Installing WordPress on an Azure App Service

Spin up a WordPress website within minutes

WordPress logo and an Azure App Service icon placed over a photo from Unsplash
WordPress logo and an Azure App Service icon placed over a photo from Unsplash

Introduction

While creating WordPress content for my YouTube channel, I relied on using my Azure experience to host a WordPress website. This works out great because with just a few clicks and at no extra cost, I can spin up a WordPress website very easily, and once I’ve completed recording my video content, I can delete all the resources. In this article, I’ll give you a quick introduction on WordPress and then I’ll explain the process of installing WordPress on an Azure App Service.

Wait, what’s WordPress?

WordPress is a very popular CMS software that you can use to easily create websites. You can create a whole range of websites right from a simple personal portfolio to a complex learning management system.

Being a Content Management System (CMS), WordPress allows you to create, modify and delete content without making any code changes. Using plugins, it also allows you to add or remove functionality on-the-go. With so many themes readily available with a lot of customization options, creating a well-designed website isn’t too far out of reach.

WordPress.org or WordPress.com?

The big question for everyone starting out with WordPress.

WordPress.org is the open-source software that provides you with the CMS functionality. It’s the underlying engine that you can install on a supported hosting platform.

WordPres.com, on the other hand, is a blogging website that’s built on top of the WordPress engine. It’s a Software as a Service (SaaS) — which means that for a monthly cost, they take care of installing WordPress, hosting your website, ensuring that your website is always up and running and taking regular backups— all you need to do is just click a few buttons to sign up and off you go!

Let’s begin

Let’s start by searching for WordPress in Azure’s global search located at the top of the screen. From the Marketplace section, select WordPress.

Selecting WordPress from the Azure Marketplace
Selecting WordPress from the Azure Marketplace

Click on the Create button to proceed to the next screen where you’ll enter all the details.

We’ll give it a suitable App name. This app name will also become our website URL, so choose wisely! Next, select the Azure Subscription you want this resource to be charged to. Immediately after that, we’ll select the Resource Group — this allows us to logically organise our resources.

Configuring an App Service in Azure
Configuring an App Service in Azure

From the Database Provider dropdown, we’ll select MySQL In App. There are a few other options in there — all of which are just different ways you can create the database for this WordPress site.

Selecting MySQL In App from the list of database providers in Azure
Selecting MySQL In App from the list of database providers in Azure

MySQL In App runs a local MySQL instance with your app and shares resources from the App Service plan. There is no extra cost for this database. You cannot access the database using external tools like Workbench or MySQL CLI. Apps using MySQL In App are not intended for production environments, and they will not scale beyond a single instance. Read more about the limitations in this official blog post.

Now, let’s select App Service plan/Location to choose either an existing App Service plan or create a new one. This decides how much you’ll be paying for the App Service itself. If you’re following along, you can select a free tier as well.

Finally, select Application Insights and enable it so you can configure an Application Insights resource or disable it if you don’t require Application Insights right now. Don’t worry, you can always connect your App Service with an Application Insights resource later should you change your mind.

After entering all the details, click on Create. This will spin up your resources and in a few moments, you would be able to access it in the Azure portal.

Fun fact: In the background, Azure pulls all the required WordPress files from this GitHub repository.

Now, head over to the App Service you just created and click on Browse so you can head over to the website in a different browser tab. Note the URL — it contains your App Service name.

The first thing you would see is the WordPress installation page. Let’s start by selecting the language and then click on Continue.

Selecting your WordPress language during installation
Selecting your WordPress language during installation

Then in the installation page, enter your site information. Securely store the username and password as that would be the admin’s credentials for the site. You can then log in using these credentials and create accounts for your team if required.

Configuring site information in WordPress during installation
Configuring site information in WordPress during installation

Click on the Install WordPress button to begin the famous 5-minute WordPress installation.

Image of successful WordPress installation
Image of successful WordPress installation

Click on the Log In button to head over to the login screen.

Login to WordPress
Login to WordPress

Enter your username and password and then click on Log In to head over to your WordPress dashboard. It should look something like the following screenshot. Hooray!

Image of WordPress dashboard
Image of WordPress dashboard

Accessing MySQL via phpMyAdmin

For those who have used MySQL in the past, you would be hoping to see the phpMyAdmin portal to manage your database. In this scenario, search for and select MySQL In App option from the left menu list and then select Manage from the screen that opens.

Image showing how to access phpMyAdmin portal
Image showing how to access phpMyAdmin portal

phpMyAdmin comes installed and Azure should automatically take care of the login for you and redirect you to the phpMyAdmin portal.

Image of phpMyAdmin portal
Image of phpMyAdmin portal

Have fun customizing your WordPress website. Feel free to leave a link of your website in the comments and I’d love to check it out.

That’s it. Thanks for reading!

Software developer. Teaches online at @skillshare. Created @lightnsparknpo. Author of http://mamatellmeastory.clydedsouza.net

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