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In a move that will likely excite many web developers and content creators, Microsoft has recently released the public preview of their free hosting plan for WordPress on App Service. This move comes one year after they made the General Availability announcement of WordPress on App Service in August 2022.


This article delves into the specifics of this exciting announcement, breaking down the benefits, eligibility, features, and some limitations of this new venture.


Microsoft's Free Hosting for WordPress: What You Need to Know
Microsoft Unveils Free WordPress Hosting: Full Breakdown


  • Free Hosting Trial
  • Updated Hosting Plans
  • Eligibility Based on Subscription
  • Feature-Rich Environment
  • Important Limitations



The Motive Behind the Free Plan

The introduction of this free hosting plan comes as a response to user feedback. Microsoft realized that potential users often wanted to sample the service before committing fully, especially with the migration of production applications. To accommodate this, Microsoft has provided a "playground", where users can explore and experiment without any financial commitment.


However, it's essential to note that this hosting plan is strictly for experimental and exploration purposes. Microsoft recommends against using it for production setups due to its limitations.



A Look at the Hosting Plans

Microsoft detailed the updated hosting plans. They are:

  • Free Plan:
    • WebApp Server: F1 Free Tier with 60 CPU minutes/day, 1 GB RAM, and 1 GB Storage.
    • Database Server: Burstable B1ms Free trial with 1 vCore, 2 GB RAM, and 32 GB storage.
  • Basic Plan:
    • WebApp Server: B1 with 1 vCore, 1.75 GB RAM, and 10 GB Storage.
    • Database Server: Burstable B1s with 1 vCore, 1 GB RAM, and 20 GB storage.
  • Standard Plan:
    • WebApp Server: P1V2 with 1 vCore, 3.5 GB RAM, and 250 GB Storage.
    • Database Server: Burstable B2s with 2 vCores, 4 GB RAM, and 128 GB storage.
  • Premium Plan:
    • WebApp Server: P1V3 with 2 vCores, 8 GB RAM, and 250 GB Storage.
    • Database Server: General Purpose D2ds_v4 with 2 vCores, 16 GB RAM, and 256 GB storage.




Microsoft's free hosting plan is tethered to App Service F1 free tier and the Azure Database for MySQL free trial. Your eligibility varies based on your subscription type. For instance, those with a Free Account or Student Account get 750 hours/month for 12 months for the Azure Database.


Features and Limitations

The free hosting plan boasts several exciting features, including automated deployments, Redis cache integration, accelerated WP Admin, and PhpMyAdmin for database management.


However, it's crucial to understand its limitations:

  • Limited capabilities compared to the Basic or Standard plans.
  • No integration with paid services like CDN, Front Door, and Email Service.
  • Restrictions on local storage caching and absence of certain support features like VNET and 'Always on' in the Free Tier.



Transitioning to Higher SKUs

If you outgrow the free tier, Microsoft provides the flexibility to scale up your App Service to a more advanced SKU that better matches your workload.


Monitoring and Tracking

Microsoft ensures transparency in usage and billing. While the Azure App Service F1 SKU is forever free, users must remain within the limits of the Azure Database for MySQL free trial. Microsoft provides tools to track and monitor free service usage, ensuring no unexpected costs.



Final Thoughts

Microsoft's introduction of a free hosting plan for WordPress on App Service showcases their commitment to adapting and evolving based on user feedback. It provides a risk-free environment for users to understand the service's capabilities. However, potential users must be mindful of its limitations and ensure that they operate within the prescribed bounds.


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