Create a Linux virtual machine with the Azure CLI

The Azure CLI is used to create and manage Azure resources from the command line or in scripts. This guide details using the Azure CLI to deploy a virtual machine running Ubuntu server. Once the server is deployed, an SSH connection is created, and an NGINX webserver is installed.

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.

Launch Azure Cloud Shell

The Azure Cloud Shell is a free Bash shell that you can run directly within the Azure portal. It has the Azure CLI preinstalled and configured to use with your account. Click the Cloud Shell button on the menu in the upper-right of the Azure portal.

Cloud Shell

The button launches an interactive shell that you can use to run the steps in this topic:

Screenshot showing the Cloud Shell window in the portal

If you choose to install and use the CLI locally, this quickstart requires that you are running the Azure CLI version 2.0.4 or later. Run az --version to find the version. If you need to install or upgrade, see Install Azure CLI 2.0.

Create a resource group

Create a resource group with the az group create command. An Azure resource group is a logical container into which Azure resources are deployed and managed.

The following example creates a resource group named myResourceGroup in the eastus location.

az group create --name myResourceGroup --location eastus

Create virtual machine

Create a VM with the az vm create command.

The following example creates a VM named myVM and creates SSH keys if they do not already exist in a default key location. To use a specific set of keys, use the --ssh-key-value option.

az vm create --resource-group myResourceGroup --name myVM --image UbuntuLTS --generate-ssh-keys

When the VM has been created, the Azure CLI shows information similar to the following example. Take note of the publicIpAddress. This address is used to access the VM.

  "fqdns": "",
  "id": "/subscriptions/d5b9d4b7-6fc1-0000-0000-000000000000/resourceGroups/myResourceGroup/providers/Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/myVM",
  "location": "eastus",
  "macAddress": "00-0D-3A-23-9A-49",
  "powerState": "VM running",
  "privateIpAddress": "",
  "publicIpAddress": "",
  "resourceGroup": "myResourceGroup"

Open port 80 for web traffic

By default only SSH connections are allowed into Linux virtual machines deployed in Azure. If this VM is going to be a webserver, you need to open port 80 from the Internet. Use the az vm open-port command to open the desired port.

az vm open-port --port 80 --resource-group myResourceGroup --name myVM

SSH into your VM

Use the following command to create an SSH session with the virtual machine. Make sure to replace with the correct public IP address of your virtual machine. In our example above our IP address was

ssh <publicIpAddress>

Install NGINX

Use the following bash script to update package sources and install the latest NGINX package.


# update package source
apt-get -y update

# install NGINX
apt-get -y install nginx

View the NGINX welcome page

With NGINX installed and port 80 now open on your VM from the Internet - you can use a web browser of your choice to view the default NGINX welcome page. Be sure to use the publicIpAddress you documented above to visit the default page.

NGINX default site

Clean up resources

When no longer needed, you can use the az group delete command to remove the resource group, VM, and all related resources. Exit the SSH session to your VM, then delete the resources as follows:

az group delete --name myResourceGroup

Next steps

In this quick start, you’ve deployed a simple virtual machine, a network security group rule, and installed a web server. To learn more about Azure virtual machines, continue to the tutorial for Linux VMs.