There are many excellent reasons to use Microsoft Azure to host applications and enterprise systems. There’s even plenty of criticisms on it being expensive to host small websites, however the App Service offering in Microsoft Azure does offer the ability to easily host a website in the cloud completely FREE!
Free Azure Websites
The paid Website tiers of the Azure App Service Web Apps feature offer tons of features to host highly scalable enterprise or internet-scale applications. However, there still is a FREE option to easily host no obligation websites in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
The Web Apps FREE tier offers the following features:
- 1 GB storage space
- “.azurewebsites.net” subdomain
- Remote debugging with Visual Studio debugger
- Multi-framework / platform support:
- .NET Framework
- Multiple deployment options:
- FTP / FTPS
- Web Deploy
- Deployment from Github repository
- Virtual applications and directories
- Social Authentications using:
- Azure Active Directory
- Microsoft Account
- Ability to run background scripts via Web Jobs
- Performance monitoring
In addition to the features lists above, there are many, MANY other features of Azure App Service Web Apps that you get to take advantage of. Many of these features are not offered by traditional free or shared hosting providers.
To get started with Microsoft Azure, you can sign up for a Free Trial and get $200 in credit in addition to all the Free options that are available!
My main complain with Azure App Service is more related to the lack of a ‘second entry paid’ step beyond Shared D1 plan. This one costs about 8€/month, but the very next step which would be Basic B1 costs about 47€/month. I think there should be another step in between (maybe a B0) which allows ‘Always On’ so an MVC site using EF would not take 20 seconds to warm up (as it does in D1) or a more powerful Shared D2 plan.
Yes, I agree it would be nice to have a second Shared tier option, as it is quite the jump to the next level cost wise.
Its a nice idea but what use is it without letting us have a custom domain attached to it? And you only get 60 mins cpu time. It’s not really free hosting, its just a free test account to play with.
I don’t really mind if the free hosting isn’t any good. I would love to move all my clients to it but until there is a tier that can compete with the shared hosting packages out there then its not going to happen. The clients don’t understand / need the minimum packages unless I start pushing multiple clients into a single account and running everything myself, which means 1 hack can affect everyone and I can’t give direct access to clients if they need it.
For a small website or a simple app it’s perfect to be able to host it for free.
Hi Chris – I like the free hosting website idea now I have a couple of questions for you or hopefully you can point me to the right area. I have a small ms dev website that needs a domain to be attached to it. Can I do this with the D1 teir – 8/month plan? how about if I need a Sql datatbase to be resourced? A small one say 1 gig in size. How much extra? What about adding or resourcing email servers ?
Each service in Azure has a cost associated with it. The Shared pricing tier of Azure Web Apps is the cheapest tier that offers the ability to use a custom domain name. You can find more detailed pricing information using the Pricing Calculator here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/
Reblogged this on The Flying Maverick.
I think “Ability to run background scripts via Web Jobs” is deceptive and bordering on dishonest.
I have spent the last three months learning Azure so I could migrate my simple desktop application to the cloud, only to discover that WebJobs constantly get disabled on the free and shared tiers and can only be fully activated on a basic plan at US$60. The inability to automate anything (not even CRON) in the free and shared tiers makes them pretty much useless for anything more complicated than an “About Me” website. These same limitations also apply to the new “Azure Functions”.
That said, I still believe that Azure was the right platform choice for my application due to the scalability. But a US$30 plan for a single WebApp with scheduling ability (4 or so Webjobs that can run basic site maintenance) would be greatly appreciated by smaller developers and hobbyists like myself.
PS, giving someone new to Azure $200 that expires within a month is also a completely useless marketing ploy. At least give people a chance to learn the system and decide how best to spend the money before taking it from them.
If I only got a static page website with very little traffic (mainly information for people to browse), and I am happy to use the azure subdomain name, do I really get free web hosting forever or do I get charge after the 30 days trial ? I read the notes from azure saying after 30 days trial, everything will be removed unless I subscribe to one of their plan.
You can use the Free tier of Azure App Service for as long as you want, and continue to get free web app hosting for that small application or website you have. However, if you’re starting with a Free Trial subscription, then you’ll need to convert it to a pay-as-you-go at the end of the Trial or your Azure Subscription will be automatically suspended and your Web App will be unavailable.
Just wondering what you think would be the best way to host a single picture with a custom domain would be. I tried using the CDN but couldn’t get the origin to point correctly to the blob.windows/picture.jpg correctly. I don’t really want to spend the time putting together an html page if I don’t have to. It seems like it should be simple to set something up where http://www.customdomain.com -> blob/picture.jpg but I haven’t found a simple solution yet. Any ideas?
To have the root domain name point to the image within Blob Storage is not supported directly with just using an Azure Storage Account. An easy way to do this, would be to setup an Azure Function App with the custom domain, and then use an Azure Function Proxy to point the “http://customdomain.com” to “/blob/picture.jpg” within the Blob Storage Account.
Can I host my own website on Azure without its default subdomain? Ex- I need only myname.com and not myname.azurewebsites.net.
Yes, Azure Web Apps supports setting up custom domains.
Have a website hosted by GoDaddy can I host it with Microsoft and free support? BizNewsArticles.com
In order to have a custom domain mapped to your website (ala BizNewsArticles.com) you’ll need to pay for your Azure Web App hosting in Azure.
Is there a tutorial on how to set up a unique domain name, using the free account. I am a student and want to host a project website to deploy a MS Access DB online. From all indications this just might be a good venue to do such. I reliaze, Forms and reports will have to developed with .net or other in Visual Studio, or so I think
Currently, the Free Tier for Azure App Service Web Apps does not support custom domain.
I realize this is a very old page but I see you responded a couple of months ago and thought I would ask anyway. I have switched to pay as you go, was an accident as I have 27 days left of my free trial, but how can I make sure I will not be charged moving forward? I have a SQL DB which I am guessing will cost, so I guess I need to get rid of it, but my site is really more for a weather hobby and learning about azure not for a production kind of thing. I have switched my VM to the free, or what I think is the free one, but honestly how are we supposed to make sure we do not get charged for stuff? It would be nice if there was a way to see something like “this may cost you money” or something like that, or even “this is free within the quotas” but how much stuff costs is very confusing and very scary if the estimated costs happen. Thanks for any help you can give.
Once you switch to pay as you go you will be billed for what you use. If you go to the Subscription blade in the Azure portal you can see where your spend is at today, without waiting until the end of the month.
I have been reading this and have a question. If I make use of ‘free’ website option and while I do get mydomain.azurewwebsites.net and publish it, AND redirect all traffic from mydomain.com (editing DNS at networksolutions), then it should still be free at Azure. Right?
Yes. If you want to configure the custom domain for the site then you need to use a paid tier. The domain forwarding will work with the free tier.
What is the pricing for an option where you have your own virtual server? I would not want other sites sharing our Windows services.
All sites hosted in Azure App Service are run without their own sandbox type environment. This gives them full isolation (files system, memory, etc) so other customers sites can’t access their files and things. The Free and Shared tiers within App Service will host multiple customers sites on shared VMs underneath. If you use Basic, Standard or Premium pricing tiers then you get a dedicated VM underneath for just your apps.
Any shared OS would have access to the services on that OS. I am creating a service to run on my web server. I would not want any other web sites running in the same environment to have access to it. I would assume that this means that I will need at least basic. Now I need an estimate on a basic web server, with no database, that is not expecting much in the way of traffic, that is on it’s own virtual server, running IIS and able to run .NET based code (the service).
Azure App Service Web Apps run in an isolated, sandbox type environment. All apps on the same server can not access any resources of other apps on the server. This is the same for which ever pricing plan you choose for Azure App Service.