Google Cloud pricing: the ultimate guide

Google Cloud Platform has been providing cloud computing services since 2008 as part of the search engine giant Google and its parent company Alphabet.

Google cloud

With a wide range of cloud services, including storage, compute, and managed Kubernetes, it makes it an ideal option for numerous organizations, whether developing the latest applications or using the cloud to store valuable data for analysis.

But let’s face it: you probably already know what Google Cloud is – you just want to get the details about the pricing model.

So, this blog post will provide you with a rundown of the Google Cloud pricing structure, covering the most popular pricing models, including pay-as-you-go and the popular free tier option.

What are the Google Cloud pricing models?

There are three packages and pricing options available, each designed for different organizations and use cases:

  1. Pas-as-you-go
  2. Free tier 
  3. Committed use discounts
  4. Discounts for Spot VMs

Keep on reading to find out more about each pricing option below, including what it is, how it works, and how it stacks up against other pricing options.


If you plan on using Google cloud irregularly, then the pay-as-you-go option is likely the best pick.

It allows you to add and remove individual services as you wish, whether it’s compute engines or data services. Whatever you need the public cloud for, there’s likely an option for it.

One of the main benefits of the pay-as-you-go Google cloud pricing plan is obviously the flexibility. You’re not committed to a monthly or annual fee and can opt out at any time. 

But equally, this pricing model is the most expensive option per hour, especially if you’re running some specific services. 

Free tier 

As with most cloud services, there is also a free tier option, ideal for organizations that aren’tready to commit to a paid plan yet, but would still like to get a taste of what’s on offer.

By choosing the free option, you gain access to a set amount of resources over a short period. For example, you’ll be able to use up to 24 cloud services and other products, such as AI, cloud storage, computing, and various databases.

Finally, as you’d expect, there are also the “always free” cloud services, such as compute engine, cloud storage, and BigQuery. But beware, you must stay within the free limits, or you’ll enter the pay-as-you-go plan.  However, as a free customer you can only use 1 e-2 micro CPU instance per month, but you can expect high performance just like any paid option. But remember: it’s only free until you’ve used the number of hours equal to the total hours in the current month. 

Committed use discounts 

For the more committed users, the long-term plan provides you with a generous discount compared to the pay-as-you-go pricing option.

The long-term Google cloud pricing options are called “committed use discounts,” with organizations benefitting from up to 70% off their cloud computing bill if committing to a one- or three-year plan.

The committed use long-term plan grants you access to basic compute engine resources (GPUs, local SSDs, vCPUs, and others). Instead of paying for those on a pay-as-you-go basis, you get to save a ton of cash.

This plan is ideal for organizations that require predictable resources, allowing you to maintain a smooth and efficient operation with little to no interruption throughout your contract period. However, if you’re less committed to a given cloud platform or your organization’s needs are a little sporadic, then the pay-as-you-go option is likely a better option, at least to begin with.

Discounts for Spot VMs

Another pricing model Google Cloud Platform offers is preemptible virtual machines – now also called Spot VMs (also known as spot instances). They’re available at a much lower price when compared to the pay-as-you-go pricing. We’re talking about discounts reaching 60-91% for machine types and GPUs as well as smaller discounts for local SSDs.

There’s only one catch. These resources are taken from the pool of capacity that isn’t being used by anyone else. So, Google Cloud can reclaim Spot VMs with short notice. That’s why preemptible instances are a good pick for applications that can tolerate such disruptions well. The incredibly high discounts make them an attractive option for those looking to save on the cloud.  

Is Google Cloud free forever?

The free tier services are free and will be free forever, as far as we know, so long as you remain within the free limits.

If you start using cloud services and later exceed the limits, then you’ll enter the pay-as-you-go plan. So, monitor your usage and ensure you’re on the right plan to optimize your workload, improve efficiency, and most importantly, save money.

Do new Google cloud customers receive a discount?

If you’re a new Google cloud customer, you will receive $300 of credit for free. You can use this credit to spend on any cloud services and products, allowing you to try a bunch of services to see whether or not they’re a good fit for your organization.

Once you’ve used up your credits and continue to use the services, you’ll be placed on the pay-as-you-go plan.

The Google Cloud pricing calculator 

If you’re not sure which plan is right for you, or if you’d like to receive a more accurate estimation of cloud computing costs, we suggest using the Google cloud pricing calculator.

Input the products you’re interested in, a number of instances, and other details to get started. It’s easy to use and provides you with all the info you need to make a calculated decision on what’s right for your business.

How does Google Cloud pricing compare to others?

Google Cloud pricing is very similar to other providers, including AWS and Microsoft Azure. However, AWS may be more cost-effective for standard pricing options. If you commit to a three-year deal with Google cloud though, then you’re likely to save money in the process.

Takeaways: What you need to know

Google Cloud pricing includes four pricing models: the standard pay-as-you-go plan, the free tier, long-term commitments via committed use, and Spot VMs.

Your choice of plan is dependent on the needs of your organization. If you’re just starting out and want to get a feel for Google Cloud, the free tier is a great place to start. But if you already know what services you require, then the pay-as-you-go or long-term plans are the better options.

To summarise:

  • Google cloud provides four pricing options: pay-as-you-go, the free tier, long-term committed use, and Spot VMs
  • Use the Google Cloud pricing calculator for an accurate pricing estimate
  • Make use of the $300 credits to see which services work well for you
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  • Google Cloud pricing: the ultimate guide

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