AWS states:

When you start an Amazon EC2 instance, you must select an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) that is eligible for the AWS Free Tier. Because of licensing restrictions, some AMIs aren't eligible for the AWS Free Tier.

It's also stated

To stay within the Free Tier, use only EC2 Micro instances.

Are some community AMIs eligible for the free tier if they are open source and can be run on a t2.micro instance?

Edit: It seems it might be the case that some are eligible, as a comment in the AWS forums states:

There are some community AMI's that are eligible for the free tier. You can see these by selecting the AMI, and then looking at the available Instance Types. If there is a "Micro" option annotated with a star then it is eligible.

Moreover an answer on SO also explains this could be true.

1 Answer 1


I deployed ami-07f493412d6213de6 which is NixOS 20.09.1632.a6a3a368dda x86_64-linux, and also happens to be a community ami.

The result was that it was detected as free tier usage when verifying on the billing page.

Service Free Tier usage limit Month-to-date usage
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud 750 hours per month of Amazon EC2 Linux, RHEL, or SLES t2.micro or t3.micro instance dependent on region 0.18% (1.32/750 Hrs)
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud 30 GB of Amazon Elastic Block Storage in any combination of General Purpose (SSD) or Magnetic 0.02% (0.01/30 GB-Mo)

It looks like linux community ami's can be considered free tier if they have no licence fee and are deployed on a free tier instance for less than 750 hours per month.

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