Free Google Cloud credits: A Complete Guide to Earning GCP Credits and Using it Optimally

2023-06-306 minute read

Last updated: 30-Jun-2023

What are Google Cloud Billing credits?

Google’s Cloud Billing credits are promotional credits offered by Google Cloud to pay for resources used while you learn about Google Cloud. These can be useful for students, faculty, researchers, and startups. And the amount ranges from $300 90-day trial credit up to $350,000 for qualifying AI startups. You can check your spending and usage of credits from Cloud Billing Reports in Google’s Cloud console.

5 Ways to Use Google Cloud for Free

  1. Google Cloud free trial - Just by signing up for a free Google Cloud account with a Gmail ID, you can avail free credits of $300. This works for any user, and you don’t have to be associated with a business. These credits are valid for 90 days. Things like GPUs and Windows servers are not included in the free trial. And if you choose to upgrade, here is how. You might also leverage the 30-day Looker free trial and 90-day cloud spanner free trial.
  2. Google Cloud free tier - There are 20+ services that are free to use up to a certain limit. These usage limits are refreshed monthly and do not expire. Here are the limits of the various services that are included in the free tier. When you use resources covered by Free Tier during your Free Trial period, those resources are not charged against your Free Trial credits.
  3. Google for Startups - Google for Startups Cloud program has a Start tier and a Scale tier. This is suitable for non-funded startups up to Series A startups. The credits can go up to $200,000 and $350,000 for AI startups. You can apply for this program here.
  4. Google Cloud for Higher Education - This is primarily for not-for-profit, accredited universities that are teaching an eligible course. It provides credits to both students and faculty. It is only available in selected countries. Those interested can apply here.
  5. Events and partners - Several partners of Google Cloud also offer credits to their users. And attending events and getting promotional credits are another way - through conferences, webinars, product launches, and other giveaways or contests.

The ultimate list of GCP credits:

  1. Founder Friendly Labs
  2. Secret
  3. Silicon Valley Bank
  4. GitLab
  5. Founders Institute
  6. Ramp
  7. F6s
  8. Founder Pass
  10. Startup Wiseguys
  11. Launch Academy
  12. Accelerating Asia
  13. Razorpay Rize
  14. Kerala Startup Mission
  15. BonBillo
  16. Celo Foundation
  17. Bkper
  18. Aurelia ventures
  19. GoFloaters
  20. Cloud Office

Other programs

  1. For Researchers
  2. For students
  3. For faculty

More ways to save on GCP costs

Sustained use discounts

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provides sustained use discounts for consistent usage of their services and resources over a prolonged period, enabling businesses to utilize GCP services more cost-effectively and efficiently. These discounts can result in up to 30% savings on a virtual machine running throughout the month.

The eligibility for sustained use discounts depends on the consistency of usage over a specific timeframe, the service type, and the region of use — generally, services utilized for over 25% of the month can avail of the discount. The detailed criteria are outlined in the GCP documentation. After meeting the required usage duration, sustained use discounts are automatically applied to eligible services. The discount's magnitude can fluctuate based on the service type and the region of use, but longer usage often corresponds to larger discounts.

Committed use discounts

If your resource usage over an extended period is reliable and consistent, such as running several production machines, availing of committed use discounts can result in substantial savings, particularly for static workloads. Available for Compute Engine resources such as vCPU, RAM, GPU, local SSD, and sole tenant, these discounts require a commitment to a minimum term of one or three years.

By committing to these long-term arrangements, you can shave off up to 57% of your total costs. Your commitment can be either project-specific or span your entire billing account. To leverage this feature, navigate to the 'Compute Engine' tab and select the 'Committed Use Discounts' option from the menu.

Active assist cost recommenders

Active Assist is a service provided by Google designed to optimize your cloud deployment by utilizing their expertise in data analysis and machine learning. It produces refined suggestions based on your usage trends, ensuring that resources are not being wasted by being left to run unnecessarily. Active Assist carefully examines ideal instances and disks for your specific needs and advises you on which resources can be turned off or eliminated to optimize costs without affecting your business value. Simultaneously, it helps you to capitalize on potential cost savings by suggesting optimal sizing. For heavy users of Bigquery, Active Assist will suggest the most cost-effective billing model based on your usage patterns.

The benefits of Active Assist extend beyond cost optimization. It also improves the reliability, security, and performance of your infrastructure. For those with a Premium support plan, the 'Recommender API' feature is provided, allowing you to create powerful integrations and embrace recommendations at a larger scale. These suggestions are completely automated and appear contextually when managing different resources across Google Cloud. Google's optimization suggestions not only facilitate smooth operations and enhance security, but they also aid in driving your business toward its set goals.

Automatic Recommendations

Google Cloud offers automatic recommendations for potentially idle or underused machines and disks. Simply navigate to 'Compute Engine' and review the suggestions listed in the recommendation column for each virtual machine (VM). These suggestions are based on historical resource usage and can assist in realizing long-term cost savings. By selecting 'Save Recommendation,' you can then tailor your VM instance to match your specific workload requirements.

Stop your instances when not in use

To optimize cost efficiency, consider halting your virtual machine (VM) instance when it's not in use – you won't be charged for unused Cores and RAM. This could be applicable if you're running an environment for testing purposes that's not needed beyond regular business operation hours. You can manually stop your VMs or employ Cloud Function code and the Cloud Scheduler to turn them on and off automatically. To manually stop your VM, simply select the instance, click on the menu icon represented by three dots, and choose the 'Stop' option.

Here are 7 Tools to help you save on Kubernetes costs.

Explore proven strategies to save on Kubernetes costs.

Ready to ship?

Now that you have your project ready and free credits in your GCP account, it’s time to deploy your project to production. Argonaut offers an easy-to-use tool to automate your deployments. While you are deploying to GCP using Kubernetes (GKE), Argonaut connects to your repo, manages environments and GCP resources, and makes the entire deployment process seamless. It’s forever free for small teams, sign up now and give it a try at Argonaut.

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