On June 6th, 2012, when we launched the world-class platform-as-a-service (PaaS) named Azure Websites—and later expanded to Azure App Service—one of our central promises was to offer a plan that always remained free. Our goal back then was to give developers the flexibility to build, deploy, and scale web apps and APIs on their own terms, regardless of price. Today, we remain just as committed to that goal—and are doubling down on our commitment to improving and growing the free tier alongside our premium offerings.
The free tier captures the world-class benefits of the App Service platform
Like the other App Service plans—from Basic to Isolated to Premium—the free tier is a fully managed platform that enables developers and organizations around the world to embrace cloud development and app modernization. As such, the free tier benefits from the work we do at a platform level. For example, when we launched App Service, we initially offered hosting for Windows workloads. Over the years, we have extended support to include Linux workloads—you can now deploy your applications both from code and as a container image. Furthermore, we’ve improved the underlying compute power of the platform so that the free Linux SKU runs exclusively on the latest generation of Azure VMs.
Another example of our extensive support for every tier is App Service’s simple integration with GitHub, through GitHub Actions deployments. While this is a powerful feature for professional developers, people without years of experience can use it just as easily. And by externalizing the build, GitHub integrations have the added benefit of reducing the amount of CPU quota used on App Service. Ultimately, this means that you can offload the cost of the compute required to build your code to GitHub and leave cycles for running applications.
Furthermore, deep integrations with Visual Studio Code enable users to deploy code to the cloud in seconds, with a minimal number of clicks. These integrations with Visual Studio Code mean that users can also develop, deploy, and manage Azure apps efficiently without leaving their development environment. The value of the free tier is extended when used as a pre-production environment, with support for both code and container scenarios. Leveraging the high-fidelity features of the paid tier, you can test applications without financial risk.
Take advantage of an always-up-to-date platform
The free tier benefits from the fully managed PaaS capabilities of Azure App Service: with an always-up-to-date platform, developers do not need to worry about updating stacks or the operating system. And we continue to add features to the free tier that enable new customer scenarios and modern application patterns, such as the recently added support for WebSocket and gRPC.
At Microsoft, our commitment to substantial free offers does not end with App Service, in fact, we offer more than 25 free Azure services. These include powerful services like Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Kubernetes Service, Azure DevOps, Azure Cognitive Search, and much more.
Get started with App Service and other Azure offerings