How to get an Azure Active Directory tenant

In Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), a tenant is representative of an organization. It is a dedicated instance of the Azure AD service that an organization receives and owns when it signs up for a Microsoft cloud service such as Azure, Microsoft Intune, or Office 365. Each Azure AD tenant is distinct and separate from other Azure AD tenants.

A tenant houses the users in a company and the information about them - their passwords, user profile data, permissions, and so on. It also contains groups, applications, and other information pertaining to an organization and its security.

To allow Azure AD users to sign in to your application, you must register your application in a tenant of your own. Publishing an application in an Azure AD tenant is absolutely free. In fact, most developers will create several tenants and applications for experimentation, development, staging and testing purposes. Organizations that sign up for and consume your application can optionally choose to purchase licenses if they wish to take advantage of advanced directory features.

So, how do you go about getting an Azure AD tenant? The process might be a little different if you:

Use an existing Office 365 subscription

If you have an existing Office 365 subscription, you already have an Azure AD tenant! You can sign in to the Azure portal with your O365 account and start using Azure AD.

Use an MSA Azure subscription

If you have previously signed up for an Azure subscription with your individual Microsoft Account, you already have a tenant! When you log in to the Azure Portal, you will automatically be logged in to your default tenant. You are free to use this tenant as you see fit - but you may want to create an Organizational administrator account.

To do so, follow these steps. Alternatively, you may wish to create a new tenant and create an administrator in that tenant following a similar process.

  1. Log into the Azure Portal with your individual account
  2. Navigate to the “Azure Active Directory” section of the portal (found in the left nav bar, under More Services)
  3. You should automatically be signed in to the "Default Directory", if not you can switch directories by clicking on your account name in the top right corner.
  4. From the Quick Tasks section, choose Add a user.
  5. In the Add User Form, provide the following details:

    • Name: (choose an appropriate value)
    • User name: (choose a user name for this administrator)
    • Profile: (fill in the appropriate values for First name, Last name, Job title and Department)
    • Role: Global Administrator
  6. When you have completed the Add User Form, and receive the temporary password for the new administrative user, be sure to record this password as you will need to login with this new user in order to change the password. You can also send the password directly to the user, using an alternative e-mail.
  7. Click on Create to create the new user.
  8. To change the temporary password, log into https://login.microsoftonline.com with this new user account and change the password when requested.

Use an organizational Azure subscription

If you have previously signed up for an Azure subscription with your organizational account, you already have a tenant! In the Azure Portal, you should find a tenant when you navigate to "More Services" and "Azure Active Directory." You are free to use this tenant as you see fit.

Start from scratch

If all of the above is gibberish to you, don't worry. Simply visit https://account.windowsazure.com/organization to sign up for Azure with a new organization. Once you've completed the process, you will have your very own Azure AD tenant with the domain name you chose during sign up. In the Azure Portal, you can find your tenant by navigating to "Azure Active Directory" in the left hand nav.

As part of the process of signing up for Azure, you will be required to provide credit card details. You can proceed with confidence - you will not be charged for publishing applications in Azure AD or creating new tenants.