I recently decided to experiment with Windows Azure, and here are some lessons learned about running WordPress on Windows Azure. I wish I’d known these things before I started.
- Getting an install of WordPress on Windows Azure is as simple as they say it is. Moving an existing site over to it can be challenging.
- One thing they do not tell you – while you can run up to 100 Azure Websites, which could be WordPress, on a reserved Azure instance, you only get 1 MySql Database. As in one for the whole account. The one you do get seems to be very nice. When I first discovered this I almost scrapped the idea, but then I came across this blog post on using one MySql database for multiple WordPress accounts. All you have to do is change the line
$table_prefix = ‘wpGP_’;
and you’re all set
- You cannot change the maximum upload size – it is set at 2 megs and that is all you get. Since you are more less running in shared environment, that is not a bad thing
- However, I was moving my personal blog, which has been running for over seven years, and my initial import file was 14 megs in size. I fixed this by splitting the 1 xml file into 19 xml files. Tedious, but not difficult.
- Once all of the posts were in place it was a simple matter of migrating plugins and settings. Quite frankly I was thrilled with the performance and responsiveness.
All good so far, but then I ran into the largest problem, specifically CNames. Windows Azure uses CNames for EVERYTHING, which should not be a problem, but I hadn’t gotten around to moving that domain off of GoDaddy yet. While it was easy to add a CName for www.moodyloner.net, it was NOT possible to add a CName for moodyloner.net. This seems to be by design on Godaddy’s part. I’m not sure why. You can add a redirect of the domain in addition to changing the CName which is what I did. Then you wait for two hours.
About a half hour in I lost my patience and moved the DNS over to Zonomi. I was able to set everything up about five minutes and now I have a happy, responsive blog in the cloud.
Final thoughts about running WordPress on Windows Azure
I really like it. The site is nice, fast, and responsive. The permissions are configured properly out of the box and, now that I know all of these caveats, setting everything up should be easy going forward.