If you haven’t played around with Windows Azure yet, head to their signup page and get a free 3 months trial account (Google it).
Even after your trial is expired, you’ll still be able to create 10 free websites per data center (meaning, more than 10, technically).
Windows Azure lets you easily create websites in the matter of seconds, where after you can deploy your content very fast with Web Deploy in Visual Studio or Webmatrix, from a git repository and through ftp, to name some of the possibilities. It’s a convenient way to test your code or even run sites, depending on your website settings and goals.
Free websites are restricted to run as a subdomain under azurewebsites.net – eg. azurerockz.azurewebsites.net. To map your own domain name to your Azure website, you’ll have to scale your website to either a shared or standard plan (more about that in another topic).
Let’s create our first website!
1. Log into Azure portal by going to https://manage.windowsazure.com
2. Click the big plus icon on the bottom left
3. Compute > Web Site > Quick Create
4. Pick a web site name and choose region (data center) and click “Create Web Site”
(Choose a region where your target audience is located, and remember to choose same region when creating a SQL database. This will make your traffic between website and SQL server free and of course improve performance.)
In the matter of seconds your website is created and up running. You can see your running sites by clicking “Web Sites” in the menu to the left
Heading to your newly created website, will show you this welcome screen with help on how to publish content
In the Azure portal under Web Sites, click your newly created website and go to “Dashboard”. Here you’ll get an overview of resources used and other options. Try to click “Download the publish profile”. This profile contains login credentials for your website. You can either import the profile in Visual Studio or Webmatrix when you publish your site, or you can open it with your favourite text editor. The file contains hostname, username and password to use with FTP.
This is how the publish profile file looks like. I have marked out the hostname, username and password.