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AWS will put a price tag on public IPv4 addresses starting next year. The cloud service thus hopes to encourage users to switch to IPv6.

AWS is running out of IPv4 addresses. Because of their scarcity, the cost of obtaining such an address has skyrocketed for the cloud service. AWS therefore no longer wants to bear the cost alone and will charge users of an IPv4 address starting next year.

“This change reflects our own costs and is also intended to encourage you to be a little more frugal with your use of public IPv4 addresses and think about accelerating your adoption of IPv6 as a modernization and conservation measure,” explained Jeff Barr, Chief Evangelist at AWS.

Pay by the hour

The cloud service is implementing the changes beginning in February 2024. For a public IPv4 address, a customer will pay $0.005 per hour. No AWS region will be spared the payment. The decision will impact EC2, Relational Database Service database instances and Elastic Kubernetes Service nodes. The only exception is for proprietary IP addresses which companies associate with the BYOIP feature in EC2. For the first year, these users are allowed 750 hours per month of free use of a public IPv4 address.

IPv6 as an alternative is struggling to gain a foothold

IPv6, a newer protocol that has been around for a decade anyway, offers a solution to the shortage of IPv4 addresses. A larger number of unique combinations fills in where IPv4 is lacking. Unfortunately, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 requires more than flipping a switch. Network equipment manufacturers and using Internet service providers must support the standard.

Gartner predicted in 2021 that it would be between five and ten years before IPv6 becomes the standard. At AWS, users are already proving difficult to move away from IPv4, and it remains to be seen how many users will be deterred by the new pricing model.