Tom Copeland's picture

Hey guys,

Love TKL : )

Just noticed my billing for two micro instances I'm running. They're both simple WordPress sites with little bandwidth and traffic (maybe 10-20 visits a day). It's been about a month and my bill is like $16.

My question is what happened to the free tier? If this is a question for AWS, I've already called them but the support rep I talked to explained that the billing is done by TKL through AWS, and that TKL is just billing for what they are being billed. 

I have no problem paying, and will continue to pay TKL, don't get me wrong - I was just under the impression that if I use TKL to launch a micro instance, it would qualify under the free tier. What am I misunderstanding? Any guidance is appreciated!

Thank again guys!


Jeremy Davis's picture

AFAIK TKL are not currently charging anything for micro instances (small and medium instances get a 10% premium which is passed to TKL). As for free tier my understanding is that you get enough free hours to run one instance 24/7 for a year or 2 instances 24/7 for 6 mths, etc. So unless you have clocked up 6mths of 2 instances already then that should still be free. Perhaps storage is where you are picking up charges? I can't recall how much, but you only get a certain amount of EBS storage with the free tier (4GB??) but unless you have a lot of data, 2 WP intances shouldn't use more than that! Also if you are using TKLBAM you may be attracting S3 charges (although again $16/mth would be a fair bit I would think).

Bottom line is my ramblings are all pure speculation. I think you'll need to get the core devs to look into it for you. Possibly the best way would be via the Hub feedback (blue tab on the left hand side when logged into the Hub). They do read the forums but sometimes can be a little slow responding when they are deep in development - Hub feedback usually gets their attention though.

Alon Swartz's picture

Jeremy is correct, if your AWS account qualifies for the free-tier then Amazon should not be charging you anything for Micro instance usage (considering you have not used up the free-tier instance hours, or used extra resources not included in the free-tier plan).

The support rep was probably referring to non-micro instances where billing goes through TKL as he described. But micro billing comes directly from AWS (we did it this way so users can benefit from the free-tier)

Tom Copeland's picture

Could it be that I'm being billed for backup and migration? I see that one of my instances says it's "small", so I would be getting billed...but I was pretty careful about setting them both up as micro instances to qualify for the free tier. Is there a way to move an instance from small to micro, whether by AWS interface or TKL?

Thanks for your help guys!


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Jeremy Davis's picture

Which would explain the charges. There is no way (that I know of) to just move from one instance size to another. However TKLBAM should allow you to easily migrate from one instance to another. Run a TKLBAM backup of your existing servers and launch a new micro server (in the Hub you can configure it to automatically include your backup data). Doublecheck that everything is there and working before you kill your old server then you should be good to go.

Tom Copeland's picture

So I ran a backup using shell access and installed a new applicance. from the webadmin, I went ahead and restored the files.

So I've got two instances running the same website. Becuase I would assume now that I've launched a new instance in the same manner as the first, and restored the backup, I'll be paying for TKLBAM on it, too. So I guess my ultimate question is:  

If I click on ther "Cancel the use of TurnKey Backup and Migration" link on the Amazon payments portal, will it delete the entire first instance altogether, destroying the appliance and the website itself, or will it simply delete the BAM subscription I'm paying for?

I can't afford to make any mistakes on this one, too many hours in development :) 

But I just don't think I need the added cost of BAM. What should I do?

Thanks again, Jeremy!


Jeremy Davis's picture

You do not pay a subscription for TKLBAM you only pay for the storage of data (by the GB). What you want to do is stop any Small or Medium servers that are running (after you have transfered the data to a Micro instance).

So to clarify the Hub offers 2 completely different services (both have an AWS backend and will appear on a single bill from AWS).

  1. TKLBAM - Which uses AWS S3 cloud storage - charges are for data only.
  2. Cloud Servers - Which uses AWS EC2 - The servers are charged by the hour. Small and medium instances also attract a 10% TKL premium and Micro instances (and any other EBS backed instances) also have data storage charges. All instances also attract charges for data transfer etc. Obviously if you are eligible (and signed up for) the free tier then Micro instance can be run free of charge (subject to AWS terms and conditions).

So for TKLBAM backend storage you pay only for the amount of data you have stored (per month). TKL add no premium to this. The charges are ~$0.14/GB/mth.

For (EC2) cloud servers you pay (see links below for full details):


  • EC2 usage: ~$0.02/hr
  • EBS usage: $0.10/GB/mth
  • plus data transfer charges etc.

*- Obviously if you are signed up for the free tier then these charges are waived.


  • EC2 usage: sml~$0.09/hr - med~$0.19/hr (including 10% TKL premium)
  • storage is free unless you choose EBS (in which case you pay $0.10/GB/mth)
  • plus data transfer charges etc.

All of this is best handled through the Hub. You can save on TKLBAM (S3) backup storage charges by deleting old backups and/or limiting the number of full backups retained (click 'Backups' on the links at the top right of the page when logged into the Hub). And you can set your instance size etc when you launch a new server (click 'Servers' on the links at the top right of the page when logged into the Hub). For your existing servers you see what instance size each server is by clicking the name of the server (the details will drop down). Check that the instance you want to keep is a 'Micro' instance (under 'EC2 instance').

So what I'd do if I were you:

  • Log into the Hub
  • Click on Servers (2nd from left link, top right of page)
  • Check which one you wish to keep and destory any you don't want.
  • Double check everything is as it should be. Ie that your server(s) are operating as they should.
  • Click on Backups (left link, top right of page).
  • Set maxium full backups to desired level.
  • Delete any old backups you wish to remove (if you click on each backup it will tell you how much data is stored so you can work out how much you are being charged for each).


If you don't want to use TKLBAM anymore then you can use the link you showed above to cancel TKLBAM altogether. Personally I wouldn't do that though, because even if you don't want to use AWS S3 (and use your own storage to save money) then you still need a TKLBAM account AFAIK (but if you save no data on S3 then you aren't charged for it).

Some links that you may find useful:
The Hub:
AWS EC2 pricing (includes info about the Free Tier):
AWS S3 pricing:
AWS EBS info and pricing:

So is that all clear?

Jeremy Davis's picture

And I doubt you are running a Small instance because you are only being charged $16/mth.

I reckon you are being charged for one of your 2 Micro instances by AWS. It would require you to be storing approx 114GB in TKLBAM backups (114 x $0.14 = $15.96) to be attracting that level of charges!

Micro instance charges are $0.02/hr so:
$0.02 x 24 (hours in a day) x 30 (~days in a month) = $14.40

If you were using even one Small instance your bill would be more like ~$65:
$0.09 x 24 x 30 = $64.80

So the only logical explanation (in my mind) is that one micro instance is attracting normal AWS charges So something like: EC2@$0.02/hr + 2GB-EBS@$0.10/GB/mth + 10GB-S3(TKLBAM)@$0.14/GB/mth = ~$16/mth

I'd contact AWS support again!

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