Setting up a WordPress website with Azure

  1. Start an Azure trial or sign-in into your Microsoft Azure management portal.
  2. Select WEB SITES and choose NEW > WEB SITE > FROM GALLERY
  3. Select BLOGS > WordPress
  4. Enter unique site URL at * (you will be able to add your own domain name later). Choose MySQL database option and preferred region. Deployment Settings are optional and can be skipped.
  5. Setup your WordPress site by visiting your Azure Website’s URL http://* in your browser.
  6. To setup custom domain name URL you will have to upscale from FREE to STANDARD. In your website menu select SCALE > STANDARD.
  7. Select CONFIGURE > domain names > manage domains
  8. Enter your custom URL. You will also need to make a note of the CNAME record awverify.www.* to verify ownership and the IP ADDRESS provided to update your DNS A-Record.
  9. Go to your domain registrar control panel to modify the domain’s DNS Records.
    Add the CNAME record awverify.www.*
    (Note: some registrars require Canonical names to have an extra ‘.’ at the end)

  10. You will also need to remove any existing A Records and replace with a new A Record pointing to your Azure Website’s IP Address.
  11. Once your DNS changes are in sync (usually 1-2 hours), you can update the domain settings in your Azure Website’s WordPress control panel to match your domain.
  12. Finally, I would activate Settings > Permalinks using one of the presets or a custom structure. This enables a number of benefits including SEO friendly URLs so your keywords can appear in the URL address bar. Also advanced users can navigate using your URL address. Tip: for huge blogs it maybe advisable to start with a number (like %year% or %post_id%) for speed.
  13. Just one more thing… It’s probably a good idea to backup your WordPress website so you can rollback if a WordPress update ever goes wrong. Azure BACKUPS is a new feature which automatically backs up to a STORAGE data service. When creating a new Storage component I would select a different region and set replication to ‘Locally Redundant’ which is the most cost effective option.

Thanks @plankytronixx for the Azure Websites bootcamp!

UPDATE: I also found this post very helpful in setting up advanced DNS settings for Azure Websites.