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AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud: Which free tier is best?

Who doesn’t like free stuff? The public cloud vendors know we all do.

The major cloud services offer their wares to everyone from the indie developer with a credit card to enterprises that cut seven-figure SLAs. The big three—Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure—also offer free trial versions of various services. The free offerings are not always enough for full production work, but enough to get a good taste of how the services work without running up a bill.

Note that the list of always-free services varies widely between clouds. What one cloud offers free in some form, others may charge for all the time. In this article, we’ll explain how the free tiers work on AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure and we’ll discuss their similarities, differences, and restrictions. Finally, we’ll point out some notable always-free offerings available from each cloud, along with their service limitations.

Free on AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure

The free offerings on AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure fall into two basic buckets:

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