EKS Pricing Explained: What You Need to Know

An introductory guide to EKS pricing and how to choose the right EKS pricing plan for your business.

EKS pricing

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) is a popular managed service that allows you to run the popular open-source container orchestration system, Kubernetes, without installing or maintaining your own control planes or nodes.

This simple-to-use solution provides organizations with a managed Kubernetes infrastructure without the overhead work, security risks, and other availability factors. EKS allows you to host Kubernetes without the headache of, well, actually running Kubernetes…

Hosting Kubernetes yourself may present many challenges, such as master node deployment, setting up worker nodes, creating and operating clusters, and other complicated tasks. But when using EKS, you only need to manage worker nodes – AWS takes care of the rest.

So, with this basic introduction out of the way, let’s discuss EKS benefits, pricing, and other key factors to consider. 

What is the difference between Kubernetes and EKS?

EKS sets up Kubernetes for you, automating its deployment, scaling, and managing other tasks to help you run container-based applications. 

When you Kubernetes without EKS, on the other hand, you need to manage all control planes, which for many organizations can be time-consuming, difficult to understand and end up costing more money.

So, many organizations choose to use EKS instead – receiving a helping hand from one of the biggest cloud provider, AWS.

EKS pricing explained

EKS provides your organization with highly secure, automated clusters for running numerous tasks.

You will pay $0.10 per hour for each EKS cluster that you generate. Remember: a single EKS cluster can run multiple applications, allowing you to maximize your ROI.

You can run EKS on AWS using one of two options:

  1. EC2 machines
  2. AWS Fargate

Keep reading to see how costs are calculated for each EKS hosting method.


EC2 pricing is straightforward – it works the same as it does when using other cloud services.

The EKS cluster is deployed, and you pay the standard rate of $0.10 per hour of use. Also, your worker nodes run on the provided capacity (Outposts EC2) at no additional cost.

Here, you can choose from four pricing models: 

  1. On-demand instances
  2. Spot instances
  3. Reserved instances
  4. Dedicated host 

On-demand instances

On-demand instances allow you to pay for compute capacity per hour or per second of use with no upfront payments. 

Typically, on-demand instances work best for test applications and short-term use. But if you’re looking for long-term instances, then there are better options available such as spot instances.

Spot instances

Spot instances offer some of the best EKS cost discounts. You’re paying for unused EC2 instances, but these can be interrupted with short notice.

So, spot instances are best for applications that can be interrupted, such as data analysis, background processing, and other batch jobs. 

On the other hand, spot instances would not be a well-suited option for client-facing systems due to the potential interruption at any moment (AWS gives 2 minutes of notice). 

Reserved instances

Next up, we have reserved instances – a more reliable option than spot instances, but still offering a generous discount compared to on-demand instances.

Reserved instances allow you to reserve a period of one to three years of compute power and resources, which might be a good fit for fixed Kubernetes workloads, allowing you to save on your cloud bill for long-term use.

Dedicated host

Finally, there’s dedicated host EKS cost within EC2 pricing.

Dedicated host is a server dedicated to your use – these can help you reduce costs by using server-bound licenses from Windows server, SQL, and others.

When using a dedicated host, you’ll be paying on-demand pricing for every hour used.

AWS Fargate

AWS Fargate is typically the preferred hosting option, especially for smaller projects.

Fargate prices are calculated based on vCPU memory resources – used from download until termination. But note that a minimum of one minute is used per use; even if you use less time, this is rounded up.

Other factors that affect AWS Fargate prices include operating system choice, region, and savings plans.

For example, if you intend to use EKS on AWS Fargate for at least one year, then you can benefit from compute savings plans.

These plans offer up to 50% savings on AWS Fargate use when you choose a commitment of either one or three years.

Alternatively, if you’re just experimenting with Fargate and aren’t ready to commit to a longer-term plan, the more basic option is recommended.

How to choose the right EKS pricing option 

Picking the right EKS AWS pricing option for you depends on numerous factors.

For example, if you’re only experimenting with Kubernetes on AWS, you may choose to use the EC2 on-demand.

On the other hand, if you’ve used Kubernetes before or know that you require Kubernetes containers for long-term use, then choosing one of the savings options allows you to save big on your cloud bill.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so carefully analyze the needs of your organization to select the best deal.

Remember, you can always try on-demand instances first, later switching to spot or savings plans once you’re ready to commit  EKS.

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What does EKS stand for?

EKS stands for AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service. EKS allows you to host Kubernetes with ease, reducing your workload and providing a user-friendly experience.

How much does it cost to run EKS?

Prices begin at $0.10 per hour of use per cluster. But there are savings plans available that can help you save upwards of 75% on your EKS cloud bill.

Which is cheaper, EC2 or AWS Fargate?

Both options are relatively similar in price. However, EC2 options become more cost effective at a certain point.

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