Azure Website 101 : How much it actually costs?

Now that you have decided to move your website into azure its time to have a look on the pricing that azure offers. At the time of this writing Azure grouped the entire pricing model into 4 different tiers. These tier might seems bit confusing at your first glance. You might be asking yourself which one is right tier for me? Well, to make things simple, here are the main differences and properties:

  • Free tier: The Free tier is ideal for experimenting with the platform, its actually a free playground for you to taste the experience of Azure Web Sites at no cost. Its also a good choice for development and test scenarios.  Free web sites have no SLA.
  • Shared tier: The Shared tier which is currently in preview allows you to develop and test in an environment with features such as custom DNS, unlimited bandwidth etc. These reduce some of the restrictive quotas associated with Free tier. However, shared web sites are still very much limited in capacity and feature set. Shared site have no SLA either.

Free Tier is running under shared CPU and traffic is throttled. With Shared tier the CPU is still shared , but you have unlimited bandwidth. Also note that when using Shared web sites, you are being charged per site.

  • Basic tier: Basic tier include all Azure Web Site core capabilities at a reduced price. It is mainly designed for web apps with lower traffic requirements and which do not need more advanced feature like auto scaling and traffic management. Basic pricing tier offers up to three instances of dedicated Virtual Machine, SSL support, Scheduled Jobs, Endpoint Monitoring, 99.95% SLA  and more. Pricing is based on the size and number of VM instances you run. Built-in network load balancing support automatically distributes traffic across the VM instances.
  • Standard tier: As the name said this tier should be your preferred choice for production site. Standard web sites leverage the full range of Azure Web Sites capabilities, enabling advance scenarios such as high-availability and improved DevOps. Standard tier includes built-in auto scale support that can automatically adjust the number of VM instances running to match your site traffic needs. It also includes built-in backup support.

You can use this online calculator to find out the estimated cost to run your website. All inbound data sent to Azure is free. No matter which tier you used the first 5 GB of outbound data transfers per billing month are always free (as you can see in the figure below). Outbound data is charged based on the total amount of data moving out of the Azure data centers via the Internet. Data transfer between azure services located in the same data center are free as well. For example, an Azure SQL database in the same region will not have any additional data transfer costs.

azure-website-101-pricing-calculator

For a more in-depth look at the Different Pricing Tiers and what they offer You can check this.

If you go in the deep of pricing you will find that a shared tier costs less than a Basic tier, but both the Basic and Standard pricing tier offer a dedicated Virtual Machines, on which you can run as many web sites as your Virtual Machine can handle and if you done this then you don’t have to pay bill for per website. For example if you are running 7 websites in a shared tier, then to save your penny probably its a good idea to move those sites into basic tier. Then instead of paying for 7 websites you only have to pay for one instance.

Following is a snap shot of the pricing tier taken from the preview portal. Please note the pricing may or may not remain same while you are reading this. For latest pricing visit the official page here.

azure-website-101-pricing

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