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I'm new to EC2 (and come from having used dedicated servers). I'm trying to understand how it's priced with the new transition to their "vCPU-based On-Demand Instance".

Does this mean that you don't have to shut it off and you pay only when the service is accessed, whether by shell or web or what-not?

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With AWS On-Demand Instances, you only pay for the time that the server is in a running state.

Depending on what you're trying to do, you could also look into using Spot Instances

The pricing of an On-Demand Instance is a fixed price. With a Spot Instance you can bid on a spot price. The spot price fluctuates in real time, based on supply and demand. Once your spot bid exceeds the current spot price, it will run your job.

Another important thing to note is that an On-Demand Instance will not be interrupted. A Spot Instance could be interrupted at any time if the spot price goes above your bid price.

  • It's also useful to note that the EBS volumes (ie disks accessed across the network) are charged for regardless of the state of the VM. The way to stop paying for an EBS volume is to delete it. You can also take snapshots of EBS disks, which stores them in cheaper S3 storage, then restore the EBS volume later if required. – Tim Oct 10 at 19:33

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