AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud storage customers pay for certain types of data transfer. Learn about AWS data transfer pricing, also known as AWS bandwidth or AWS egress fees.
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Cloud storage providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), charge customers for certain types of data transfers. These costs, also known as bandwidth pricing or data egress fees, are charged monthly.
Customers pay little to nothing to upload their data to AWS. However, customers are charged for exporting data out of the cloud, and for transferring data in between regions (availability zones) or to other Amazon services. Data transfer charges vary depending on several factors, including the volume of data that needs to be transferred and the region to which it is traveling.
Developers and businesses send all types of data — files, applications, images, videos, databases, and more — to the cloud.
When the cloud "collects" data, that is referred to as data ingress, which is usually free. However, the value of data is only fully realized when used outside of storage. A water dam that releases water for homes, irrigation, and electricity is more valuable to local residents, for example, than a dam that only collects water.
Data egress occurs when data exits the cloud provider’s "boundaries" using the provider’s network capacity, or bandwidth. AWS passes along a portion of their bandwidth costs to their customers in the form of data egress fees. This is why AWS data transfer pricing is sometimes referred to as bandwidth pricing.
Many businesses need the cloud not just to store data, but also to process and share it. They may transfer data for reasons such as:
Different services have different data transfer guidelines. Customers of Amazon Simple Storage (Amazon S3) object storage, for instance, are charged every time they transfer data — with just a few exceptions:
The online AWS Pricing Calculator can help customers estimate bandwidth pricing, which is based on location type, region (an “AWS Region” being a physical location where Amazon clusters data centers), the specific Amazon service used, customer tier, and other factors.
Amazon S3 gives customers 100 GB of free data transfer out to the Internet each month, aggregated across all AWS services and AWS Regions (except China and GovCloud). Customers who exceed that amount will be charged additional fees based on the volume of data they are transferring.
|Data transfer out from Amazon S3 to Internet*||Price per GB|
|First 10 TB / Month||$0.09 per GB|
|Next 40 TB / Month||$0.09 per GB|
|Next 100 TB / Month||$0.07 per GB|
|Greater than 150 TB / Month||$0.05 per GB|
US customers will also usually pay $0.02 per GB for transferring data from S3 to a different AWS availability zone. It is an additional fee if they want to accelerate data transfer performance (i.e. ensure the lowest latency). Going back to the water analogy, this is like a customer paying extra to their water utility provider for using a high-pressure vs. low-flow shower head.
Although the AWS Pricing Calculator is helpful, some customers may find data transfer pricing to be unpredictable. In fact, Amazon lists more than a dozen reasons why actual costs may vary from pricing calculator quotes. Some of these reasons include:
On the note of tiered pricing, larger customers may also be able to negotiate further discounts. In one example, NASA’s Earth Science Data and Information System, which expected to store 247 petabytes of data by 2025, received special pricing for AWS egress and storage. (For comparison, just one petabyte of data is roughly the equivalent of 13 years’ worth of HD-TV video.)
Yet, AWS data transfer costs may become cost-prohibitive — particularly for smaller businesses or developers that want to avoid vendor lock-in, in favor of a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud approach.
Because cloud adoption is growing so quickly, cloud budget overruns are increasingly common. More than half of C-level executives and DevOps professionals cite the "significant or unexpected spend on compute, storage, networking infrastructure, and/or cloud-based IaaS" as their biggest challenge.
Cloud cost optimization can help businesses looking to reduce their data transfer costs. A few key strategies include the following:
Cloudflare R2 is object storage with zero egress fees, making it more affordable than typical cloud storage services. R2 allows developers to store large amounts of unstructured data without the costly egress bandwidth fees. To estimate potential savings of using Cloudflare R2 instead of Amazon S3, access the R2 Pricing Calculator.
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