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💡 Learn more : Get a free Azure account.
Azure is an extremely big and powerful cloud platform that you can use to develop and run your applications with. There are services to run your applications with, like Web Apps, VMs, Kubernetes, Logic Apps and many more. And there are lots of other services, that help you focus on the things that matter, instead of building plumbing. These are services like Cosmos DB, Cognitive Services, Azure Active Directory and many more.
If you are new to Azure or if you want to run an experiment on Azure, you can use it for free, for 12 months.
In this post, we'll explore how to create an Azure account that you can for free, and what's included in the offer.
To start your journey into Azure, you can go to https://azure.microsoft.com/free/. This takes you to the landing page of the free account offer, which looks like this:
(Free Azure account website)
You can explore the page to see what's included in the offer. This is what you get when sign up for a free Azure account:
12 months of free use of the following services:
You can use all of these services for free for 12 months, within the free service limits for the particular service. For instance, you get 750 hours of Windows Virtual Machine for free. You can spend these hours over 12 months.
$200 Azure credit for the first 30 days
If you want to use a service that is not in the list of free services, or if you use more than the free service limits, you get charged for that usage. In the first 30 days after you've created your free account, this charge is deducted from $200 that you get for free. When you've spent the $200 or your 30 days are up, you will be charged for any service usage that is beyond the free service limits.
Services that are always free to use
On top of the free services offer, there are Azure services that have a free tier that you can always use. These are the services that have a free usage tier:
Create your free account
Let's create a free account!
After a few moments, you Azure subscription is ready. Now, you can go to the Azure portal (https://portal.azure.com/) and start using Azure.
Now that you have a free account, you can start using Azure.
A great place to start is with the Azure Cognitive Services. These are services that provide AI-as-a-service. They come with pre-trained machine learning algorithms and are packaged as APIs that you can call. Take the Face API for instance. You can spin up an instance of it and send it an image of a person. It will tell you if it can see the person's face in the image and where it is in the image. And it will also tell you the gender of the person, estimated age, facial hair, glasses, emotion, hair and more. And you get 30.000 transactions for free!
Let's create a Cognitive Service:
Once the Cognitive Service is created, you can give the Face API a try by following one of the 5-minute quickstarts on this page.
You can also use one of the services that has a free tier. You can try that with Azure Web Apps. This has a free tier that you can use forever. The only catch is that the free tier isn't as powerful and doesn't have as many capabilities as paid tiers.
(Web Apps free tier in the Azure portal)
In the Azure portal, you can see the usage of your free services when you look at your subscription details:
You'll now see your usage for the free services, shown in percentage. Here, you'll also see your free $200 credit and if anything of that is used and for what.
(Free service usage in the Azure portal)
If you want to try Azure for free, you can! There are many services that you can use for free, for 12 months. On top of that, you get $200 to spend in the first month. And there are many services that always have a free usage tier, so that you can use them for free, or just try them out. Sign up now and check it out!