Exercise - Create a website hosted in Azure

As a technology professional, you likely have expertise in a specific area. Perhaps you're a storage admin or virtualization expert, or maybe you focus on the latest security practices. If you're a student, you may still be exploring what interests you most.

No matter your role, most people get started with the cloud by creating a website. Here you'll deploy a website hosted in an App Service.

Let's review some basic terms and get your first website up and running.

What is an App Service?

Azure App Service is an HTTP-based service that enables you to build and host many types of web-based solutions without managing infrastructure. For example, you can host web apps, mobile back ends, and RESTful APIs in several supported programming languages. Applications developed in .NET, .NET Core, Java, Ruby, Node.js, PHP, or Python can run in and scale with ease on both Windows and Linux-based environments.

We aim to create a website in less than the time it takes to eat lunch. Therefore, we're not going to write any code and will instead deploy a predefined application from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

What is the Microsoft Azure Marketplace?

The Microsoft Azure Marketplace is an online store that hosts applications that are certified and optimized to run in Azure. Many types of applications are available, ranging from AI + Machine Learning to Web applications. As you'll see in a couple of minutes, deployments from the store are done via the Azure portal using a wizard-style user interface. This user interface makes evaluating different solutions easy.

We're going to use one of the WordPress application options from the Azure Marketplace for our website.

Creating resources in Azure

Typically, the first thing we'd do is to create a resource group to hold all the things that we need to create. The resource group allows us to administer all the services, disks, network interfaces, and other elements that potentially make up our solution as a unit. We can use the Azure portal to create and manage our solution's resource groups. However, keep in mind that you can also manage resources via a command line using the Azure CLI. The Azure CLI is a useful option should you need to automate the process in the future.

In the free Azure sandbox environment, you'll use the pre-created resource group [sandbox resource group name], and you don't need to do this step.

Choosing a location

The free sandbox allows you to create resources in a subset of the Azure global regions. Select a region from this list when you create resources:

  • westus2
  • southcentralus
  • centralus
  • eastus
  • westeurope
  • southeastasia
  • japaneast
  • brazilsouth
  • australiasoutheast
  • centralindia

Create a WordPress website

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal using the same account you activated the sandbox with.

  2. Expand the left-hand navigation panel.

  3. From the top of the Azure portal navigation list, select Create a resource.

    Screenshot showing the Create a resource option

    This option takes you to the Azure Marketplace.

    Screenshot showing Azure marketplace]

  4. The Azure Marketplace has many services, solutions, and resources available for you to use. Since we know that we want to install WordPress, we can do a quick search for it. In the Search the Marketplace box above the listed application options, type in WordPress. Select the default WordPress option from the list of options available.

    Screenshot showing search results for the term WordPress

  5. In the newly presented panel, you'll typically find additional information about the item you're about to install, including the publisher, a brief description of the resource, and links to more information. Make sure to review this information. Select Create to begin the process to create a WordPress app.

    Screenshot showing WordPress image information

  6. Next, you're presented several options to configure your deployment. Enter the following information:

    Option Value
    App Name Choose a unique for the App name. It will form part of a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN).
    Subscription Make sure the Concierge Subscription is selected.
    Resource Group Select the Use existing radio button, then select the [sandbox resource group name] resource group from the drop-down list.
    Database Provider Select MySQL in App.
    App Service plan/location You'll change the App Service plan in the next step.
    Application Insights Leave at the default configuration.

    Your configuration should look like this:

    Screenshot showing app service configuration information

  7. Now let's configure the App Service plan to use a specific pricing tier. The App Service plan specifies the compute resources and location for the web app. Select App Service plan/location.

    Screenshot showing App Service plan link

  8. In the App Service plan panel, select Create new.

    Screenshot showing the Create new App Service plan button

  9. In the New App Service plan panel, enter a name for the new service plan.

  10. For Location, pick Central US to make sure we pick a region that allows the service plan you will pick. Normally, you would pick the region that is closest to your customers while offering the services you need.

  11. Select Pricing tier to see the performance and feature options of the various types of service plans.

    Screenshot showing the New App Service Plan configuration

  12. The Spec Picker allows us to select a new pricing tier for our application. This screen opens to the Production tab, with the S1 pricing tier selected. We'll select a new pricing tier from the Dev / Test tab for our website.

    Select the Dev / Test tab and select the F1 pricing tier. Then select Apply.

    Screenshot showing the notification information

  13. Back on the New App Service plan panel, select OK to create the new plan and close the panel.

  14. Finally, select the Create button to start the deployment of your new site.

Note

If you encounter an issue creating the resources, verify you've selected the F1 pricing tier in the new App Service plan. This is a requirement of the sandbox system when creating this WordPress site.

Verify your website is running

The deployment of the new website can take a few minutes to complete, and you're welcome to explore the portal further on your own.

We can track the progress of the deployment at any time.

  1. Select the notification bell icon at the top of the portal. If your browser window width is smaller, it may be shown when you click on the ellipsis (...) icon at the top right.

    Screenshot showing the notification bell button

  2. Select Deployment in progress... to see the details about all the resources that are created.

    Screenshot showing the notification information

    Notice how resources are listed as they're created and the status changes to a green check as each component in the deployment completes.

    Screenshot showing the notification information

  3. Once the deployment status message change to Your deployment is complete, you'll notice the status in the notification dialogue changes to Deployment succeeded. Select Go to resource to navigate to the App Service overview.

    Screenshot showing deployment status in the notification dialogue

  4. Find the URL in the Overview section.

    Screenshot showing overview of App Service information and url location

    Copy the URL information. Open a new tab in your browser and use the information to browse to your new WordPress site. You can now configure your WordPress website and add content.

    Screenshot showing pre-configured WordPress website