AWS Cognito

AWS Cognito Pricing Simplified: Tiers, MAUs & User Pools

What Is AWS Cognito? 

AWS Cognito is a cloud service from Amazon Web Services that provides authentication, authorization, and user management for web and mobile applications. It is designed to support the integration of user sign-up, sign-in, and access control into applications. It aims to alleviate the need for backend code and enable high scalability.

The service offers features like social identity provider integration (such as Facebook, Google, and Apple), and supports user directory management, secure user authentication, and user profile synchronization across multiple platforms and devices.

Understanding Amazon Cognito Pricing 

Here’s an overview of the pricing model for Cognito.

Free Tier

Amazon Cognito offers a free tier, which is accessible indefinitely to new and existing AWS customers. This tier does not expire after the typical 12-month introductory period common to many AWS services. It is important to note that this free tier is not applicable to user pools local or federated within the AWS GovCloud (US-West) region.

For individual users or developers signing in directly or via a social identity provider like Facebook or Google, the service permits up to 50,000 monthly active users (MAUs) without any charges. For those using federated identity providers compliant with SAML 2.0 or OpenID Connect (OIDC), Amazon Cognito sustains up to 50 MAUs free of charge per account or AWS organization.

User Pool Pricing

Amazon Cognito’s pricing for user pools is structured around the number of monthly active users (MAUs) within each user pool. A monthly active user, or MAU, is defined as a user for whom at least one action is performed per month (actions include identity operations like administrative creation or update, sign-in, token refresh, password change, or any attribute update).

The pricing is structured as follows (in the US East (Ohio) region), with a volume discount as the number of MAUs increases:

  • First 50,000 MAUs are free (as part of the free tier).
  • From 50,001 to 100,000 MAUs, the cost is $0.0055 / MAU.
  • From 101,000 to 1,000,000 MAUs, the cost is $0.0046 / MAU.
  • From 1,000,001 to 10,000,000 MAUs, the cost is $0.00325 / MAU.
  • Over 10,000,000 MAUs, the cost is $0.0025 per MAU.

Enterprise users utilizing SAML or OIDC federation for sign-ins benefit from a discounted rate for MAUs above the initial 50 free MAUs, at $0.015 each.

Additionally, advanced security features can be enabled for a fee. These features include compromised credentials detection, adaptive authentication, advanced security metrics, and access token customization. The cost structure for these advanced security features is as follows:

  • The first 50,000 MAUs are charged at $0.050 / MAU.
  • From 50,000-100,000 MAUs, the cost is $0.035 / MAU.
  • From 101,000 to 1,000,000 MAUs, the cost is $0.020 / MAU.
  • For 1,000,001 to 10,000,000 MAUs, the cost is $0.015 / MAU.
  • Over 10,000,000 MAUs, the cost is $0.010 / MAU.

Learn more in our detailed guide to AWS cognito user pool (coming soon)

Higher API RPS Quotas

Amazon Cognito also offers the ability to request higher Requests Per Second (RPS) quotas for specific API categories to accommodate the needs of applications requiring higher throughput. 

The pricing for higher RPS quotas is additional to the base rates charged for monthly active users and any other features, including advanced security features. The quotas are available for continuous use throughout a full month or for part of a month, providing flexibility depending on the application’s demands.

Here is a breakdown of the pricing structure for higher RPS quotas:

  • Continuous use for a full month is priced at $20 / 1 RPS increment.
  • For partial month usage, the cost is $45 / 1 RPS increment.

The categories eligible for these increased quotas include User Authentication, User Creation, User Federation, User Read, User Resource Read, User Token, User Resource Update, User Update, and User Account Recovery. Each of these categories has its own quota and is billed separately.

For example, if an application requires an ongoing increment in the User Authentication category quota from the default to 20 RPS indefinitely, the cost calculation for continuous use would be as follows:

  • Monthly Cost = 20 RPS * $20 per RPS-Month = $400.

If there is a need for a temporary increase in quota for just 7 days within a 30-day month, the cost would be calculated based on the rate for partial month usage:

  • One-time Cost = 20 RPS * (7/30) Month * $45 per RPS-Mo = $210.

Amazon Cognito Sync Pricing

Amazon Cognito Sync allows developers to synchronize user data across multiple devices in real-time, leveraging the cloud for seamless user experiences.

As part of the AWS Free Tier, Amazon Cognito Sync offers new and existing customers up to 10 GB of cloud sync storage and 1,000,000 synchronization operations per month free of charge for the first 12 months.

Beyond the Free Tier, the costs for Amazon Cognito Sync are based on the total volume of data stored in the sync store and the number of sync operations conducted. The service charges $0.15 for each 10,000 sync operations and an additional $0.15 per GB of data stored per month. 

When push synchronization is enabled, which facilitates immediate data syncing between devices, standard rates for Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) apply.

AWS Cognito Limitations 

When evaluating AWS Cognito, in addition to pricing, it’s important to be aware of some of its limitations. These limitations were reported by users on the G2 platform.

Complex Configuration and Setup

Configuration and setup in Cognito often present a steep learning curve for new users, particularly those who may not have extensive experience with cloud services. The service involves a range of components that must be configured, such as identity pools and user pools, each with multiple settings for authentication, federation, and security. 

Users note that the setup process is quite technical, and misconfigurations could lead to security vulnerabilities or functional inefficiencies.

Limited Customization Options

While Cognito offers some tools for customizing user interaction flows, such as login pages and email verification messages, these options are not extensive. Developers may find themselves restricted by the predefined templates and workflows, which can impede the creation of a user interface that aligns with specific brand guidelines or user experience strategies. 

Additionally, there are customization constraints on user management. Features such as complex user migration scenarios or integration with non-standard external identity providers are not as straightforward to implement. 

Cost for Large User Pools

While AWS Cognito is generally cost-effective for small to medium-sized user bases, the pricing structure can become a challenge as the number of users grows (despite volume discounts), especially when security features are needed.

Documentation and Support Materials

Cognito’s documentation often lacks the depth required to navigate the more complex aspects of its implementation. Users frequently cite the need for more detailed examples that cover a broader range of real-world scenarios. Better documentation could help in understanding how to implement features such as multi-factor authentication, complex user pool strategies, and integration with enterprise systems. In addition, the support materials available for AWS Cognito do not always keep pace with the service’s updates and new features. 

Frontegg: The Cost-Effective Cognito Alternative

Frontegg is an easy-to-use platform that offers modern, scalable user management, including multi-factor and passwordless authentication, authorization, single sign on (SSO), and enterprise-grade security. It offers a set of pre-built, customizable, and self-served components for building and deploying SaaS apps. Frontegg offers granular role and permission management, with support for popular authentication methods like single sign-on and passwordless (magic links, speedy logins).

The platform focuses on providing easy-to-use tools for developers to implement common user management features such as onboarding flows, billing management, and analytics, including important integrations with popular services such as Salesforce, Slack, and Twilio. Additionally, Frontegg provides a set of features to manage and secure access to applications and APIs. It also offers a plugin ecosystem that enables customers to easily extend the platform with custom functionality.

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