Basic Guide

BigQuery pricing tiers and High-Compute queries

BigQuery pricing tiers and High-Compute queries

BigQuery charges for executing queries based on the amount of data (bytes) processed. Data can be purchased for $5 per 1TB unit (first 1TB per month is free)1. This will be referred to as the “standard unit cost”.

Billing tiers

The query pricing rate has levels called “billing tiers”. Query pricing is based on these billing tiers and the standard unit cost (billing tier X standard unit cost). Billing tiers are represented by positive integers.

The relationship between billing tiers and standard unit cost is outlined below.

Billing tier Query pricing rate
1 $5/TB
2 $10/TB
3 $15/TB
... ...
n ($5 x n)/TB

High-Compute queries

Billing tiers are automatically calculated based on query content. A normal query has a billing tier of 1, while queries with a billing tier of 2 or above are referred to as “High-Compute queries”.

Normally, you cannot execute High-Compute queries. To do so, you must first explicitly permit their execution. This is done using the “Maximum billing tier” property of query-related BLOCKS in the BigQuery category.

For example, to permit execution of High-Compute queries with a billing tier of 2, enter a 2 into the “Maximum billing tier” property. This will allow execution of queries at a pricing rate of $10/TB.


  1. Based on Nov 2016 pricing information. For details, refer to the BigQuery pricing page.