AWS Billing and Cost Management
User Guide (Version 2.0)

Analyzing Your Costs with Cost Explorer

Cost Explorer is a free tool that you can use to view your costs. You can view your costs as either a cash-based view (costs are recorded when cash is received or paid) with unblended costs or as an accrual-based view (costs are recorded when income is earned or costs are incurred). You can view data for up to the last 13 months, forecast how much you are likely to spend for the next three months, and get recommendations for what Reserved Instances to purchase. You can use Cost Explorer to see patterns in how much you spend on AWS resources over time, identify areas that need further inquiry, and see trends that you can use to understand your costs. You can also specify time ranges for the data, and view time data by day or by month.

For example, you can use Cost Explorer to see which service you use the most, which Availability Zone (AZ) most of your traffic is in, which linked account uses AWS the most, and more.

With Cost Explorer, you can filter your view by a variety of filters:

  • Service

  • Linked Account

  • Region

  • Availability Zone (AZ)

  • Instance Type

  • Usage Type

  • Usage Type Group

  • Tag

  • Include All

  • API operation

  • Platform

  • Purchase Option

  • Tenancy

  • Billing Entity


Each time you apply filters to your costs, Cost Explorer creates a new chart. You can, however, use your browser's bookmark feature to save configuration settings for repeated use. Forecasts are not saved, and the most recent forecast is displayed when you revisit your saved chart.

For more information about Cost Explorer filters, see Filtering the Data That You Want to View. For more information about working with tags, see Applying User-Defined Cost Allocation Tags.

In addition, Cost Explorer provides preconfigured views that display at-a-glance information about your cost trends and give you a head start on customizing views that suit your needs. Cost Explorer includes an API that you can query programmatically. For more information about using the API, see the AWS Billing and Cost Management API Reference.

When you first sign up for Cost Explorer, AWS prepares the data about your costs for the current month and the last three months, and then calculates the forecast for the next three months. The current month's data is available for viewing in about 24 hours. The rest of your data takes a few days longer. Cost Explorer updates your cost data at least once every 24 hours. After you sign up, Cost Explorer can display up to 12 months of historical data (if you have that much), the current month, and the forecasted costs for the next three months.

Cost Explorer uses the same dataset that is used to generate the AWS Cost and Usage reports and the detailed billing reports. For an exhaustive review of the data, you can download it into a comma-separated value (CSV) file.