What is Alibaba Cloud Elastic IP Address?

In the ever-evolving realm of cloud computing, managing resources with efficiency and security remains a top priority. Alibaba Cloud's Elastic IP Address (EIP) emerges as a powerful solution for users seeking a dynamic approach to assigning public IP addresses within a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) environment. This in-depth guide delves into the intricacies of EIPs, exploring their functionalities, advantages, use cases, and configuration steps to empower you to leverage them effectively.

Alibaba Cloud IP Address

Understanding EIPs: A Public IP with Independence

An Alibaba Cloud EIP is a static public IP address that functions as an independent resource within your account. Unlike traditional public IP addresses directly assigned to cloud instances, EIPs offer greater flexibility and control. You can associate an EIP with various cloud resources like:

  • Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instances: Assign a public IP to your virtual servers within the VPC for internet accessibility.
  • Server Load Balancers (SLBs): Create a single, static entry point for incoming traffic distributed across backend servers.
  • Network Address Translation (NAT) gateways: Enable outbound internet access for private resources within your VPC.
  • High-availability virtual IP addresses (HAVIPs): Provide a single, static IP for redundant instances in a highly available configuration.

This association allows your resources to utilize the EIP's public IP address for internet connectivity while residing within the secure confines of your VPC. Essentially, EIPs act as a bridge between your private VPC network and the public internet.

Benefits of EIPs: A Multifaceted Advantage

  • Enhanced Flexibility: EIPs are independent resources, allowing for dynamic association and disassociation with cloud resources as needed. This agility facilitates effortless scaling of your infrastructure. During upgrades or maintenance, you can seamlessly migrate an EIP to a different ECS instance without impacting internet reachability.

  • Cost Optimization: Alibaba Cloud caters to diverse needs with flexible EIP billing models:

    • Pay-as-you-go: Ideal for resources with fluctuating traffic, charges are based on data transfer or bandwidth usage.
    • Subscription plans: Provide predictable costs for workloads with consistent traffic patterns, offering a fixed monthly fee.
  • Improved Manageability: EIPs simplify resource management within your VPC. You can manage EIPs independently, streamlining the process of assigning public IPs to various resources. This centralized control reduces complexity and potential errors associated with managing public IPs directly on individual resources.

  • Increased Reliability: EIPs offer a layer of redundancy when paired with Alibaba Cloud's high-availability features. By associating an EIP with a redundant pair of ECS instances or an SLB instance, you ensure minimal downtime in case of an instance failure. The EIP automatically remains accessible, directing traffic to the healthy instance within the high-availability configuration.

  • Security Advantages: EIPs contribute to a more secure cloud environment by:

    • Limiting Public Exposure: By keeping internal resources within the VPC and only exposing the EIP to the public internet, you minimize the attack surface for potential security breaches.
    • Bastion Host Integration: EIPs can be configured with a bastion host, a jump server acting as a secure entry point to your VPC resources. This approach restricts direct public access, adding an extra layer of security.

Exploring Use Cases: EIPs in Action

  • Web Applications: EIPs are ideal for hosting public-facing web applications deployed on ECS instances within a VPC. By associating an EIP with your web server, you grant external users secure access to your application while maintaining the isolation and security of your VPC resources.

  • Remote Access: EIPs can facilitate secure remote access to resources within your VPC. You can configure an EIP with a bastion host, allowing authorized users to connect securely to the bastion host and then access internal resources with proper access controls.

  • Load Balancing: EIPs seamlessly integrate with Alibaba Cloud's Server Load Balancers (SLBs). By associating an EIP with your SLB, you create a single, static entry point for incoming traffic. The SLB efficiently distributes traffic across multiple backend instances, ensuring application scalability and high availability for your web applications.

  • Cloud Migration: EIPs can streamline cloud migration processes. By associating an EIP with a migrated instance, you can maintain consistent public IP addresses for existing applications throughout the migration, minimizing disruption to user experience.

Configuration Steps: Getting Started with EIPs

  1. Access the Alibaba Cloud console and navigate to the Elastic IP Address (EIP) service within the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) section.

  2. Click "Create EIP". You can choose to specify a desired IP address or allow the system to allocate one automatically.

  3. Select the billing method. Choose between pay-as-you-go or subscription based on your resource usage patterns.

  4. Define the bandwidth. Specify the desired bandwidth for your EIP. Bandwidth refers to the maximum rate of data transfer that can occur through the EIP, typically measured in Mbps (megabits per second). Here's a breakdown to help you choose the appropriate bandwidth:

    • Low Bandwidth (1 Mbps - 10 Mbps): Suitable for basic web applications with minimal traffic or remote access scenarios with occasional use.
    • Medium Bandwidth (20 Mbps - 50 Mbps): Ideal for web applications with moderate traffic or supporting a small number of concurrent users.
    • High Bandwidth (100 Mbps - 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps)): Supports applications with high traffic volumes, large file transfers, or multiple concurrent users.
      Consider your application's typical data transfer requirements and expected usage patterns to determine the optimal bandwidth for your EIP. Alibaba Cloud offers a variety of bandwidth options to cater to diverse needs.
  5. Assign a name (optional): Provide a descriptive name for your EIP to enhance identification and manageability within your resources.

  6. Review and confirm: Double-check the configuration details, including IP address (if you chose a specific one), billing method, bandwidth selection, and any assigned name.

  7. Click "Create" to provision your new Alibaba Cloud EIP.

Management and Monitoring

Once created, your EIP will be listed within the EIP console. You can manage EIPs by associating or disassociating them with cloud resources, modifying bandwidth allocation (subject to availability), and monitoring data transfer usage for billing purposes.


Alibaba Cloud EIPs empower users with a dynamic and cost-effective approach to managing public IP addresses for their cloud resources within a VPC. Their flexibility, cost optimization features, manageability benefits, and security advantages make them an invaluable tool for businesses seeking robust and scalable cloud deployments. By effectively leveraging EIPs, you can construct secure, reliable, and adaptable cloud infrastructures that cater to your evolving business needs.

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