Setup a blank WordPress site in Azure

One of the reasons WordPress is hugely popular is because it’s super easy to setup and has a large developer base around it which is responsible for creating many useful plugins. If you’re interested in setting up WordPress in Azure, look no further! Make sure you understand the pricing structure of Azure before you go this route. Often, the cost isn’t really worth the return unless you have 5+ blogs that you want to setup on Azure. You can stick to the Free or Shared ($10/mo) tiers, but the performance can suffer quite a bit depending on your site’s popularity and you may not get certain features like custom domains and SSL support.

Azure can be a little confusing for newcomers who don’t realize that some functionality is split across two different portal/management sites. One of these (the “new” portal) is in Preview status while the other (the “old” portal) is the status quo which should be used for most operations. You can follow either section below to achieve the same result, though one may be simpler than the other depending on your use cases.

“Old” Azure Portal

  1. Login to the “old” Azure Portal with your Microsoft Account.
  2. In the lower left, click New > Computer > Web App > Quick Create.
  3. Enter the URL name that you want. If you end up selecting the Shared pricing tier or above (Basic, Standard, Premium) you will have the option of setting up a custom domain. See my guide to doing this with Namecheap. Other domain name services have similar features.
  4. Choose an App Service Plan to under which the web app will be setup. This is important because it could determine how much you pay since each App Service Plan has an associated pricing tier. App Service Plans are basically collections of apps and services that you own in Azure. These will share the same resources setup by the plan and under the same pricing tiers. Read more about App Service Plans.
  5. In the lower right, click Create Web App.CreateBlankWordpress1
  6. Under the Web Apps section of the portal, you should see your new web app being setup or running.
  7. Click the web app that you just created.
  8. Click the “Download publish profile” link under the “Publish your app” section.CreateBlankWordpress2
  9. Download and install your favorite FTP software (I use FileZilla).
  10. Download the latest WordPress version.
  11. Open the publish profile file and pull out the “publishUrl”, “userName”, and “userPWD” under the “publishMethod=FTP” section.
  12. Use the above credentials with your FTP software to connect to the web app’s FTP folders.
  13. Extract the downloaded WordPress zip and upload them to the /site/wwwroot/ folder.CreateBlankWordpress3

“New” Azure Portal

  1. Login to the “new” Azure Portal with your Microsoft Account.
  2. In the upper left, click New > Web + Mobile > Web App.
  3. Enter the URL name that you want. If you end up selecting the Shared pricing tier or above (Basic, Standard, Premium) you will have the option of setting up a custom domain. See my guide to doing this with Namecheap. Other domain name services have similar features.
  4. Choose an App Service Plan to under which the web app will be setup. This is important because it could determine how much you pay since each App Service Plan has an associated pricing tier. App Service Plans are basically collections of apps and services that you own in Azure. These will share the same resources setup by the plan and under the same pricing tiers. Read more about App Service Plans.
  5. At the bottom of the current blade, click Create.CreateBlankWordpress4
  6. On the portal startboard, you should see your new web app being setup or running.
  7. Click the web app that you just created.
  8. Click the “Get publish profile” button at the top of the web app blade.CreateBlankWordpress5
  9. Download and install your favorite FTP software (I use FileZilla).
  10. Download the latest WordPress version.
  11. Open the publish profile file and pull out the “publishUrl”, “userName”, and “userPWD” under the “publishMethod=FTP” section.
  12. Use the above credentials with your FTP software to connect to the web app’s FTP folders.
  13. Extract the downloaded WordPress zip and upload them to the /site/wwwroot/ folder.

CreateBlankWordpress3

The Database

The above steps will only get you half way there. Since you now have the web server and web app setup and ready, you need to also get a database that WordPress can connect to and utilize. This can be some of the (overpriced) ClearDB options offered in Azure (not recommended, see my guide) or you can setup your own MySQL instances in an Azure Virtual Machine (again, see my guide). I’m also aware of some plugins that will allow you to connect to SQL Server, but I have no experience with it.

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