Primarily Azure is known for Pay-As-You-Go, but it has some great features and some of those can be used free of cost and one of them is Azure App Service, which allows you to host your web application on Azure, Free of Cost for entire life time.
Azure App Service
Azure App Service offers a variety of applications which can be hosted under Azure App Service, but this article is limited to Web App. You can learn more about various type of application https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/try/app-service/
Creating Free Azure Service
Login to Azure Portal https://portal.azure.com
Click on App Services and you will see all your App Services panel as shown below (you will see your services listed if you will have any; which were created previously)
Click on +Add, and choose Web App from the screen as shown below
From the next screen as shown below click on Create. You may want to take a moment and read the text shown on the screen. I personally admire the Azure capabilities to even host PHP, Node.js or python and many more application types.
Now next screen will let you specify the name of the free app service.
Choosing Pricing Tier
After filling the details on the left Pane. Select “App Service plan/Location”, and from the right Pane, select “Create New” and a new window will appear as shown below. Enter Name and choose location of Azure Data-center to host your app service, and select Pricing Tier.
Click on Pricing Tier will popup a new screen; scroll to the bottom and you will see a free service tier option as shown below.
Make note that it offers only 1 GB space max, and it will be deployed on a shared infrastructure I.e. there might be other websites hosted under same IIS / Infrastructure. Also, note that it clearly and explicitly calls out 0.00 cost per month, I.e. it’s completely free and for lifetime. Click on “F1 Free” tier and click Select. Now “App Service Plan” pane will update to reflect the changes as shown below.
Verify the details and click OK, and now your “Web App” pane will pop up and show the changes applied to your App Service Plan and location as shown below.
Verify details and click “Create”. Your Free App Service deployment will start and you will notice that your “MyfreeAppService” will appear under “App Services” as shown below.
Click on the “MyfreeAppService” to explore this App Service and whole new pane with lot of options will load as shown below.
To Test this App Service, click on “Browse” button from the top of right pane and you will notice that website will load in your default browser as shown below.
As this website shows nothing worthwhile, and that is because we just created an Azure App Service which is Free and have no application code in it.
We need to deploy the application to this newly created Free App Service on Azure. Microsoft Visual Studio, and DevOps CI/CD are fully feature to let you deploy your web application to this app service and a separate article will better justify this requirement which is next logical step.
Can Pricing Tier be changed?
Yes, once your application starts to have more features and you want to make it scalable, secure and take advantage of Azure App Service features you may want to change Pricing Trier from Free to Paid. This can be done very easily and quickly; by selecting “App Service Plan” and then choosing the Pricing Tier which aligns with your evolving business and application needs.