First off, this isn’t one of those fake “five minute” tutorials that take half an hour to go through. This really is easy. The only thing you’ll need for this tutorial is a Windows Azure account. If you don’t have one you can sign up for a one on www.windowsazure.com for free. Now then, let’s get started.
Step 1: Log into your account
Head over to manage.windowsazure.com and log in.
Step 2: Go to the Web Sites menu and create a new site
The button to access the web sites menu is at the top left of the page…
…and the button to create a new one is found at the bottom left.
Step 3: Create a new website from the “Gallery”
Step 4: Select the WordPress App
Select “Blogs” from the category list at the left-hand side of the window and pick “WordPress” from the list.
Step 5: Configure the site
Start by picking a URL. Your blog will officially be hosted at yoururl.azurewebsites.net, but you can choose to have this redirect to the domain name of your choice (more on that later). You’ll also need to specify that you want to create a new MySQL database for your blog. Finally, you’ll need to specify in what part of the world you’d like your blog to be hosted, and the Windows Azure account to associate with it.
Step 6: Accept the database TOS
Step 7: Get writing!
Seriously, that’s all there is to it! If you now look at the Web Sites page of the management portal you’ll see your new blog listed like so.
Clicking the provided address will take you to your blog where you’ll be met with a welcome page from WordPress which will allow you to create a blog admin account. You can then log in and write your first post!
Custom domain names
If you’re serious about starting a blog, the one thing that you’ll be missing right now is a custom domain name. Sure, myveryspecialblog.azurewebsites.net is great to get started, but it’s not terribly aesthetic. I won’t go on explaining the whole process of configuring a custom domain because Microsoft has already done so here, but the one thing I will mention is that in order to map your azurewebsites domain to your personal domain name you’ll need to change the “compute mode” of your blog from “Free” to “Shared”. Note that this change does come at a small, but very manageable cost. As an example, at the time of writing this blog which is hosted as a shared Azure Web Site costs a little less than €1.00 per hundred visitors to run.