MMS • Sergio De Simone
One year after introducing WordPress on Azure App Service, Microsoft has started offering a free hosting tier for developers to explore with WordPress on Azure without incurring any costs (almost).
The new WordPress playground relies on App Service F1 free tier and on Azure Database for MySQL free trial and may entail charges depending on your subscription type to those services.
In particular, while App Service F1 will not generate any cost, database usage is chargeable for “pay as you go” plans or when the usage limit of 750 hours per month for 12 months is exceeded. So, in order to ensure they will not pay for the WordPress playground, developers should monitor and track their database usage.
While not suitable for production deployment, says Microsoft, the playground will help developers understand if the service fits their needs. This is mostly due to some limitations to both the WebApp server and the database server. Specifically, the F1 free tier includes up to 60 CPU minutes per day, 1 GB RAM, and 1 GB Storage, while the database free trial is limited to 1 vCores, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, and 396 IOPS.
In their announcement, Microsoft emphasizes the optimizations and additional features they built into WordPress for App Service, including easy deployments, inbuilt Redis cache, and accelerated WP admin thanks to local storage caching.
At the same time, Microsoft also brings the attention to a few limitations besides those listed above for free tiers, such as services line CDN, Front Door, Blob Storage, and Email Service not being included in the free plan, and local storage being limited to 500MB maximum. Additionally, the “Scale out” and “Always on” capabilities are not supported, nor is VNET, which enables creating virtual networks to improve security.
Azure App Service is a service that enables hosting web applications, REST APIs, and backends written in languages such as .NET, .NET Core, Java, Ruby, Node.js, PHP, and Python. It offers auto-scaling and high availability, support for both Windows and Linux, and enables automated deployments from GitHub, Azure DevOps, or any Git repo.