The Azure free subscription is a pay-as-you-go service that competes with AWS cloud computing platform. Microsoft Azure lagged significantly behind Amazon AWS, who dominated the cloud computing space with popular features such as API and software development, hosting virtual machines, and the hosting of active storage and large amounts of cold storage used mainly for archiving old data. However, Azure’s competitive pricing, trial subscriptions teasers, and incredible ease of use quickly closed the gap between them and their competitors.

To bring this Azure and AWS buzz more to life, start-up companies such as Instagram, Uber, Facebook, etc. that had exponential growth had to build out their own server infrastructure from scratch. Pre-2010, startup servers were bought, shipped, configured, and deployed at colo’s (servers and network devices co-located at data centers) around the world. They had this server infrastructure hosted at their local colocation and distributed it to alternate colocations in other regions.

Perhaps Akamai was the dominant player in creating their fault-tolerant network for hosting a website, video content, and other resources, but their service offering didn’t make it easy and wasn’t priced competitively enough to prepare for what AWS had in mind. There were plenty of other regional colo’s that simply didn’t have the money to compete with AWS service offering as well.

Basically, the market was pretty status quo; it got shaken up by the likes of Akamai in the late 90’s early 2000’s, but it wasn’t until AWS streamlined the ability to create an account and set up a server in minutes that cloud computing as we know it today really we took off; the only competitors now are the likes of Microsoft.

Azure Free Trial

Competition is good, Azure free subscriptions are better.  Microsoft Azure offers a 1-year free trial with $200 credit, which includes one year’s access to free services such as their blob storage, Azure virtual machines, and SQL databases (Structured Query Language). The $200 credit is a nice perk, but be aware that you only have 30 days to use it.

See Network Antics’ instructions below for how to get started with Microsoft Azure’s free subscription.

  1. Navigate to: Create Your Azure Free Account Today | Microsoft Azure
  2. Locate the ‘Start Free’ button and click on it.
  3. Log in with your MS free account (if you don’t have one, create it. If you’re not sure, two examples of MS accounts are  something@outlook.com or something@hotmail.com.
  4. Fill in your profile information and then confirm your identity with your mobile phone and credit card (note that prepaid cards are not accepted, and you cannot reuse the same card to abuse the Azure Free Trial offering).

Note: Don’t worry, you will not be charged anything for the verification process. After your Azure free subscription credit has been spent, you will be asked if you want to continue with a pay-as-you-go subscription. If you do, you’ll only pay if you use more than the free amount of services. If you want to opt out, no automatic charges will occur.

  1. After you are done, your Azure free subscription will be created and you will receive a confirmation email.

Azure Pay-As-You-Go subscription

Why pay for services that you don’t need? The beauty of Microsoft Azure’s pay-as-you-go service is that you only need to spend money on what you’re actually using, so it’s a great solution for any business owner looking for flexibility and scalability.

Whether you’re past the free trial period or you would like to upgrade your Azure subscription, we’ve included the steps for you to become a pay-as-you-go subscriber down below.

  1. Upgrade the subscription and add your credit card to the account (see image below).

  1. Select the support plan that you believe best suits your needs, or you can opt out from technical support and choose the ‘no technical support’ option.

Update Billing Contact Information

The following portion is where you will enter the information for where you want to send the monthly Azure subscription invoices.

  1. Navigate to Azure > Cost Management + Billing.
  2. Update the desired name.
  3. Update the client address and company name.

  1. Navigate to Billing Profile and update the contact information to make sure that the contact receives the invoices via email.

How to create an Azure free Subscription Summary

In response to its competition with AWS’ cloud computing services, Microsoft Azure has created a diverse range of offerings from website and database hosting to backup and recovery; if you have a service in mind, Azure most likely has you covered. With the Azure free subscription and pay-as-you-go option, it’s a great choice for anyone who values flexibility and also wants a well-rounded cloud computing service.

For more information on Microsoft Azure or our list of criteria for choosing the best website hosting platform, check out our other blog posts. Don’t forget to contact us if you need further assistance!

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