly added more clarity on this topic. – Linux Overthrow Mar 19 '20 at 1:06
  • I won't have time to look up a reference, but all ebs usage is prorated per hour at least, if not per second. So when you delete an ebs volume, the create another one, you would at the worst be charged one hour double (the hour you did it in), at best have a couple of minutes of free tier left over. Note that instance deletion may or may not include ebs volume deletion, its configurable. All free tier assignments are done at billing level, so you can also run double the disk size for half a month and be still under free tier – jdog Mar 22 '20 at 3:11

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