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I imagine the (up to) 10 free websites one can run on Windows Azure isn't completely free. When going through the calculator, what's paid for? Assuming the site was simply an HTML5 site with no database (at least, no database hosted on Windows Azure).

Storage? Storage transactions? Bandwidth? I'm looking at this calculator.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

John C's answer is not correct, though I had to sign up to find out the differences. The documentation about pricing is really a nightmare, and the calculator is also not of much help.

The Free model is different from Shared, this is a screenshot of the control panel:

Free, shared and reserved

The differences are:

  • With the free model, you do not get any IP address to point your DNS to, so you can only redirect your URL (CREF) to the free url which is [yoursite].azurewebsites.net (so the catch is free advertising for Azure via your URL).

  • The shared model is almost the same as free, but you get an extra feature in the control panel to configure domains. Then you can link up the DNS using an A record.

  • The reserved model is a reserved VirtualMachine-like model. I'm not sure if you can install SQL-Server Express on there which might make it slightly more attractive than the shared model (where you pay for the SQL Server database). I'm still investigating this. Any way, you can add instances for load balancing in this model.

I'm on the 90 day trial right now but I'm a bit disappointed with the performance. Maybe I've deployed to the wrong datacenter. It seemed like West-europe could not provide a SQL-Server/Web-server combination, so I chose North-europe. I think it's all allot more expensive than a traditional ISV, but it does provide allot more freedom and control and scalability than, for example, PLESK.

Edit: I've written an article that compares traditional "Shared", VPS, Azure and Amazon hosting. It includes links to 3 times the same website, one on Azure, Amazon's free service and one on shared hosting.

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Please note that "above" has no context within answers, since answers can be sorted in a number of different ways. –  Al E. Mar 13 '13 at 0:50
    
Good point, I changed it to "the accepted answer". –  Louis Somers Mar 13 '13 at 1:02
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Which is problematic in itself, as this is now the accepted answer. Better to use a link to the answer, or at least name the author. (But this latter is also problematic, as user names can be changed and accounts can be deleted.) –  Al E. Mar 13 '13 at 12:33
    
Thanks, I have to get used to this dynamically changing world :-) –  Louis Somers Mar 14 '13 at 20:46

The websites only appear to be free for 12 months and if you already have an Azure subscription of some kind (or for the length of the 90-day trial if you use one of those).

If you do have that, then the limitations are listed on this page.

During the Windows Azure Web Sites preview under the shared instances model, you will receive the following per month at no charge:

Web Sites: Up to 10 web sites
Data Transfers: 165 MB of outbound data transfers per day, per subscription; unlimited inbound data transfers
Storage: 1 GB
Relational Database: 20 MB of a third-party, MySQL database

So fine if you are doing a low traffic website.

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Nice find, thank you. –  Chad Jul 19 '12 at 6:38
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Check what happens if you exceed 165MB : Azure Websites Free Mode–What happens when exceeding daily download limit 165MB –  Naveen Nov 19 '12 at 9:42

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