AWS Glacier Pricing Explained

S3 Glacier is a very low-cost cloud storage offering from Amazon Web Services (AWS). It's around $.005 per GB per month, or $5/TB per month to store your data. But there are many fees aside from the storage cost, and they can really add up if you're not aware of them. We'll explain AWS Glacier pricing in detail to help you avoid unexpected charges and achieve the goal of low-cost storage.

What is Glacier?

Like S3 "Standard", S3 Glacier is a cloud storage offering from AWS. Unlike S3 Standard, Glacier and its new cousin Deep Archive work differently than most cloud storage offerings because reading your data requires an extra step: you must "restore" a temporary copy of it first. We'll describe that below.

Storage Fee

The storage fee for Glacier is simple: $.004 per GB per month in the US East region, and slightly more in some other regions (and a lot more in the Sao Paulo region):
Region Storage cost per month
US East (N. Virginia) $.0040 per GB
US East (Ohio) $.0040 per GB
US West (Northern California) $.0050 per GB
US West (Oregon) $.0040 per GB
Africa (Cape Town) $.0045 per GB
Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) $.0050 per GB
Asia Pacific (Mumbai) $.0050 per GB
Asia Pacific (Osaka) $.0050 per GB
Asia Pacific (Seoul) $.0050 per GB
Asia Pacific (Singapore) $.0050 per GB
Asia Pacific (Sydney) $.0050 per GB
Asia Pacific (Tokyo) $.0050 per GB
Canada (Central) $.0045 per GB
Europe (Frankfurt) $.0045 per GB
Europe (Ireland) $.0040 per GB
Europe (London) $.0045 per GB
Europe (Milan) $.0045 per GB
Europe (Paris) $.0045 per GB
Europe (Stockholm) $.0040 per GB
Middle East (Bahrain) $.0045 per GB
South America (Sao Paulo) $.0085 per GB
AWS GovCloud (US-East) $.0060 per GB
AWS GovCloud (US-West) $.0060 per GB

Upload Fees

There's no data transfer fee to upload data to Glacier.

But uploading an object is a PUT request. PUT request fees are billed at $.03 per 1,000 requests. Not a huge charge but 6x the PUT request for uploading an object to S3 Standard.

Also, if you upload an object as Standard or Standard-IA or OneZone-IA and then decide to transition it to Glacier, you'll be charged a Lifecycle Transition Fee of $.03 (or more depending on region) per 1,000 requests.

Minimum storage duration fee: Glacier objects have a minimum 90 days of storage. If you delete it 30 days after you created it, you'll be billed for the other 60 days.

Data Retrieval Fees

When you need to download your data from Glacier is when the fees add up.
Note: The prices below are for the US East (N. Virginia) region. Prices for other regions vary slightly.

Restore Fee

Glacier data objects are not immediately available. To retrieve the contents of a Glacier data object you put in your S3 bucket, you must first tell AWS (via the S3 console or with an app that uses the S3 API) to "restore" the object for a time period you choose. There are 3 "tiers" of restore -- Expedited, Standard and Bulk:

  • Expedited means the object will be available for download in minutes, but costs $10.00 per 1,000 requests.
  • Standard means the object will be available for download in 3-5 hours, and costs much less -- $.03 per 1,000 requests.
  • Bulk means the object will be available for download in 5-12 hours, and is cheaper still -- $.025 per 1,000 requests.

This "restore" action creates a temporary copy in S3. You'll be billed for both the archived object (at Glacier storage pricing) and the temporary copy (at the higher S3 standard pricing) while it exists.

The "restore" action is also a POST request which incurs a fee of $.03 per 1,000 requests.

Download Fee

Once the temporary copy of your object is available for download, actually downloading will incur a data transfer out fee just like all S3 data. The first 1 GB/month is free, but the next ~10 TB/month are $.09 per GB. There are small discounts for larger download totals in a month.

Downloading will also incur a GET fee, but in practice it doesn't add up to anything significant because it's $.0004/1,000 requests.

Glacier Usage Scenario: Backup

Here's a concrete example of AWS Glacier pricing: backing up your files and restoring them. For this example we'll use our online backup app Arq which saves encrypted backups of your files in Glacier (and many other clouds).

In this example we'll back up 1 TB of file data to Glacier.

Cost to Back Up the Data

Arq stores file data in de-duplicated "chunks" of up to 40 MB each. 1 TB in 40MB chunks means 25,000 objects.

One-Time Cost:

  • PUT requests: $0.75

Ongoing Cost:

  • Data storage: $4.00/month

Cost to Restore the Data

Again using our cloud backup app Arq, we estimate the cost to restore the 1 TB of file data:

"Restore request" fees by tier:

  • Expedited tier: $250.00
  • Standard tier: $0.75
  • Bulk tier: $0.625

Other fees

  • Storage of temporary copy for 0.5 months: $2.00
  • Data transfer out: $89.91
  • GET requests: $0.01

Fee Summary

Backing up 1 TB of data incurs a 1-time cost of $0.075, and an ongoing cost of $4.00/month.

Restoring that 1 TB of data incurs a 1-time cost of $2.00 + 89.91 + .01 + the "restore request" fees.

If you chose Expedited tier (to make your data available within minutes) the total cost is $341.92.

If you chose Standard tier (wait 3-5 hours for the data to become available) the total cost is $92.67.

Biggest Gotchas With Glacier Pricing

If you switch from S3 Standard to S3 Glacier, the request fees for uploading data go from insignificant to significant, depending on the number of objects.

The biggest shock to me was the Expedited retrieval tier fees. If making 1,000 objects available costs $10 and you've got 100,000 objects, that's $1,000! Please be careful when using Expedited retrieval tier.

But even if you use Standard tier and wait 3-5 hours, you still might pay 23x to restore what you've been paying monthly for storage ($92.67 to download data that's been stored for $4/month).

Alternatives to Glacier

Two S3-compatible alternatives have emerged with similar storage costs to Glacier but with minimal fees and without the delay for data retrieval:

Backblaze B2

B2's pricing is $.005/GB/month for storage, and data transfer out is $.01/GB. B2 also charges transaction fees.

The above backup/restore scenario with B2 would incur $10 in data transfer out and $.01 in transaction fees for a total restore cost of $10.01.


Wasabi's pricing is slightly more expensive at $.00599/GB/month for storage with a 1 TB minimum. But Wasabi does not charge transaction fees or data transfer out fees.

The above backup/restore scenario with Wasabi would incur a restore cost of $0.


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"Best backup solution? @arqbackup with your choice of cloud provider. Great program!! Always helpful when I have questions also. Great support!" @Tony_Simek Feb 5, 2021

"Just used @arqbackup for my first real world restore, which saved me hours of rework. Would recommend." @jonathon Nov 14, 2020