Azure accounts and subscriptions

With a free Azure account and subscription, you can build, test, and deploy enterprise applications, create custom web and mobile experiences, and gain insights from your data through machine learning and powerful analytics.

What is an Azure account?

An Azure account is tied to a specific identity and holds information like:

  • Name, email, and contact preferences
  • Billing information such as a credit card

An Azure account is what you use to sign in to the Azure website and administer or deploy services. Every Azure account is associated with one or more subscriptions.

What is an Azure subscription?

An Azure subscription is a logical container used to provision resources in Microsoft Azure. It holds the details of all your resources like virtual machines, databases, etc.

Subscription types

Azure offers free and paid subscription options to suit different needs and requirements. The most commonly used subscriptions are:

  • Free
  • Pay-As-You-Go
  • Enterprise Agreement
  • Student

Azure free subscription

An Azure free subscription includes a $200 credit to spend on any service for the first 30 days, free access to the most popular Azure products for 12 months, and access to more than 25 products that are always free. This is an excellent way for new users to get started. To set up a free subscription, you need a phone number, a credit card, and a Microsoft account.


Credit card information is used for identity verification only. You won’t be charged for any services until you upgrade.

Azure Pay-As-You-Go subscription

A Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) subscription charges you monthly for the services you used in that billing period. This subscription type is appropriate for a wide range of users, from individuals to small businesses, and many large organizations as well.

Azure Enterprise Agreement

An Enterprise Agreement provides flexibility to buy cloud services and software licenses under one agreement, with discounts for new licenses and Software Assurance. It's targeted at enterprise-scale organizations.

Azure for Students subscription

An Azure for Students subscription includes $100 in Azure credits to be used within the first 12 months plus select free services without requiring a credit card at sign-up. You must verify your student status through your organizational email address.


Whether you are an individual, a small business, an enterprise, or a student, you need a subscription to use Azure services. The typical sequence is to start with a free subscription so that you can evaluate Azure services. When your trial period expires, you will convert from the free subscription to Pay-As-You-Go.