We’re going to build ourselves a free WordPress site using Microsoft Azure App Service, which we can use for several purposes. I intend to use this platform for blogging and sharing information around Microsoft technologies. Thinking about it, “build” appears a strong word to use even for this task. We’ll see that it’s a relatively to go from zero to a working website with Azure Web App Service. In the end, we’ll have something comparable to a hosted WordPress site sans the custom domain (www.CustomDomain.com) because we’ll opt for the free services in Azure. Let’s begin.
Azure App Service for Web
1. Head on to Microsoft Azure, sign up for free, and get $200 credits for 30 days at the time of writing.
2. Upon signing in, search for “WordPress” and start creating your WordPress account. Actually, this site will be run off a Microsoft Azure Mobile + Web App Service.
• I chose “MySQL In App” in the Database Provider field. Hence, a database inside the app instance itself instead of creating and using a new Azure SQL service.
• The default Service Plan is a premium tier. I created a new App Service plan and chose F1. That plan is run off a shared infra with 1 GB RAM, and 60 min/day compute. A caveat of this free plan is Microsoft will shut down our app instance whenever it becomes idle. In other words, it will take about 20 seconds to start our WordPress site from its slumber.
3. Azure will take a short while to create our site. Upon completion, I suggest we open the app service by clicking “Go to the resource.”
4. After taking a gander on the parameters of this service (including the WordPress administrator’s username and password), head on to yourAppName.azurewebsites.net to start configuring and installing the site.
A few steps later, we’ll find ourselves on the Dashboard page of our own WordPress site hosted in Microsoft Azure.
If you were actively following this post and spent a few minutes to do this short project as well, you just used Microsoft Azure App Service. Here’s a post where I talked about this service in details. Realize that we didn’t have to create a VM, install OS and runtime, create containers, etc. Instead, we went straight ahead to what matters – creating our website.
More Use Case
Let’s bring this to a commercial/an enterprise context. Say that what we have created is an employee learning portal in a paid Azure Web App Service with all the bells and whistles. Often, a company doesn’t run training for their employees all year round. And for argument’s sake, let’s assume our fictitious company announces new training modules for employees every quarter.
Chances are, several corporate-climbers will log in right away and go through the course in the first week. On that certain period our web app will require significant computing power to run the learning portal. Assuming we deployed this portal on an appropriate Azure App Service Plan, Azure will scale the underlying infrastructure of our portal in the background. Sweet, no bottleneck and positive user experience!
After a week or two, when only a handful are catching up with their lessons, Azure will automatically scale down the infrastructure to address the demand at the time; until the next module is announced next quarter. Awesome, save money from infra cost!
Yes, my friends, that’s one of the several things we can do with an agile Azure Web App Service PaaS.