Creating a new website has never been easier. With just a few clicks in Windows Azure you can have a new website up and running, and then with just a few more you can create a brand new WordPress blog. If you haven’t guessed by now this site is running WordPress on Windows Azure. I am going to run through how to set up a WordPress blog and to set up the DNS in order to point your domain to it.
Setting up the Site
First, log into your Azure Management Portal and click the add button at the bottom of the screen. From there, click Computer -> Web Site -> From Gallery, which will open up a new window. If you want to just create a simple site you would choose quick create or custom rather than from gallery.
Once you click on From Gallery, a new window will come up, and then select the WordPress option and click next. The next page will have you create a new URL and database and also select what region you want that housed in. Accept the EULA for MySQL and click create.
Once your site is up and running you can navigate to it and go through the “Famous five minute WordPress installation process.”
Setting up a custom URL
If you want to add a custom URL to your new WordPress site, you must scale your site from a free model to a shared model. In order to do that you must first buy a domain name from your friendly neighborhood domain registrar. I use GoDaddy, but there are many other options out there. Once you have that purchased, log back into the Azure management portal and navigate to the dashboard for your site. Then click on the scale tab, select shared, and click save.
Next, move over to the configure tab. You should see a button for managing domains. Click that and a pop up comes up that tells you exactly what you need to do if you read all the fine print. At the bottom of the window you should see the IP address that you need for your A records. Copy that address and navigate over to your domain registrar and add your A record.
That record takes few hours to update and a day at most. Once your A record propagates, go back to your Azure management portal and add the domain to the list. Azure will verify that the A record exists before allowing you to continue. That will take care of the base URL ex. rivercityprogrammer.com. If you want to put the www in front you must add the awverify.www and www CNAME records to your DNS zone. And again, wait for the zone to propagate. Then go back to the management portal and add the full www domain to the domain list. After that you are good to go.
- Using Azure allows you to quickly create websites
- Combine Azure websites with the WordPress installation and you can be up and running in minutes
- Adding a custom domain to your site may take a few hours for all the records to propagate, but it is very easy to set up.