AWS, Cloud Computing

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Navigating AWS Connectivity Options: Comparing NAT Gateway + Internet Gateway vs. VPC Endpoints


Selecting between NAT Gateway + Internet Gateway and VPC Endpoints is essential while navigating the AWS networking environment. Knowing when to employ each to maximize security, efficiency, and affordability in your AWS environment is essential. A NAT gateway in conjunction with an Internet gateway, allows access while preserving some security by preventing inbound Internet traffic for outbound connections to the public Internet or other VPCs. VPC Endpoints provide a more secure method of keeping traffic inside the AWS network for connections to particular AWS services. This possibly lowers data transmission costs and decreases the attack surface, particularly for services like Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon S3 that provide free Gateway Endpoints. Nevertheless, VPC Endpoints often aren’t able to manage incoming internet connections.


In AWS networking, choosing between NAT Gateway + Internet Gateway and VPC Endpoints is crucial. These approaches change how resources inside VPC communicate with outside services by providing different methods of connection. Comprehending their respective functions and knowing when to apply them is crucial for enhancing efficiency, safety, and conformance in AWS structures.

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NAT Gateway + Internet Gateway

One service that provides network address translation is called NAT Gateway. Through NAT and a route table, your instances on a private subnet can establish connections with services located outside of your VPC. However, those instances cannot be connected to by outside services.

The Internet Gateway is a highly available, redundant, horizontally scalable VPC component that facilitates connection between your virtual private cloud and the Internet. Both IPv4 and IPv6 communications are supported. It doesn’t put your network traffic at risk for availability or impose bandwidth limitations.

NAT Gateway

  • When to use: For operations like software upgrades, API integration, or data retrieval, your resources must have direct internet connectivity. Private subnet instances need to be able to access the outside world, but they shouldn’t be exposed to it directly. It is preferable to use a simpler setup to enable internet access.
  • Pricing: For every NAT that is created, NAT Gateway will charge $33.48 per month plus $0.045 per GB. Sending the file to a non-AWS internet location will incur an additional data transfer fee because it is a data transfer out from the internal VPC to the Internet. The Internet Gateway is provided without cost.

VPC Endpoint

A virtual device known as a VPC endpoint is used to provide private IP-based internal AWS network communication between operating resources within a VPC and all AWS service providers. consists of AWS, its partners, and other AWS accounts. The endpoint service in the below image will be connected to the VPC endpoint via an AWS internal network connection that AWS will establish. No traffic leaves the public Internet and is channelled privately. This approach reduces the public Internet’s capacity limitations and security dangers.

NAT Gateway

VPC endpoints include three types:

Interface Endpoint:

  • Support all but S3 and DynamoDB AWS services.
  • Remain in an Availability Zone and inside a subnet (place one endpoint per AZ for HA).
  • Avoid using route tables.
  • Its unique DNS names include ones specific to the area and Arizona.
  • Belongs to a security group and is an elastic network interface (ENI). To limit access, you can alter the security group.

Gateway Endpoint:

  • It only supports Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon S3 services.
  • PrivateLink Stay is inside a VPC, not a subnet, and is highly accessible and not enabled by this endpoint type.
  • The route table is linked to it and is responsible for automatically updating the target VPC endpoints and prefix list of services.
  • Able to limit access using resource controls or IAM policies

Gateway Load Balancer:

  • Use private IP addresses to route traffic to a fleet of virtual equipment.
  • The route table is linked to it and is responsible for automatically updating the target VPC endpoints and prefix list of services.
  • Scales with demand and distributes traffic across the virtual appliances.

When to use

VPC Endpoints can be used if resources only connect to AWS service providers. Having private conversations will allow resources to operate more quickly and safely. However, NAT Gateway plus Internet gateway is the answer if resources must establish a connection with a third party outside of AWS. Setting a priority for a third party’s VPC Peering connection will help us save money for the reasons below.

Each new Interface endpoint and Gateway Load Balancer endpoint costs $7.44 per month and < $0.01 per GB from VPC Endpoints. They are far less expensive compared to $0.045 per GB processed and $33.48 per month for each NAT Gateway setup. Another benefit is that the Gateway endpoint is free, a significant cost savings that shouldn’t be passed up.


To summarise, VPC endpoints in AWS improve security and performance by providing private connectivity to AWS services and outside providers. Users may create secure connections that are customized to meet their needs using gateway endpoints for services like S3 and DynamoDB, interface endpoints via AWS PrivateLink, and endpoint services for integrating third-party solutions. Utilizing VPC endpoints is crucial for strong AWS network topologies because it guarantees data privacy, lowers latency, and limits exposure to the public Internet.

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1. When should I choose NAT Gateway + Internet Gateway over VPC Endpoints?

ANS: – When your resources require direct internet connectivity for tasks like data retrieval, API integration, or software upgrades, NAT Gateway + Internet Gateway is recommended. It shields instances within private subnets from direct internet exposure while enabling them to communicate with the outside world.

2. What are the cost considerations between NAT Gateway + Internet Gateway and VPC Endpoints?

ANS: – The monthly cost of NAT Gateway is $33.48 plus $0.045 per gigabyte, in addition to extra data transfer charges for outgoing connections to non-AWS internet sites. However, the pricing structure of VPC Endpoints is substantially lower; for example, the Interface and Gateway Load Balancer endpoints cost less than $0.01 per GB and $7.44 per month. Gateway endpoints are provided without charge, particularly for services like Amazon S3 and Amazon DynamoDB.

3. How do VPC Endpoints enhance security compared to NAT Gateway + Internet Gateway?

ANS: – VPC Endpoints lower exposure to security concerns connected with using the public Internet by enabling private IP-based internal communication within the AWS network. Access can be managed using resource policies, security groups, and IAM policies with choices like Interface and Gateway endpoints, guaranteeing safe and personalized connections to AWS services and outside vendors.

WRITTEN BY Shakti Singh Chouhan

Shakti Singh is a Research Associate (Infra, Migration, and Security) at CloudThat. He is a passionate learner committed to learning new things every day. Shakti enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. He likes singing and listening to music in his leisure time. 



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