How to Start Developing in Azure for Free

There is a common misconception that in order to start cloud development you need to be open to the idea of shelling out payments monthly just to learn. This is simply not true for Azure.

Microsoft offers  3 perks for a new account.

  • Free $200 credit that is available to be used in the first 30 days after an account has been created.
  • Free monthly amounts for popular services available for the first 12 months.
  • Free monthly amounts for other services available indefinitely.

Microsoft will only charge you if you change your account to pay-as-you-go pricing and you will only be charged over the free monthly limits per service or resource. If you are still concerned and want to track your current bill by viewing your subscription in Azure Portal.

So what services are free and what are the limits? For an accurate representation visit the free services page on Azure but feel free to view the snapshot below for reference.

Azure serviceDescriptionTypeFree monthly amountFree period
Get personalized recommendations and best practices for Azure.Management and governanceUnlimitedAlways
Anomaly Detector
Detect anomalies in data to quickly identify and troubleshoot issues.AI + machine learning20,000 transactions S0 tier12 months
App Configuration
Store and manage configurations for all your Azure apps.Developer tools1,000 requests per day with 10 MB storageAlways
App Service
Quickly create powerful apps for any platform or device using your choice of tools including Node.js and PHP.Compute10 web, mobile, or API apps with 1 GB storageAlways
Archive Storage
Store and manage rarely accessed data with locally redundant storage (LRS) or geo-redundant storage (GRS).Storage10 GB LRS storage, 10 GB LRS or GRS write and retrieval, and 100 reads12 months
Simplify cloud management with process automation.Management and governance500 minutes of job runtimeAlways
Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)
Enable identity and access management in the cloud.Identity50,000 stored objects with single sign-on (SSO) to all cloud appsAlways
Azure Arc
Extend Azure management and services.Hybrid + multicloudFree Azure control plane functionality for resources outside Azure, search and indexing for Azure Arc-enabled resourcesAlways
Azure Cosmos DB
Build modern apps at any scale using a fast NoSQL database with open APIs.Databases400 request units per-second provisioned throughput with 25 GB storage12 months
Azure Cosmos DB
Build modern apps at any scale using a fast NoSQL database with open APIs.Databases1,000 request units per-second provisioned throughput with 25 GB storageAlways
Azure Database for MySQL
Host a fully managed, scalable MySQL database in Azure.Databases750 hours of Flexible Server—Burstable B1MS Instance, 32 GB storage, and 32 GB backup storage12 months
Azure Database for PostgreSQL
Build intelligent, scalable apps with fully managed database for PostgreSQLDatabases750 hours of Flexible Server Preview—Burstable B1MS Instance, 32 GB storage, and 32 GB backup storage12 months
Azure DevOps
Build apps in any language using Git repos, CI/CD, and build and release automation.Developer tools5 users with unlimited private Git reposAlways
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
Deploy and manage containers using the tools you choose.ComputeFreeAlways
Azure Lighthouse
Manage service providers with Zero Trust access controls.Management and governanceFreeAlways
Azure Migrate
Discover, assess, right-size, and migrate your on-premises virtual machines to Azure.MigrationFreeAlways
Azure Policy
Achieve real-time cloud compliance at scale with consistent resource governance.Management and governanceFree access to configuration and change tracking featuresAlways
Azure SignalR Service
Add real-time communications into your web applications.Web20 concurrent connections per unit and 20,000 messagesAlways
Bandwidth (Data Transfer)
Transfer data inbound and outbound through our robust network of global data centers.Networking15 GB outbound12 months
Bandwidth (Data Transfer)
Transfer data inbound and outbound through our robust network of global data centers.Networking5 GB outboundAlways
Scale your application in the cloud with job orchestration and scheduling for HPC applications.ComputeFreeAlways
Blob Storage
Use massively scalable object storage for any type of unstructured data.Storage5 GB locally redundant storage (LRS) hot block with 20,000 read and 10,000 write operations12 months
Bot Service
Develop intelligent, enterprise-grade bots that scale on demand.AI + machine learning10,000 premium channel messages and unlimited standard channel messagesAlways
Cognitive Search
Include a cloud search service in your web and mobile application.AI + machine learning50 MB storage for 10,000 hosted documents and 3 indexes per serviceAlways
Computer Vision
Extract rich information from images to categorize and process visual data.AI + machine learning5,000 transactions for each S1, S2, and S3 tier12 months
Container Registry
Store and manage container images across all types of Azure deployments.Containers1 Standard tier registry with 100 GB storage and 10 webhooks12 months
Content Moderator
Moderate text and images to provide a safer, more positive user experience.AI + machine learning10,000 transactions S0 tier to moderate or review12 months
Custom Vision
Easily customize computer vision models for your unique use case.AI + machine learning10,000 predictions S0 tier, one training hour, two projects with 5,000 training images each12 months
Data Catalog
Get more value from your enterprise data assets.AnalyticsUnlimited usersAlways
Data Factory
Compose and manage data services at scale.Analytics5 low-frequency activitiesAlways
Database Migration Service
Simplify on-premises database migration to the cloud.DatabasesFree Standard ComputeAlways
DevTest Labs
Enable fast, easy, and lean dev-test environments.Developer toolsFreeAlways
Event Grid
Get reliable event delivery at massive scale.Integration100,000 operations per monthAlways
Detect, identify, analyze, organize, and tag faces in images.AI + machine learning30,000 transactions S0 tier12 months
Detect, identify, analyze, organize, and tag faces in images.AI + machine learning30,000 transactions of Free instanceAlways
File Storage
Migrate to simple, distributed, cross-platform file storage without changing code.Storage5 GB locally redundant storage (LRS) file storage12 months
Form Recognizer
Automate the extraction of text, key/value pairs, and tables from your documents.500 pages S0 tier12 months
Process events with a serverless code architecture.Compute1 million requestsAlways
Immersive Reader
Embed text reading and comprehension capabilities into applications.AI + machine learning3 million charactersAlways
IoT Edge
Extend cloud intelligence and analytics to IoT edge devices.Internet of ThingsFree, open-source edge runtimeAlways
IoT Hub
Connect, monitor, and manage IoT assets with a scalable platform.Internet of Things8,000 messages per day and .5 KB message meter size of Free editionAlways
Key Vault
Safeguard and maintain control of keys and other secrets.Security10,000 transactions RSA 2048-bit keys or secret operations, Standard tier12 months
Language Understanding (LUIS)
Build natural language understanding into apps, bots, and IoT devices.AI + machine learning10,000 text request transactions S0 tier12 months
Load Balancer
Add scale, availability, and network performance to your applications instantly.NetworkingFree public load-balanced virtual IP12 months
Logic Apps
Build automated integration solutions across clouds and on-premises systems.Integration4,000 built-in actions with the Consumption planAlways
Machine Learning
Develop and run R and Python models on your platform of choice.AI + machine learning100 modules and 1 hour per experiment with 10 GB storageAlways
Managed Disks
Get high performance, durable block storage for Azure Virtual Machines with simplified management.Storage2 64 GB (P6) solid state drives SSD storage, plus 1 GB snapshot and 2 million I/O operations12 months
Media Services, Encoding feature
Index, package, protect, and stream video and audio at scale.Media20 output minutes Standard encoder video or audio source file encoding12 months
Gain full observability into your applications, infrastructure, and network.Management and governanceSee Azure Monitor pricing details for free amounts per featureAlways
Network Watcher
Monitor, diagnose, and gain insights into your network performance and health.Networking5 GB storage with 1,000 checks, 10 tests, and 10 connection metricsAlways
Notification Hubs
Send push notifications to any platform from any back end.Mobile1 million push notifications with free namespaceAlways
Open Datasets
Accelerate machine learning with curated datasets.AI + machine learningFree (egress charges may apply)Always
Deliver rich, personalized experiences for every user.AI + machine learning50,000 transactions S0 tier12 months
Private Link
Privately access services on Azure, keeping your data on the Microsoft network.NetworkingFreeAlways
QnA Maker
Create a conversational question-and-answer bot from your existing content.AI + machine learning3 managed documents S0 tier12 months
Security Center
Prevent, detect, and respond to threats with increased visibility and control over the security of your Azure resources.SecurityFree policy assessment and recommendationsAlways
Service Bus
Get reliable cloud messaging as a service with simple hybrid integration.Integration750 hours and 13 million operations Standard tier base unit12 months
Service Fabric
Build and operate always-on, scalable, distributed apps.ContainersFreeAlways
Spatial Anchors
Build mixed reality apps that map, share, and persist 3D content.Mixed reality10,000 anchors queriedAlways
Speech to Text
Transcribe spoken audio to text.AI + machine learning5 audio hours each of Standard, Custom, and Conversation Transcription Multichannel Audio, 1 Custom endpoint hosting modelAlways
Speech Translation
Integrate real-time speech translation into your app.AI + machine learning5 audio hours StandardAlways
SQL Database
Create a SQL database that delivers intelligence built-in.Databases250 GB S0 instance with 10 database transaction units12 months
SQL Server 2019 Developer Edition
Build, test, and demonstrate applications in a nonproduction environment.Developer toolsFreeAlways
Static Web Apps
Streamline full-stack development from source code to global high availability.Compute100 GB bandwidth per subscription, 2 custom domains and .5 GB storage per appAlways
Text Analytics
Extract information such as sentiment, key phrases, named entities, and language from your text.AI + machine learning5,000 transactions S0 tier12 months
Text to Speech
Build apps that convert text to lifelike speech.AI + machine learning5 million characters Standard, 500,000 characters Neural, and 5 million characters Custom, 1 Custom endpoint hosting modelAlways
Add real-time, multi-language text translation to your apps, websites, and tools.AI + machine learning2 million characters S0 tier12 months
Virtual Machines—Linux
Create Linux virtual machines with on-demand capacity in seconds.Compute750 hours B1s burstable virtual machines12 months
Virtual Machines—Windows
Create Windows virtual machines with on-demand capacity in seconds.Compute750 hours B1s burstable virtual machines12 months
Virtual Network
Provision private networks and connect to on-premises datacenters.Networking50 virtual networksAlways
Visual Studio Code
Boost productivity with a powerful, lightweight code editor for cloud development.Developer toolsFreeAlways
VPN Gateway
Establish secure, cross-premises connectivity.Networking750 hours VpnGw1 Gateway Type12 months
Drew Demechko

Drew Demechko

Dallas, TX