Free tier is dead?

I’m using a single shared-cpu-1x 256mb VM that according to the docs is within the Free tier allowance.

During the first weeks, my Free Trial credits stayed exactly the same, without a single cent decrease.

It seems that since the last pricing change (email “Simplified billing for new organizations”) my free trial is decreasing constantly and I received a warning saying that my free trial is ending soon.

Is the free tier dead? Is it just a free trial? What should I expect to be billed once my trial is finished?

Not sure if it’s the same thing, but I have a single shared-cpu-1x 256mb VM as well, I’m on the Legacy Hobby plan so I was never charged for it before. But today I got a bill of 0.03$, so I’m wondering what changed in the pricing system.

I also have a single shared-cpu-1x 256mb VM under the Legacy Hobby plan. But today I realized a bill of $0.07 on the dashboard. If it starts charging, I will just leave.

I’ve also been seeing some inconsistent behaviour, the dashboards and invoices can’t agree on the ammount of free credits left:
1: $1.24 in{personal}
2: $3.76 in{personal}/billing
3. $4.77 in Invoices

The Invoices seem to give the accurate ammount if you go through each one and work out the ammount.

Sent an email to billing so we’ll see what they reply :)

I’m in the same boat. Legacy Hobby Plan.

In Have a single shared-cpu-1x@256MB machine and seem to start seeing invoices for some cents?

I believe it should all be within the free range?

Hey! I think there multiple separate things folks are confused by or have questions about.

Let me see if I can clear some things up and reiterate some of what went into the Simplified billing email.

We previously had a hobby plan with no monthly minimum and some free allowances. People loved it but we suffered pretty greatly from abuse management. This is the Legacy Plan

Verbatim from our email:

Back in January we started charging $5/mo minimum for new organizations. We didn’t really want to do that, but got ourselves a little stuck behind some billing system limitations (sidenote, founder-engineered billing systems are AMAZING).

We did this to limit the impact of abuse. When you give people access to compute, you attract a lot of snollygosters who use fraudulent credit cards to do bad stuff ™️ on the internet. Crypto miners, botnets, phishing sites (although – several fake Amazon.coms we’ve seen had fewer spam listings than the real, and so much more.

Cloud abuse is bad for our bottom line. It’s also bad for the environment (yes, we just made the case that abusive signups contribute to global warming). It’s also bad for y’all because it degrades the quality of the platform. You’d be surprised how this comes up. It didn’t surprise us that abuse can create capacity and noisy neighbor issues. But IP address reputation is a big f’n deal too.

Charging a credit card prevents most at-scale abuse. Abusive users are surprisingly loathe to pay even $5, and it’s really difficult to keep fraudulent credit cards working over time. And when we run charges, we get really interesting Stripe data about the trustworthiness of a charge that we can use to restrict the platform.

Now, we’ve talked mostly about the obviously bad kind of abuse. The abuse that isn’t even clever, just boring.
But there was another factor to our $5/mo plan. We offered a bunch of free usage to each organization. Some of you people are smart and motivated. At least one of you created several hundred organizations to run thousands of tiny, free VMs for fun.

We can’t necessarily afford to let people do that, but it is kinda cute and we’re really not upset.

Fast forward 5 months and we’re in a better spot. We have better abuse tools, we have a shiny new billing system that will let us create policies like “your first organization gets some free shit, but that’s it”.

The first improvement we’re excited to announce is that the $5 Hobby plan is no more. We’re replacing it with a very simple Pay As You Go plan. On this plan there’s no more upfront $5 charge and no minimum monthly commitment. You only pay for what you use. If you don’t use anything for a given month you pay $0. You still need a credit card on file to prevent abuse. But your card is only charged if you use the service.

Oh, and that free usage thing? Keep this on the down low, but we’re continuing to waive invoices on personal organizations that are less than $5. You’ll get an email when we do this. Don’t tell, though, that’s a thing we do because (a) it saves us a huge amount of support work and (b) really, we’d rather you be happy on the platform than pay us $3.

Going forward, all new organizations will be on the Pay As You Go plan by default. If you have an organization that you’d like to migrate to this plan, head over to the organizations page in the dashboard, click on the one you want, then click on “Choose Pay As You Go”.

We are working through some sweeping changes to the billing system. One big thing is that we are now accurately reporting your usage.

If you’re surprised by a couple cents change and would like us to take a close look at what might be going on, feel free to reach out to and we can look closer at whether something is going on.

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If I understand this quote correctly, anyone on the Legacy Hobby Plan should not be charged for up to 3 x shared-cpu-1x@256MB instances. No?

Also, from Resource Pricing · Fly Docs

If you were on the free Hobby plan at the time that the paid Hobby plan became the default for new organizations, your plan is now called the Legacy Hobby plan. Your costs stay the same as they were, with no monthly subscription fee, and no included usage beyond the free resource allowances.

Yes this is correct. You may be seeing charges accruing on your July preview invoice for shared-1x Machines at the moment - this is a bug around the Free Machines Allowance not applying correctly, and we are currently implementing a fix, which should be deployed in the next day or two.

edit: Just to clarify, this bug is new in July, so June invoices were unaffected in any way by this

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Thanks for the reply.

Before this email, there was already a Legacy Hobby Plan and Hobby Plan, right? Now, the Hobby Plan will be deprecated to be replaced by the Pay as you go?

I’m using the regular Hobby Plan and before July the free trial was not decreasing. What should I do?

If I understand correctly the email, I should switch to Pay As You Go plan and my invoices that are less than $5 will be waived, correct?

I was wondering if that’s the case. There’s this hobby Telegram Bot that I have deployed to FlyIO (last time it was five month ago). Now I am seeing this error

WARN Failed to start remote builder heartbeat: failed to launch VM: We require your billing information, please add it at ...
Error: failed to fetch an image or build from source: failed to launch VM: We require your billing information, please add it at ... (Request ID: ...)

Any updates on this? I still see increasing charges in the July preview invoice.

Could you contact with specific details/images? The presumed fix was deployed on Friday so will need to dig into your specific circumstances further.

Any update regarding those questions?

Default (“personal”) PAYG orgs will have invoices <$5 waived.

The choice to switch is up to you, we’re not forcing anyone off of their plan and, if you have a certain level of usage, the Hobby plan might be more affordable than PAYG (because of the inclusion of free allowances on Hobby).

Thanks for the prompt reply.

Let me try to sumarize to see if I got this right:

  • Legacy Hobby Plan: Stays the same, there was just a bug in the billing system that has been fixed last Friday.
  • Hobby Plan: Still includes the free allowances, but you’ll be billed 5$/month anyway, there is no more “Free forever” (ab)using the free allowances.
  • PAYG: All the invoices below <5$ will be waived.

So if I want to continue to have a completely free usage, I need to switch to PAYG and make sure that I’m below the 5$ limit, right?

As an honest free tier user, those changes don’t really make a lot of sense. It seems that we have now Legacy Legacy Hobby Plan, Legacy Hobby Plan, Hobby Plan and PAYG. Plus the email mentions that you improved greatly fraud abuse, but you still made those changes.

Besides those remarks, I’m still very grateful of the quality of service for a free tier and I will definitely consider being a paying customer once my apps have enough users. We’re lucky to have!

is the Legacy Hobby Plan also applied that discount? I got charged 0.02$ for additional RAM without any discount provided

Is providing a credit card mandatory now?

Personally I wouldn’t mind paying the 5$ - explicitly - using another payment method.
But I have developed a phobia for providing credit cards to cloud providers (for personal hobby projects).

And ambiguity is not a desirable thing.

The change to PAYG was due to the fact that lots of people found our “plan costs $X/month and comes with $X/month of included usage” confusing. And the convolution of free allowances, included usage and <$5 invoice waiving were baffling to many. By comparison, PAYG is very straightforward.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “Legacy Legacy” and “Legacy”. I think you’re alluding to the fact that previously it was possible to never consume your trial credit, because the free allowance would be consumed first? This was a limitation of our old billing system; our intention was always that the trial would be a one-time $5 credit.

There is only a single resource that you as a user have less than total control over - bandwidth.

Everything else is charged based on what the user has provisioned. For example, if you provision one Machine, you will be charged for - at most - the cost of running that Machine for the full month. You very likely will be charged less if you take advantage of our auto start/stop feature. Same for Volumes, GPUs, LiteFS, etc.

We are totally willing to discuss refunds for bandwidth where you’ve had unexpected spikes.