One of my goals for this year was to learn a different cloud platform asides from Microsoft Azure. Amazon Web Service (AWS) is the world’s largest cloud service provider, and it felt like the best choice.

In this article, we will set up a new AWS account using the free tier and also configure a billing alert to avoid overspending.



  • A valid credit card
  • An email address

The first step is to create a free account by going through the following steps: 

  1. Visit 
  2. Select Create a free account and register as a root.

Next, we will be redirected to the AWS registration portal at  to sign up with our email and a choice account name. AWS will then send a confirmation code to confirm the email address.

AWS also requires adding a payment method to verify our identity; we can enter any accepted card type.

Finally, we will be required to select a support plan. Select the basic support plan and select next.

An email will be sent from AWS to confirm our sign-up.

Congratulations! We have successfully set up our cloud account.

We are then redirected to the management console and sign in using our root account.


When we run workloads in the cloud, it is easy to leave resources running and accumulate huge cloud bills. We will set up a billing alert to get notified when we pass a spending threshold to avoid doing this.

In the AWS management console and type Billing and select the first option.

The billing dashboard is still empty as we have nothing set up yet. Under the Preferences section, select Billing Preferences.

Check the Receive Free Tier Usage Alerts and Receive Billing Alerts boxes and include your email address in the input box for Receive Free Tier Usage Alerts.

Select Save Preferences.

So far, we have set up how we want to get notified and not when to. The billing page is also blank because we haven’t set up any thresholds yet.

So what triggers an alert?

On the search bar, type CloudWatch and select the first result.

AWS CloudWatch is a service that provides monitoring and observability service with data and actionable insights to respond to system-wide performance changes and optimize resource utilization.

Select Create Alarm on the Cloudwatch page

Choose Select metrics then next

Search for Billing in the Metrics search bar.

Choose Total Estimated Charge

Check the EstimatedCharges option and select the metric.

Under Conditions, select Static for Threshold type and Greater for Whenever EstimatedCharges is. For than, enter an amount that must be exceeded for the alarm to be triggered, for example, $1. Select Next

On the Configure actions page, leave the Alarm state trigger as is and select Create a new topic. AWS would suggest a unique topic name for you, or you can create yours.

Enter your email address to receive notifications, then create a topic. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select next.

Enter a name for your alarm and select next.

You can preview your settings here before creating.

Choose create alarm

Our alarm has been successfully created.


We created a free tier AWS account in this article and set up a billing alert to prevent accidentally going beyond the free tier. It is also best to delete resources once we’re done with them since this is a test environment.