Get $200 To Spend On Azure, Plus Free E-Book


If you haven't yet heard of Microsoft Azure, it won't be long before you have.  Azure isn't a product as such, like a piece of software.  It's actually a series of datacentres around the world, which Microsoft claims to have spent some $15 billion dollars in establishing.  Those datacentres contain, between them, over a million servers, and you can rent one by the month or by the hour.  Whether you want to run a web site, or a complex database, or you just feel like trying out the idea of having a Windows PC in the cloud, Azure lets you do it.

Set up an account at and your first $200 of billable time is free, which is enough to run a low-spec server for more than a year.  Or if you merely want to host a basic web site, it's free forever.  But bear in mind that, once you've used up your $200 worth of time, charges will start to appear on your credit card unless you remember to cancel your account.

While Azure has been around for a while, and has indeed been mentioned by me in the past, new this month is a free and comprehensive 200-page e-book that tells you how to get started.  You'll find it at and it's downloadable in PDF format and others too.




Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
Average: 2.8 (8 votes)


It doesn't sound like it defaults to charging you automatically:

"If you exceed your $200 free credit, we will suspend your free trial account. You can optionally upgrade your trial to be a Pay-As-You-Go Azure subscription at this point if you want to continue using and paying for services. If not, don’t worry – you won’t be billed anything."

Question: Why would setting up a Web site be free forever? How is that not usage?

Edit (OK, found this):

Yes, as you have now found, basic web sites are free. Azure pricing is notoriously difficult to understand, because so many things are priced separately, but the $200 of free usage is a great way to play with your own cloud-based server for a few months without having to worry about cost. And the free book helps too.