The AWS Free Usage Tier allows for first-time users of AWS to consume a certain amount of compute, traffic and storage resources for free and, if you stay within those limits month-to-month you can continue to run the services you have built on AWS infrastructure free of charge for a whole year. After a year if you continue to consume these resources you will accrue charges, although, as with all AWS services, there is no contractual commitment so they can be stopped, and hence the charges stopped, at any time.
Presumably by design the free usage limits are set so that you can comfortably host a simple web site or web application, albeit in a non-resilient fashion. I.e you can host a MySQL database instance, a single Linux virtual server, and a reasonable amount of online data, static data and backup data – more about these in a later post.
The free usage tier applies to any AWS account for the first 12 months from the date the AWS account is opened. However be aware that despite the fact that no charges will apply if you only consume the types and quantities of resources included, you will need to provide credit card details at the point of sign up in case you do incur charges.
In the examples I will talk about here we will use EC2 compute resources, an RDS database, snapshot and volume storage, network traffic and S3 storage. Although the free tier offers both Windows and Linux instances to trial we will only look at Linux instances here.