How much will it cost to store Google photos on AWS

Google Photos will end its free unlimited storage on June 1st, 2021. The difference with premium Google Photos is that the photos are stored RAW (no compression and be 16 times larger)

I was wondering how much did it really cost for Google to store photos per user.
Since I am more familiar with AWS than Google Cloud. Let’s evaluate the minimal cost to store photos on AWS.

AWS S3 (simple storage service) is the defacto choice to store the photos and is object storage service. In addition, S3 is the most cost effective solution (cheaper than EBS elastic block storage, EFS Elastic File System). Our assumptions are:

  • losing photos is not acceptable (Redundancy is a must)
  • only a few photos will be accessed (infrequent access)
    We can therefore select S3 Standard – Infrequent Access

In this post, we only look at the storage cost to build a minimal viable alternative to Google Photos. Regarding S3 pricing, there are three other factors to account (which won’t be covered here):

– request and data retrieval pricing
– data transfer and transfer acceleration pricing
– data management features pricing

Google Photos Cost

Price (EUR / monthly)Capacity up to (GB)Cost to store
Google One pricing

To find the cost of storage per gigabyte (GB), let’s have a look at AWS calculator.

PS: Later, I’m going to mix USD and EUR pricing.
As I’m in Europe, Google Photos show the pricing only in EUR. In whatever regions, AWS pricing is always in USD. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Estimating the cost per GB

I used the to estimate the costs. The more you consume, the better cost deal you’ll get.

  1. Press the button “add service”.
  2. Enter in the search “S3”, “Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)” will appear.
  3. At its bottom right corner, click on the “Configure” button.
  4. Don’t forget to select the region before entering any calculations.

I inputed the maximum storage capacity (99999999 TB) for S3 – Infrequent Access. Here are the following costs in the different Europe regions:

  • 0.0125 USD in Ireland, Stockholm
  • 0.0131 USD in London, Paris, Milan
  • 0.0135 USD in Frankfurt

Let’s take 0.0125 USD/GB as the minimum and 0.0135 USD/GB as the maximum

There are S3  Intelligent-Tiering storage class cheaper. The longer backups and archives are, the cheaper the storage is.
The pricing for Glacier is at 0.004 USD/GB and Glacier Deep Archive is at 0.00099 USD/GB.

Estimated cost of storage

The max storage column was calculate by multiplying the capacity by maximum price per GB. Example: for the capacity of 200 GB, 200 GB * 0.0135 USD/GB = 2.7 USD

The min storage column is a bit trickier. Once you exceed the capacity, the subscription goes to next tiers of pricing ( next row). The formula is (previous_capacity + 1) * min_price. Example: for the capacity of 200 GB, (100+1) GB * 0.0125 USD/GB = 1.2625 USD

Price (EUR / monthly)Capacity up to (GB)Min storage cost (USD)Max cost for S3 Infrequent (USD)Max cost Glacier (USD)Max cost for Glacier Deep Archive (USD)

There must be an anomaly, the max storage estimated cost is 27 USD for the 2000GB. While Google charges only 9.99 EUR.

To make more cost effective solution is that of object lifecycle management whereby the photos could be transitioned to a cheaper storage class (like S3 Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive ) after a period of time depending the lifecycle configuration .

Obviously at very high volume, AWS pricing scheme is much lower than its calculator showed us.

Cheaper storage but slower access

The photos could be transitioned to a cheaper storage class (like S3 Glacier) after a period of time depending the lifecycle configuration you put in place.

However the cost of data retrieval is more expensive, the longer archives are.


This exercise was only about storage cost.

To make the service complete, we must account for the outbound data transfer, cost to run the software services on top.

The majority of premium customers use less than half a storage and retrieve a few percent of their photos.
For these type of service, the worst case scenario: reach the maximum storage capacity and retrieve all data.

Last, how could Google afford to make storage free under 15GB ?
In one year, the max storage will cost 0.2025*12 = 2.43 USD.
2.43 USD, a meagre sum compared to the 182 USD revenue per user that Google makes ( )

Special thanks

I consulted with AWS business support. Special thanks in particular to Nicholas, the support engineer, who re-verified my calculations and brought new light with references.

ICANN 60 day lock

My blog was down for the couple past days, because I changed the hoster.

Normally it should have been very smoothly. The domain was due to expired on July 1st 2017 . The support at FastComet told me to renew at Planethoster because they need 15 days to transfer. But I didn’t expect a 60 day lock after transferring my domain to the new hoster.  Somehow the registrant’s information  (WHOIS ) was modified when I ordered the transfer not by me directly.

FastComet transferred the website content ( DB, images, post , …)  but the domain name was still with Planethoster. Since the transfer was in progress, I couldn’t edit the DNS, nameservers . But the support at Planethoster could. I was just the middle man between Planethoster and FastComet.  The fix took a week.

Currently the domain is still with Planethoster, but all the existing links are there.

To avoid the 60-day lock :

  • Request the transfer to another registrar before changing the registrant’s information
  • Have the prior registrant opt-out the 60-day lock (if this option is offered by the registrar) before making any change to registrant information.

In the next post, I will explain the reasons why I changed the Cloud Hosting for my blog powered by wordpress.

PlanetHoster tech support

Website hosting is a commodity, prices are dragged to the bottom. In terms of infrastructure and software, hosters are pretty much the same . Higher cost hosting providers have better customer support and extra service. That’s the general rule.

4 years ago, I chose a cheap hoster at . I had trouble to set Domain Name System (DNS) . After a few days , no reply from customer support. So I invited a DevOps friend for pizza at home, after a few hours he couldn’t fix. The lunch cost more one year subscription. Then I reviewed on hostsearch and hostadvice . I tried out Planethoster during the free trial.

Customer Support

First I was impressed by how technical the support was. At any time of the day, within a few hours the technical support will reply to me. Just open a ticket on their website, you can reply to it by email like zendesk without being zendesk.

It wasn’t simple questions. They helped transfer my old wordpress to a new domain without breaking any link. Redirect to a sub-domain. Anonymize on …

Then the following years, I still stick to it.

Most hosters give incredible discount for the 1st year and increase dramatically the next year (Strategy of godaddy ) . But Planethoster stayed true to the initial price.

In addition, since the company is from Québec, Canada. The support speaks English and French.


Thanks to Cpanel , it is very easy to install in one-click WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Prestashop, WooCommerce, Magento. The updates are automatically taken care.

I’ve been a satisfied customer of Planethoster for over the past 3 years on multi hydrid now moving to Platform World ( 6 USD per month).

Disclaimer: I don’t advertise products I’ve never tried. The link below is an affiliate link. A percentage of the sale will go in my pocket. This commission comes at no additional cost to you