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Have you always wanted to test out the benefits of the GCP (Google Cloud Platform), but you weren't sure if you had the budget? Well, here is your complete guide to free Google services.
You'd be surprised how much you can get without paying a penny on Google's Free Tier. The free cloud platform tier allows you to access the incredible features of Google's cloud in two different ways:
- 12-month free trial
- Always Free
So, how exactly do these free options work, how can you sign up for them, and what kind of features are included?
We're going to tell you everything you need to know right here.
The 12-Month Google Cloud Free Trial
Let's start by looking at the 12-month free trial for Google Cloud Platform.
This trial gives you $300 of free Google credits, to use on all the resources and tools that appeal most to you in the Google platform. You can sign up for this trial if:
- You haven't been a GCP customer before
- You've never had the free trial before
- Your account is billing enabled (visit the Google Cloud Platform Console to do this)
- You're not setting up a business account with a term sheet
The 12-month free trial works like this: When you set up your first billing account, complete with your credit card or bank details, Google will give you $300 of free credit that you can apply to various GCP resources. Importantly, you can't have more than 8 cores running at the same time or add GPUs to your system. In addition to a few resource constraints, Google also highlights that users can't access their free trial to mine cryptocurrency. Your test will end as soon as you either spend your $300 in credit or complete a year with the Google Cloud Platform service.
You should be able to see how much time or credit you have left by checking at the top of the screen on your billing account.
Remember, even though you're not being charged for your first $300 credits worth of Google Cloud Platform use, you'll still need to give your credit card information. If you don't have a credit card, you can opt to offer bank account information instead.
What Happens When the Trial Ends?
When your free trial ends, you'll have to upgrade to a paid account if you want to keep using your preferred Google Cloud Platform tools. All the resources that you started using during your trial will automatically stop, and the data lost in your Compute Engine is lost. At the end of your trial, you'll have 30 days were you can recover resources and data used in the trial period.
Recovering data from your free trial of the GCP is easier than it seems. However, you can always contact Google Billing Support if you have any issues. Just remember that your information will only be held for you by Google for 30 days after your trial period ends. Additionally, there isn't an automated way to recovery information used on VMs in Compute Engine. You'll need to export that data separately before the trial period ends.
If you decide to upgrade to a paid account after your free trial ends, then you can continue using Google as normal. Some users also decide to upgrade before their trial ends, when this happens, you'll keep all of your remaining free trial credit. Your credit card will only be charged when you use resources beyond what's covered by your remaining credit.
To upgrade your account in the free trial, all you need to do is click on the Upgrade button at the top of your Google Cloud Platform console. If you don't see this button, you can click on the Free trial status icon with the gift next to it at the top upper-right of your page. You'll need to be a billing administrator to initiate the change.
The good news is that even if you decide to pay for a premium account, Google makes pricing as fair and transparent as possible. The Google Cloud Platform only charges you for the resources you use, and each service comes with its unique pricing model, which you can find in the documentation of the individual services. You can also estimate the cost of your Google Cloud Platform solution with the pricing calculator here.
The Google Cloud Platform "Always Free" Program
So, what about the "Always Free" version of the Google Cloud Platform?
This program provides users with basic access to many of the most common GCP resources, without charge. Resources are available to access at the beginning of each month. Importantly, these resources don't roll over to the next month if you don't use them. Additionally, unlike the free trial period, the Always Free program isn't a special introductory service, it's just part of the standard GCP account.
You can apply for the Always Free program if you:
- Have an account in good standing
- Have an upgraded billing account
- Don't have a custom contract with Google
If you're not eligible for Always Free, you'll be charged as standard for all of the Google Cloud services that you access. All you need to do to get started is start using your resources within limits outlined by the Google Always Free requirements.
Importantly, the limits on what's available for Always Free will vary from one service to the next. Additionally, you may not be able to access certain parts of the Google Cloud Platform when you're on the free program. If you're using Always Freer during your free trial period with Google, then the resources that you use that would have been free anyway will not be counted against your free trial credit.
The Limits of Google Cloud Always Free
Essentially, accessing the Always Free program on Google Cloud gives you basic access to many of the popular services available from Google, Of course, there is a limit to the resources that you can access without paying for a Google account. Here are some of the limits you can expect:
- App Engine: 5GB of storage, 28 front-end instance hours per day, 9 back-end instance hours each day, 1GB of egress each day, 100 emails per day, 1000 search operations, shared memcache.
- Cloud Firestore: 1GB of storage, 20,000 writes, 50,000 reads, 20,000 deletes each day.
- Compute Engine: 1 non-preemptible VM instance per month in specific US regions. Compute Engine also offers a range of discounts for sustained virtual machine use.
- Cloud storage: 1GB of egress from North America to various region destinations aside from Australia and China.
- Cloud Functions: 400,000 GB-seconds, 200,000 GHz-seconds and 5GB of network egress each month. 2 million invocations each month.
- Kubernetes Engine: No cluster management fee for clusters of various sizes.
- Stackdriver: Free monthly logging
- BigQuery: 1,000 units per month, 1TB of querying each month, 10 GB of storage each month.
- Cloud Vision: 1,000 Units each month.
- Cloud Natural Language: 5,000 units each month
- Cloud Shell: Free access and 5GB of persistent disk storage
- Cloud Build: 120 minutes of building each day
- Cloud Source repositories: 50GB Egress, 50GB Storage, up to 5 users
If you exceed any of the usage limits that have been set out for the Always Free Google Cloud Platform program, then you'll automatically be billed for the standard rates of the services that you're using. One useful way to make sure that you don't go over your budget with your GCP strategy is to set up alerts for your budget in the Google Cloud Platform Console. This will mean that you get an instant alert when you're about to hit your usage limits.
It's also important to remember that Google will charge you usually for any products that you purchase in the GCP marketplace. You'll also be charged as usual for premium OS licenses, even if your Compute Engine usage is still in the Always Free restrictions.
Need Help with Free Access to the Google Cloud?
To guide you through every stage of your cloud experience, whether you're a free user or a paid user, Google offers end-to-end customer service support. However, you will need to upgrade your support plan if you want technical assistance as part of your Google services. On the other hand, you can turn to the Google Cloud Platform Help page and FAQ or use the troubleshooter to track down answers about your free trial.
Google does have a vast community of developers and users who will be available to answer your questions online. What's more, if there are specific tools that you're interested in, you can visit the Getting Started with GCP page for quick-start guides, tutorials and more.
Of course, the easiest way to get all the assistance you need with your Google experience is to reach out to a specialist consultant. Apps Admins here to answer all your questions about the Google Cloud Platform, Google Workspace, and other Google solutions. Whatever you need from your Google investment, we'll ensure that you get the best possible results.