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Custom hostnames for "Shared" Web Sites? RRS feed

  • Question

  • It appears that without upgrading to "Reserved", there is no option for a web site to have any hostname other than xxxxx.azurewebsites.net.  That may be viable for some hobby sites, but not for most scenarios where the new service would be useful.  

    So the choices are:

    • Free shared hosting without a custom hostname
    • $57.60/month during the preview and $86.40/month after the preview for hosting with custom hostnames but without fault tolerance (including, I assume during planned maintenance) and no SLA (because I assume the SLA still requires 2 instances)
    • $115.20/month during the preview and $172.80/month after the preview for the smallest web site hosting that provides both an option for a custom hostname and reliability

    I think it is ok that your free option doesn't come with the custom hostname option, but I think the gap between the free option and the cheapest non-free option is too large for anything other than a profitable small business.  Non-commercial and hobby sites are essentially priced out of this otherwise very compelling new service.

    My suggestion:  Add a non-free shared option that is otherwise the same as the shared option (shared capacity with limited scalability) but that has an option for a custom hostnames.  If this was in the neighborhood of $5-$10 per month, I think it would still be very compelling to many people.

    The only obvious reason I can think of for why you wouldn't want to do this is if you are explicitly trying to avoid competing with existing third party, low cost windows shared hosting vendors.  If so, I think that is a shame.

    So the question:  Have I misunderstood something?  Is this an issue you plan to address at a later date?

    • Edited by Erv Walter Friday, June 8, 2012 2:25 AM
    Friday, June 8, 2012 2:22 AM

Answers

  • Hello Erv,

    The behavior you describe is by design, and we are aware of the gap you've identified.

    At this time, we have not determined machine count requirements for an SLA after preview.

    In addition, we have not decided what, if any, paid shared options we may have in the future.

    We appreciate your feedback!  Candid comments like yours will help us build products which best meet the needs of our customers.

    Thanks!

    Ryan

    Friday, June 8, 2012 2:44 AM

All replies

  • Hello Erv,

    The behavior you describe is by design, and we are aware of the gap you've identified.

    At this time, we have not determined machine count requirements for an SLA after preview.

    In addition, we have not decided what, if any, paid shared options we may have in the future.

    We appreciate your feedback!  Candid comments like yours will help us build products which best meet the needs of our customers.

    Thanks!

    Ryan

    Friday, June 8, 2012 2:44 AM
  • I agree with this totally. Also the costs of reserved hosting over a year for a small instance is more than it would cost to buy a computer that provide large instance facilities... The pricing structure is excessively high in my opinion. Azure could easily take over the world its a great product and far more user friendly than rivals. However, rivals will still get the majority of business simply because the pricing model is more competitive for small businesses. Setup businesses will have to purchase shared hosting elsewhere for there $10pm which includes large storage, email and other additions. Currently I use Web Wiz for my asp.net hosting and do not see how I can afford to transfer to Azure at this time. My business is small and my needs are small - but the costs are too high. When the company grows as it surely will - it will still be a long time before I move to Azure as I can self-host on my own equipment for less than Azure. It is such a shame that although Azure has the ability to grow with the company the pricing structure is not designed to do so - by giving the extra small (start-ups) a market realistic pricing structure. Thanks anyway for what will be a great product once the pricing is sorted out.
    Sunday, June 10, 2012 9:42 AM
  • I see also this gap. I want also a non-free sharing feature with custom hostnames. Or we need a reserved web-site that can contains multiple sub-sites to share the costs to multiple customers.

    By the way @Microsoft: Good work! I love the new web-site feature :)

    Sunday, June 10, 2012 10:31 AM
  • Cost is more than expected.  indeed a really nice feature to have website on cloud with cross platform ability.

    Cheers.


    http://winspark.net/ | Spark your Windows

    Sunday, June 10, 2012 10:42 AM
  • Oh, I got surprised :-) As I read here in the forum, all reserved web-sites are running in the same (!!!) VM. That is okay for me and my small customers. I use then one or two reserved VMs to run multiple customers. I think with that option, the price is fine :-))

    But out of the portal and/or the price calculator, I have understood it differently ;-) Maybe Microsoft can make that fact more clearly :-) Lets say, you add another slider to the web-site calculator named "Count of web-sites" (parallel to the "VM instances"). Then, anybody can see and understand, that one VM instance can run more then one web-site :-))

    Keep the good work!

    Sunday, June 10, 2012 10:51 AM
  • Its one of the best management portals out there...simplest to set up...but the costs are sooo high compared with market prices. Any small startups and/or enthusiasts are just priced out here. I want also a non-free sharing feature with custom hostnames.

    Sunday, June 10, 2012 7:47 PM
  • You have that with web sites and reserved instance.  Maybe I not understand the question.
    Monday, June 11, 2012 1:33 AM
  • Totally agree with the OP, here is how I tested out Azure Websites preview.  Please make a gentler jump between free and paid option with an option for custom domain.

    For me, here is how my eval went for Azure shared websites.

    1. Tested out Azure shared web sites by deploying something.
    2. Then madly looking for an option to link a custom dns name.
    3. Figured I can't after some searching on the internet.
    4. Looked up the pricing, quickly worked out this product is not for me and cannot recommend to my SMB customers.
    5. Typing this post hoping MS will make this cool product affordable by SMB.
    6. Going to delete my test site off Azure web sites after hitting send for this post.

    Monday, June 11, 2012 5:42 AM
  • When you consider you can deploy 100 Web Sites to a single Reserved instance, I'd say the cost per site is pretty reasonable. Even if you only deployed 10 Web Sites, the cost is now less than $6/month for each of those sites. Just something to consider.
    Monday, June 11, 2012 11:30 AM
  • We're on a reserved instance and currently unable to assign a hostname to our Azure website. Hoping this is a bug and not by design.

    Monday, June 11, 2012 5:11 PM
  • Hi GregSeattle,

    To assign the hostname to your reserved instance, you must update DNS to point at Azure Web Sites before assigning the hostname to your website.

    If you have done this and things are still not working, please let us know.

    Thanks!

    Ryan

    Monday, June 11, 2012 5:42 PM
  • You are making the assumption that everyone is selling webspace... most of us are not in that area - we will deploy 1 or 2 sites for ourselves - and run worker roles on the cloud. so $60 a month is a high asking price no matter how we look at it.

    Seriously, I pay about $20pm for my asp.net site - massive badnwidth, databses, CPU and storage - but of course it is not scalable to any extent and will take days to re-deploy. My business model requires very very quick scalability - on Amazon I could get that at less cost - I am only using Azure - because Microsoft do generally produce the better products...

    In this case the product is great and getting better by the minute. But they have totally missed the mark with their costing model. It is something that has to be addressed or they will price themselves out of the market and we will lose what is probably going to be the greatest paradigm shift that software development has seen since moving away from the punch card.


    • Edited by Dave A Gordon Monday, June 11, 2012 9:10 PM Spelling :P
    Monday, June 11, 2012 9:05 PM
  • You need to point your A name DNS to your reserved instance IP

    Remember to keep your MX as they are or you will lose your email !!

    Monday, June 11, 2012 9:08 PM
  • Thanks Ryan! That did the trick. If I can give some feedback - you could probably add this to the help tool on the page. And it would be nice if you could get the hostname in place before switching DNS. If we were migrating our site instead of launching a new one, we would have had some downtime that we wouldn't have wanted.

     

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:24 PM
  • I've been asking about custom domains on Shared instances too. Got a tweet from ScottGu saying:

    "We are going to be adding a way to enable custom domains to shared sites too - for current preview it requires reserved"

    https://twitter.com/scottgu/status/210972290719031298

    I also saw Bill Stables mention on the Learn Azure cast yesterday, that they were "a couple of weeks" away, and "will come with a price".

    As someone with lots of little tiny apps, I'm hoping MS will beat AppHarbor's $10/month/domain, as that'd work out $50-$60/month for me for < 1,000 visitors/day. Currently using App Engine and have had over 50,000 visitors in a day within the free quotas (Ireally want to write .NET, not Python!).

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012 6:32 PM
  • And it would be nice if you could get the hostname in place before switching DNS. If we were migrating our site instead of launching a new one, we would have had some downtime that we wouldn't have wanted.

    Good point!  We added this check for security reasons (to prevent squatting), but we'll investigate other options.
    Tuesday, June 12, 2012 8:59 PM
  • As someone with lots of little tiny apps, I'm hoping MS will beat AppHarbor's $10/month/domain, as that'd work out $50-$60/month for me for < 1,000 visitors/day. 

    Hey Dan - I took a look at AppHarbor's pricing page; where is there a $10/mo pricing option?  I probably overlooked it - please point me in the right direction.

    Also, if you have several sites, take a look at reserved instances, you can run up to 100 sites in a reserved instance.  Small instances are only $0.08/hour during preview.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012 9:02 PM
  • You need to point your A name DNS to your reserved instance IP

    Remember to keep your MX as they are or you will lose your email !!

    Are we sure Reserved instance has a static IP during whole term of deployment.  I may have missed it, but did not see a published IP in config pages.
    Wednesday, June 13, 2012 3:21 AM
  • Hi William,

    The IP is not guaranteed to remain the same, so we don't publish it in the portal.

    Using A records is "at your own risk."

    Thanks,

    Ryan

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:34 AM
  • The IP is not guaranteed to remain the same, so we don't publish it in the portal.

    Using A records is "at your own risk."

    That's another problem you're going to have to address, I think.  As your own documentation (for Web Roles) points out, CNAME records are not possible with top level domain names and so A records are the only option. And requiring a www. prefix on domains is going to be a problem for a lot of existing sites that would like to move to Azure Web Sites (including mine).
    Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:13 PM
  • Ack :-)) CNAME is not possible for the domain without host ("top level domain"), just the A record. It would be nice to see a solution for that issue...

    Something like a static central ip address for each region where the hostname (within HTTP GET and POST) gets matched again Azure Web Site configurations and the request will be automatically redirected to the right VM instance.

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:25 PM
  • I agree with what is said here. 57 dollars to run my hobby sites is too much. 
    Saturday, June 16, 2012 4:55 AM
  • As someone with lots of little tiny apps, I'm hoping MS will beat AppHarbor's $10/month/domain, as that'd work out $50-$60/month for me for < 1,000 visitors/day.

    Hey Dan - I took a look at AppHarbor's pricing page; where is there a $10/mo pricing option?  I probably overlooked it - please point me in the right direction.

    Also, if you have several sites, take a look at reserved instances, you can run up to 100 sites in a reserved instance.  Small instances are only $0.08/hour during preview.

    It's in the "Mix and Match" section:

    You can add unlimited custom hostnames to the free plan for $10/month.

    As for the reserved instance, that wouldn't be so bad if I had enough sites, but I only have around 4 running all the time. I also have a few temporary apps I just play around with things at (domains are less important here, but I generally prefer them).

    Currently one is hosted completely free by AppHarbor because it's OSS, and the others are hosted completely free at AppEngine, which has decent free quotas (even when one hit 50,000 uniques in a day, it didn't break the free quota) and include domains. They're really low traffic, so it doesn't make sense to pay $60-$70/month for a Small instance (I would happily pay for an Extra Small, but that doesn't seem to be an option for websites) given the current cost is $0 :-)

    I'd really love to move them all to Azure Web Sites, but as much as I dislike Python and love using EF CF Migrations stuff on Azure Web Sites, the cost needs to be competitive. I'd probably pay around $5/month per shared website with domains (multiple on a single site would be a requirement), or maybe around $25/month to have unlimited custom domains for *all* of my Shared websites. Anything more than probably wouldn't make it worthwhile to switch (oh, AppHarbor host one of my apps free because it's open source).

    I appreciate you gotta make money; so these costs may be way lower than you'd consider, but it wouldn't make sense for me to pay any more. Maybe a little bit of money from me would be better than none. My apps are doing < 1,000 uniques/day, so they're not really using a lot of resources.

    Hope this helps!

    Sunday, June 17, 2012 7:03 PM
  • I agree with what is said here. 57 dollars to run my hobby sites is too much. 

    But you would not buy a reserved instance for a hobby site.  You can have 10 shared free.  You could also get a x-small VM for 9.37/mth and run them all.  There are other options to look at.
    Monday, June 18, 2012 5:24 AM
  • I agree with what is said here. 57 dollars to run my hobby sites is too much. 


    But you would not buy a reserved instance for a hobby site.  You can have 10 shared free.  You could also get a x-small VM for 9.37/mth and run them all.  There are other options to look at.

    I think what he meant was that there is no custom domain on Shared sites (currently), so it's $57/mo just for anything with a domain. I'm in the same boat; my blog gets < 500 uniques/day and is hosted free at App Engine. I'd love to move it here, but not $57/mo and not without the domain :(

    For some reason, the Extrra Small instance isn't an option with Web Sites, so you lose out on many of the benefits of using Web Sites :(

    Monday, June 18, 2012 6:18 AM
  • You can still have custom domain with url forwarding from your registrar (i.e. godaddy). Until they come out with final solution, that will work.

    I don't understand why you say the xs-VM is not an option.  I am doing right now.  Has more benefits, not less.

    Monday, June 18, 2012 5:20 PM
  • You can still have custom domain with url forwarding from your registrar (i.e. godaddy). Until they come out with final solution, that will work.

    That just isn't going to work for anyone that has an existing site that they care about search rankings for :o(

    I don't understand why you say the xs-VM is not an option.  I am doing right now.  Has more benefits, not less.

    I mean for Web Sites. You can only pick from Small and above as Reserved instances for Web Sites.
    Monday, June 18, 2012 6:19 PM
  • Got ya. For both your cases it seems as if VM would be better fit.  Naturally, not a fit for everyone.  Sometime gotta buy hamburger if that is budget.  It is never going to compete (cost wise) with a few dusty servers tossed into a closet and held out as 24/7 hosting.  You always pay somewhere.  Cost, perf, uptime, etc.
    Monday, June 18, 2012 8:02 PM
  • Hey,

    Its looks like its a temporary problem and Scottgu tweeted that they are going to add this custom domain feature for shared websites too :)

    https://twitter.com/scottgu/status/210972290719031298

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 10:42 AM
  • Hey,

    Its looks like its a temporary problem and Scottgu tweeted that they are going to add this custom domain feature for shared websites too :)

    https://twitter.com/scottgu/status/210972290719031298

    That tweet was already linked above; it was a reply to me :-D
    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 4:41 PM
  • I want to add so that everyone is aware: You can use wildcard CNAME through a 3rd party like DynDNS to avoid having to use the IP and an A-record approach. I'm using it now in Cloud Services just fine. On the Cloud Services side, you can setup *.mydomain.com -> mycloud.cloupapp.net and it works just fine and will handle all traffic to *.mydomain.com. You never have to worry about MS changing your IP this way. We need this capability in Azure Websites if it's ever going to be a replacement for apps in Cloud Services.

    btw-- I also am not liking the pricing model for Azure. You'll be able to get a full Azure VM at the same price for the same instance size across Cloud Services and Azure Websites. This might make sense on the MS side in terms of the resource use being the same on their side across the services. However, it doesn't look like a good deal for the customer (that's ME!) to give up so much flexibility and even features going downhill from VM -> Cloud Services -> Azure Websites when they will all be the same price (on the basis of instance size).

    I get that the services get simpler and easier to manage as you go downhill, but I'm really feeling that full VM's are the way to go for my apps in the future if full VM's are going to be priced this way. I'm going to get 100% customization and flexibility of a full VM. True, I have to configure my VM webserver just like I would any on-premises box ... things that I wouldn't have to deal with in Cloud Services or especially Azure Websites ... but in the longrun, I think VM's are going to be the way to go.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 8:46 PM
  • I want to add so that everyone is aware: You can use wildcard CNAME through a 3rd party like DynDNS to avoid having to use the IP and an A-record approach. I'm using it now in Cloud Services just fine. On the Cloud Services side, you can setup *.mydomain.com -> mycloud.cloupapp.net and it works just fine and will handle all traffic to *.mydomain.com. You never have to worry about MS changing your IP this way. We need this capability in Azure Websites if it's ever going to be a replacement for apps in Cloud Services.

    To be clear, CNAME records only work for subdomains (including the www subdomain that many sites have).  But if you want mydomain.com to work, you can't use a CNAME because CNAME records are not legal on top level domain names.  See here for details.

    So it is a find approach if you only care about www.mydomain.com.  But for sites that explicity want to avoid the www prefix, the only solution is A records and either rolling the dice that Microsoft will not change the IP address (which they at least promise not to do with Cloud Services as long as your don't delete your deployment and recreate it from scratch) or use a paid service like dnsazure.com to actively monitor your IP address and keep an A record up to date.  Note, I don't know that dnsazure.com works with Azure web sites yet.


    • Edited by Erv Walter Tuesday, June 19, 2012 9:08 PM
    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 9:07 PM
  • That is not correct (at least for an app hosted in Cloud Services). DynDNS can do whatever they need to do behind the scenes to redirect the traffic. They own their own nameservers. If they are breaking some Internet spec, that's their call and I don't care. The way DynDNS (and some other nameserver services that offer wildcard CNAME's) handles this type of mapping on their nameservers "may not be legal on top level domains" in MS systems (or GoDaddy for that matter, who require a stated subdomin to enter a valid CNAME into their nameservers). Like I said, I don't care what DynDNS did to resolve that traffic to my Cloud Services app ... it works just fine.

    This is my setup (using mydomain.com as an example):

    mydomain.com is registered with GoDaddy using external nameservers pointed to DynDNS

    I have a $30/year DynDNS account. I have mappings in the account for:
    (1) Two MX recs set to GoDaddy mail servers to handle my mail
    (2) A TXT rec for Google verification of domain ownership
    (3) A CNAME: *.mydomain.com --> myapp.cloudapp.net

    I have an Azure Cloud Services account running Nate's old web role accelerator (now depreciated but still running strong). I have four apps in the accelerator: One port 443 site on www.mydomain.com (SSL), one port 80 site on www.mydomain.com, one app that handles port 80 traffic on myotherdomain.com (pointed in GoDaddy CNAME as www.myotherdomain.com -> myapp.cloudapp.net), and the final app that maps *.mydomain.com and takes all wildcard subdomain traffic on port 80 that isn't specifcially coming in on 'www.mydomain.com' port 80 or 'www.mydomain.com' port 443 as these are defined in the accelerator (Note that the web role accelerator does require a little 3-line hack to make that wildcard hostname work).

    This works. My corp site on www.mydomain.com gets its traffic. My SSL console site on www.mydomain.com gets its traffic. My otherdomain.com is a seperate issue here, but it the accelerator handles that site ok, so it gets its traffic. ALL other *.mydomain.com traffic goes to my fourth app.

    You do not need to use the A-record or worry about MS changing the IP or dnsazure.com. Erv is just flat out wrong (for Cloud Services ... not necessarily Azure Websites). How do we know that? Well, I'm using this right now -- that's how we know. Now, if he is talking about Azure Websites, that's another story. I agree. I tested. This scheme did not work for a test Azure Website ... even in Reserved mode (although I admit that I didn't know at the time that they were doing a verification when the hostname is entered into the UI ... knowing that would have changed my test approach a little).

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012 1:01 AM
  • This works. My corp site on www.mydomain.com gets its traffic. My SSL console site on www.mydomain.com gets its traffic. My otherdomain.com is a seperate issue here, but it the accelerator handles that site ok, so it gets its traffic. ALL other *.mydomain.com traffic goes to my fourth app.

    Do http://mydomain.com and https://mydomain.com work (without the www. or *. prefix)?  If they do, please tell me what your domain is so that I can look at it and attempt to replicate it.  I have personally tried this with a variety of DNS providers (with Cloud Services) and it did not work.  The CNAME worked fine, but it broke the MX record (because when there is a CNAME record, it overrides all other types of records on the hostname in question).  And a wildcard CNAME entry *.mydomain.com did not match mydomain.com by itself. It only matched anysubdomain.mydomain.com.


    • Edited by Erv Walter Wednesday, June 20, 2012 1:10 AM
    Wednesday, June 20, 2012 1:08 AM
  • Yes ... mydomain.com on port 80 and 443 will resolve to the Azure app. The mail will resolve to GoDaddy mail servers. DynDNS works. It's up to the app to deal with the non-mail traffic after that.

    Nate did a great job on the web role accelerator. The mappings in the accelerator seem to give priority to a named subdomain ('www') so that traffic that arrives without a subdomain goes to that app. Anything else ... any other subdomain goes to a different app in the accelerator in my setup.

    My SSL site has its own endpoint in the ServiceDefinition file, so that traffic is directed before the accelerator code really has to do anything. It didn't used to be that way: It used to be that the accelerator could handle 443 traffic, too. I ended up configuring the app manually for this traffic because the last version of the accelerator that Nate released before it was depreciated had a problem showing/mapping SSL certificates. I had to make a separate entry in the ServiceDefinition file and manually configure the certificate in the app to get that traffic to resolve properly without getting a certificate error.

    Try DynDNS: Set your registrar nameservers (I use GoDaddy) to Dyn nameservers. In DynDNS (you just need their DNS Standard account at $30/year) do this (using GoDaddy for Email for example):

    mydomain.com -- TTL 3600 -- MX -- 0 smtp.secureserver.net
    mydomain.com -- TTL 3600 -- MX -- 10 mailstore1.secureserver.net
    mydomain.com -- TTL 3600 -- TXT -- "google-site-verification: XXXXX" -- if you need this
    *.mydomain.com -- TTL 600 -- CNAME -- myapp.cloudapp.net

    [You can set those TTL's longer, of course, if you like.]

    As for www.mydomain.com and anythingelse.mydomain.com going to two separate apps, that's something that Nate's software is handling for me. The accelerator is depreciated now, so you can't get it from Github any longer. Indeed, your mail traffic will be fine. Dyn rocks! They are one of those rare companies in life where you get EXCELLENT service at a GREAT price.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012 1:53 AM
  • @SellRex I don't understand how this can work; are you able to share the domain for us to look at? Or can you post the full info from the nameserver? What you pasted already doesn't seem to deal with just "mydomain.com" as far as I can see? 
    Thursday, June 21, 2012 5:42 PM
  • Hello -

    Yes! I'm sorry. I goofed that. The nameserver rules themselves don't do squat in that regard. I was wrong about the binding in the webrole accelerator -- good catch! I screwed that up. I was just more interested in showing how wildcard CNAME would direct all of the traffic on that domain to the endpoint address. That is ... IF there is a subdomain in the first place ... duh.

    You're absolutely right about that. A naked request to http://mydomain.com will NOT work with this setup. I've actually decided to contact Dyn to get a DNS guru to suggest how to handle that case. Right now, I've been relying upon modern browers, which will prepend 'www' to a naked domain typed into a browser address bar. I admit that it's not a good solution.

    I just send a support request to Dyn. I'll post back their answer.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 9:41 PM
  • Glad to hear that I am not insane.  I was not sure why it was working for you and not for me.

    Note, I don't know of any browsers that prepend www to mydomain.com.  Many sites do that themselves by redirecting to www.mydomain.com when they get a request at mydomain.com though.  For example, if I type trendweight.com or twistymaze.net in either Chrome or IE 9, www does not get added.

    If browsers prepended www to domains without it, my sites would break because they explicitly try to remove the www if someone uses it (I am "anti www", if you didn't guess). That's why it is so important to me to find a solution to use Azure Web Sites (because I really want to love them) with an A record since as far as I know, that is the only possible DNS solution.

    Yes, I can (and do) use Cloud Services just fine.  But the possibility of having multiple sites share a single VM with a painless deployment story is very appealing (and I never got Azure Web Accelerator to work correctly for some reason).

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 9:50 PM
  • That's strange. I just type it into my browser (IE9) and it does resolve to www -- I was also able to type the domain into Firefox. There was a delay ... like a nameserver changing the address ... or maybe the accelerator doing a redirect ... and it also resolved to www. However, then I did a web-sniffer.net on the domain, it failed.

    Hopefully, Dyn will have an answer. My support ticket is in the queue.

    RE the accelerator. yeah -- It's breaking down now. First, I had the new problem with SSL certificates not showing up properly in the last release. I had to manually configure the ServiceDefinition file with the cert and the web app for the 443 endpoint to make it work. This was a hack because it used to handle SSL just fine, but now, it's not showing all of my certificates. The next thing to go was the Website Manager interface. I can't login to the accelerator now. It works just fine with the bindings I setup previously (they are all kept in table storage, so they can be managed there if I need to make a change).

    I'm testing a pair of Azure VM's in preview right now. I have a problem right now getting a second VM to sync after Web Deploy runs an update out of Visual Studio. My command script to sync the web app on the VM runs great. However, when I run it out of a wpp.targets file in the project, I get an "exited with code 9009" exception.

    If I can get Web Deploy + automatic sync across VM's to work; and next, if I can get AppFabric 1.1 caching to work on XS VM's (as the new caching in cloud services will not run on XS instances) ... well ... then to heck with cloud services. I'll just move the whole thing over to full VM's for the ultimate in control and flexibility.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 10:10 PM
  • This gap really detracts from the service. Everyone kept telling me to check out Azure so I finally broke down and did. It is awesome! I got my sites up as a cloud service in under ten minutes and was extremely impressed. I then discovered web sites in the preview feature and was doubly impressed! I really loved all the options for publishing the site too. Web deploy and Git deploy are both amazingly easy and useful.

    I got my personal programming bloc (CodeTunnel.com) up and running on Azure Websites at codetunnel.azurewebsites.net with ease! I then went to find the DNS servers that I needed to point my domain at.........none, doesn't work that way. I tried to find an IP to manually point my A Record to like I did with cloud services. Nope. I then find a forum thread saying I have to change from shared to reserved mode. Okay, so I go to change it. Firstly I get an error saying there are not enough reserved instances for my site. I look up the error and realize it's just a downside of it being in preview mode and I decided to be patient while they rectify it.

    In the meantime I decided to go see what the difference between shared and reserved was. BOY WAS I SURPRISED! Suddenly my awesome alternative to Arvixe.com shared hosting was not an alternative at all! I pay about $11/mo at Arvixe for shared hosting and although it is much slower than Azure it does at least allow me to specify custom hostnames with ease. I am now extremely disappointed. My sites don't make any money as they are personal/hobby sites. I had nothing but great things to say about Azure until I was confronted with that vastly inconvenient hurdle.

    I cannot afford the price difference. With shared hosting the calculator projected a little over $10/mo which was perfect! The benefits of Azure are so great that I would even be willing to jump up to $15/mo just to get my custom hostname. But then I find this thread and see them saying that the gap is intentional and they have no plans to offer anything in-between. So now I'm stuck because I absolutely hate having my domain forward to mysite.azurewebsites.net. I hate it so much that I'm considering just sticking with Arvixe despite the worse performance and more complex deployment process.

    I am very saddened by this and I feel like Microsoft has let me down. I know a big focus of Microsoft has always been enterprise but I guess with all the average consumer-oriented things they've done lately with their products lately I figured Azure would cater more to the solo developer. I really hope this gets rectified eventually but for now I believe I need to pay them the $5 I have accrued and go back where I came from :(

    Friday, June 22, 2012 6:13 PM
  • Erv et al.

    I have the answer: They told me to enter a "webhop" A-record on the nameserver. The rules look like this now:

    mydomain.com -- TTL 600 - A(Webhop) -- http://www.mydomain.com
    mydomain.com -- TTL 3600 -- MX -- 0 smtp.secureserver.net
    mydomain.com -- TTL 3600 -- MX -- 10 mailstore1.secureserver.net
    mydomain.com -- TTL 3600 -- TXT -- "google-site-verification: XXXXX" -- if you need this
    *.mydomain.com -- TTL 600 -- CNAME -- myapp.cloudapp.net

    According to Dyn tech support that should do the trick to send http://mydomain.com traffic to the www subdomain (similar to the way that GoDaddy domain forwarding works). From there, the wildcard CNAME will pick it up and return the Azure endpoint Url. I just put the new record in, so I'll test tomorrow.

    May I just say again: Dyn ROCKS!

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 10:24 AM
  • @SellRex.  Have not tried it.  But could you run a job on VM1 that triggers from ChangeDirectoryContents event (or what ever it is) and runs the push logic (i.e. ftp, copy, etc) to the other VM.  Keeping the sync logic on the cloud side. ?

    I also agree "www" is not being pre-pended by the browser. In those cases, I assume dns is cname to www.  Check the dns (i.e. Dig) to view.

    Saturday, June 30, 2012 10:50 PM
  • I'm investigating this with MS now (in the forum that deals with virtual networks) if there is anyway to interact with a 2nd VM from behind the Azure firewall/load balancer. As far as I currently know, Azure Virtual Network is not going to work for inter-VM communication ... MS has stated that virtual network is for site-to-site (VPN) types of connections. They have recommended Azure Connect for connecting one VM to another. I really think that virtual network **should** be the right (logical) way for them to have allowed inter-VM communication.

    On the 'www' prefix issue: Before Dyn told me how to set that up, IE (or maybe it was Firefox) was prepending the 'www' when the domain was typed. It might have just been doing a lookup in history. It doesn't matter now: Dyn provided the correct solution ... the A(Webhop) record.

    Sunday, July 1, 2012 3:51 AM
  • I also agree "www" is not being pre-pended by the browser. In those cases, I assume dns is cname to www.  Check the dns (i.e. Dig) to view.


    I must reverse.  I just had this "www" issue happen today with IE9.  On one of my sites the first dns query (seen with net mon) was prepending the www for the query and failing.  Did not even show the "www" in the search bar so it tool net mon to show it.  Not sure if IE9 or dns client or some confluence of the two.
    Saturday, July 14, 2012 11:57 PM
  • I think, the good idea would be to have option to host reserved websites on extra-small VMs.

    In Science We Trust!

    Thursday, July 19, 2012 3:59 PM
  • I agree with you Erv 110%. Currently I am running Windows Azure Preview mode for 3 months, and very disappointed about the lack of custom hostnames for shared website. Contacted Microsoft support, but all they did, was passed my request/wish to the team. I hope they will not skim through it, but take it seriously.

    3 months passed from your initial question, already so maybe something has changed in MS?

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 6:46 PM
  • From Scott Guthrie on Twitter:

    https://twitter.com/scottgu/statuses/243200812065632256

    @smn_australia @dantup @avodovnikwill have something for you later this month

    — Scott Guthrie (@scottgu) September 5, 2012

    Jungle Blocks now LIVE!
    Blog | Twitter

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:28 PM
  • Tuesday, September 18, 2012 2:56 AM
  • For more information see the updated topic on windowsazure.com

    Configuring a custom domain name for a Windows Azure web site

    http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/net/common-tasks/custom-dns-web-site/


    Don Glover: AzureDocGuy

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 5:35 AM
  • Well done thread opening which resulted in custom Domains in shared mode.

    Finally I would like to ask for even more: Custom Domains in free mode, with a slider showing when to pay e.g. after the certain number of sites site, but not for the first ten sites. Think back to Office Live for small businesses OLSB which was free for everybody and just failed, because of low usage numbers, but now with Azure Websites -> why won't you become the best and largest small business website provider in the world?

    Sunday, December 1, 2013 7:36 PM