The Ultimate Guide on How to Reduce your Amazon S3 Bandwidth Costs

Are you surprised at how much Amazon S3 is eating into your profits? Not sure what’s driving your costs up? You’re not alone. 

Amazon S3’s pricing structure can be tricky to understand, making it hard to evaluate where you can cut costs. Though Amazon S3 has a ‘pay only for what you use‘ model, costs can ramp up if you’re not using cost optimisation techniques. 

Enter: Bucket Blaze’s ultimate guide on how to reduce your Amazon S3 bandwidth costs. 

In this guide, we’ll show you how you can maximise Amazon S3 savings, protect yourself against surprise expenses, and reduce your bandwidth bills. Keep reading to save hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars with these actionable steps. 

Step 1: Ways to save on outbound data transfers 

For companies that rely on Amazon S3 to support and serve video/image content, outgoing data accounts for a huge portion of usage fees. Let’s say you’re sending out 75TB of outbound data a month at the lowest rate of $0.05 per GB; you’ll receive a bill of $3,750. (Ouch). Depending on the region, outbound data transfers are taxed, which is why it’s so expensive, but don’t fret; we have some ways around it:

Create a data roadmap: evaluate what journey your files currently take to reach their destination and plan cheaper routes for each load of data. You want to reduce transfers across regions and availability zones and increase traffic within the same availability zone. Make sure to check out the pricing in different locations to pick the cheapest ones.

Replicate your bucket: duplicate your S3 bucket into the zone you need to transfer data to most often. This way, you don’t have to download between both locations every time, saving you an average of 75% per 1GB of data. This mirroring process is easy to do using Amazon S3’s cross-region replication tool. 

Step 2: Don’t be afraid to ask for credits.

Did you know you might be entitled to AWS credits? Many business owners don’t realise this is something they can avail of, so make sure you’re not missing out! AWS credits could be the boost your business needs to scale and minimise Amazon S3 bandwidth costs. Here’s what you need to do: 

Find out if you’re eligible: do some research on the various credit types AWS make available (credits for startups, POC implementation etc.). If you match the criteria, it’s as simple as getting in touch with your Amazon agent to have these credits applied to your account. 

Pro tip: by hinting that you’re ready to take on a new partner, or can’t afford the increasing costs, you’re more likely to receive free financial assistance.

Find tips on getting approved here

Step 3: Use cost allocation tags to trim the fat

Dedicate some time to exploring your usage fee allocation and identifying what areas are draining your funds using the cost explorer software available for AWS customers. Use the different filters to see a visual breakdown of your usage vs fees.

Using the tag: when you’re in the AWS cost explorer tool, apply the cost allocation tag to your load balances, and instances and the software will show you what transfers are costing you the most. If you know where your money is going, you can look at ways of reducing these costs or even switching to a different plan. 

Step 4: Making cost-saving practices a daily task. 

Reducing Amazon S3 bandwidth costs is not a once-off formula. It requires constant attention and monitoring, especially for a changing or growing business at a quick pace. When strategising and implementing cost-cutting techniques becomes part of your daily routine, you’ll see the positive effects in your bank account.

Develop a strategy & stay accountable: designing a cost-optimisation plan will be unique for each business. The best way to make it a daily practice is to lay out each action in a checklist format that can be shared with your team. Setting daily and monthly goals for cutting costs and sending out reminders to your team can help to keep you on track. 

Step 5: Declutter unused files to free up space

It’s healthy (and cost-effective) to do a weekly or monthly data declutter. Not only will this improve efficiency by keeping your S3 files organised, but it also makes room for more data, preventing costly plan upgrades.

Pro tips: 

  1. Delete any files that can be reproduced. These might include image files where there are many versions stored of the same file.
  2. Clear out any incomplete uploads. Upload interruptions in big S3 objects lead to partial objects taking up precious space. 
  3. Create a lifecycle rule if you’re using an S3 versioned bucket to delete old versions after a certain period. 

Step 6: Take advantage of Amazon Cloudfront

This AWS solution helps to reduce bandwidth costs since it transfers files at high speed and only charges for data transfers. Additionally, it helps to keep applications running smoothly.

Making the most of Cloudfront: by caching your files on this platform and getting 50GB of free outbound data, you’d be surprised at how much you can save when used in conjunction with Amazon S3. Learn more about Cloudfront here

Step 7: Use AWS auto-scaling

Amazon’s auto-scaling option can be a godsend for reducing your overall bandwidth costs. This tool monitors and adjusts capacity to maintain stable, reliable performance for the lowest possible price. Check out Amazon’s guide here for tips on getting started with autoscaling. 

Step 8: Use AWS savings plans

With careful consideration, AWS savings plans have the potential to make a positive financial impact on any business. These are flexible pricing plans offering low prices in exchange for a commitment to a specific amount of usage.

Pro tips:

  1. Buy in small increments every few weeks rather than a larger plan every quarter or year. Your data usage will likely shift often, so committing to a smaller plan gives you more flexibility as your business evolves. 
  2. Take AWS savings plan recommendations with a pinch of salt. Make sure to do your research to pick out low-risk purchases that will give you the best ROI. 

The best way to reduce your bandwidth costs

If you’d like a more straightforward way to reduce your bandwidth costs, why not give Bucket Blaze a try? 

Bucket Blaze can reduce your Amazon S3 bandwidth costs by 50% and increase your download speeds by up to 5x faster than Amazon S3! It works by simply adding your S3 files to the Stackpath CDN, then delivering them from there instead of Amazon at a lower cost (and with the added benefits of faster speeds, detailed analytics etc.) with no reuploading of files required.

If you’d like to consider a more affordable provider with unrivalled customer support, talk to us today to get a free trial. Get in touch here

We hope our ultimate guide has offered you the tools you need to reduce your Amazon S3 bandwidth costs. If there’s anything that’s worked for you which you think we should include, or if you have any questions, get in touch!