How to get Free Azure Services directly from Microsoft

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  • Post last modified:September 10, 2023
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Can you really get access to Azure for Free?

We are going to look at how you can sign up to Azure and get Free Azure Services. Yes that means by the end of this post you will be be able to sign up to Microsoft Azure and utilise their services without having to pay. 

This is primarily for new users of the Azure platform however if you have signed up in the past you may still be able to utilise their free service offerings.

Create a Free Azure account

Starting with Azure for Free is easy, simply head to https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/free/ and in the middle of that page you will see the button Start for free.

You will then be redirected to sign in with your Microsoft account. If you do not have now, fear not, simply create a new account.

Next you will be take you the Agreement and Identification page. You must agree to their terms, then verify your identity with your phone number and a payment card (don’t worry, you will not be charged).

That is it! you should now be signed up to the free trial! You can verify this by going to https://portal.azure.com/ and navigating to Subscriptions.

subscriptions

On the subscriptions page the only subscription you should see is the Free Trial subscription. (I have purposely blanked our by Subscription ID).

If you click on your Free Trial subscription you will be taken to a new page with lots of options to manage your subscription. I would like to highlight to you the Cost Management section and specifically Cost analysis. Here you can change your cost view to Daily costs or Cost by resource to accurately manage how much of your Free Azure Services you are spending.

Free Azure Services

It is also worth knowing that if you select the bell notification icon at the top right of the Azure Portal, you will see your remaining credit. This stays up to date as you utilise the Free Azure Services so you can return back to the notification to review your spending.

What Free Azure Services can I use?

During your trial period you can utilise any Azure Service and it will deduct the funds from your trial credits. This lasts for 30 days and once your credit is depleted you will need to convert your services to a pay-as-you-go subscription.

Alternatively there are an amount of Free Azure Services that are offered to you free for either 12 months or permanently. You can view a full and up to date list of these here.

A great place to start would be to create your first Virtual Machine!

Start by going to the Azure home page and under Azure Services click Create a resource.

In the Market place search for Windows Server. Select the top result which is named exactly Windows Server and click Create.

Next fill out the following sections:

  • Subscription: This will default to your Free Trial subscription
  • Resource Group: allow this to be automatically created
  • Virtual Machine Name: Set a relevant name for your virtual machine
  • Region: Choose the region closest to you!
  • Availability options: Leave these as default for now
  • Security type: To be left as standard (default)
  • Image: We are selecting the new Windows Server 2022 Datacentre: Azure Edition!
  • Size: Choose a relevant size for your workload, I recommend keeping this very small during your trial period.
  • Administrator account: Create a unique and secure username and password.
  • Inbound Ports: Leave as default so you can use RDP over the public IP address to connect to your virtual machine (do not do this in any production environment or if you virtual machines hold ANY data).
Once you are done click Review + Create. Azure will then validate the information you have entered and provision the virtual machine for you!

Upgrade your Free Trail Subscription without loosing your services

To upgrade your subscription to pay-as-you-go you can do so without any downtime. Simply open your Subscription page in the Azure Portal and click on the Free Trial subscription.

On the Overview Tab from the left hand menu, at the top you will see the Upgrade button. Click this and follow the on screen steps to upgrade your subscription.

Summary

To summarise there are many Free Azure Services that you can use for the first 12 months or even permanently in your test and production environments. Azure also allows new users to create a trial account which will give you $200 or £150 to spend during the first 30 days of use. Once that time is up you can just delete your services or convert the subscription to pay-as-you-go without loosing the work you have done.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Here are some other posts you may be interested in.

What is Azure Hybrid Benefit and How To Use It

Daniel Bradley

My name is Daniel Bradley and I work with Microsoft 365 and Azure as an Engineer and Consultant. I enjoy writing technical content for you and engaging with the community. All opinions are my own.

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