Tag Archives: Azure

Workarounds for problems using Jetpack and https on Azure Websites

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Blog Meta

This is a follow up post on: Moving the blog to azure web sites: http://www.stefanjohansson.org/2013/05/moving-the-blog-to-azure-websites/

2013-07-09: Update 2 – As of Version 2.3.1 the Jetpack plugin and the WordPress cloud have  been updated to support more SSL scenarios. Jetpack should now work without issues and configuration changes. The post below is still valid for other connected systems that doesn’t like mismatched SSL certificates.

Introduction

One key feature missing from Azure Web Sites is the possibility to run your own SSL certificate for encrypted https traffic.

2013-06-03: Update 1 – https, SSL and certificates for custom domain names are now launched and available (for sites running in “reserved mode”) – read more here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/net/common-tasks/enable-ssl-web-site/ The information below still applies in case you don’t want to use a reserved mode site.

This pretty much disables it for any real business use whatsoever.

Every single professional I have spoken with regarding this have chosen alternate solutions for their projects and tests. As usual a key problem here is no official words on availability and firm delivery dates to relate to. Finding a blog post or discussion thread where someone says it might be available as a feature in the future just doesn’t enable project budgets to be spent on Azure Web Sites even for tests and explorations.

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Moving the blog to Azure Web Sites

This weekend an issue with another website running in the same tenant as this blog made the whole system go down. This episode made me finally spend some time moving the blog to Azure Websites. It should be running fine and exactly as before, but if you find anything out of the ordinary or not working, please let me know.

The earlier host was LAMP-based so I had to do some changes to get everything working as before:

1, I had to upload a web.config file to support pretty links and remove the need for index.php in the url. More information here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9965124/how-to-rewrite-the-index-php-of-codeigniter-on-windows-azure

and here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks#Permalinks_without_mod_rewrite

2, I had to trick Jetpack into working properly since there was an error message about a self signed certificate that made the whole thing go overboard: http://www.tpateman.co.uk/reboot/error-activating-jetpack-plugin/

Apart from that there was just the usual parts, update the dns configuration to support the new dns name in Azure (http://www.stefanjohansson.org/2012/12/how-to-configure-custom-dns-names-for-multiple-subdomain-based-azure-web-sites/), update the dns to point to the new host, migrate the content from the old host to the new and make sure everything was still configured as before.

While doing all of that I also managed to learn about the Core Control plugin (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/core-control/),

I also updated a few posts with manual Excerpts so that the posts displayed on the front page are truncated and a sticky post about migrating to Australia…

Update 2013-05-20: I have explored the JetPack issues some more and describe it here:  http://www.stefanjohansson.org/2013/05/workarounds-for-problems-using-jetpack-and-https-on-azure-websites/

How to: configure custom DNS names for multiple sub domain-based Azure web sites

This blog post shows how to configure multiple custom sub domain names to map to multiple Azure web sites.

Azure web sites supports multiple web sites (and at the moment you can run several free websites in the Azure web sites preview).

When a new site is created it gets a default subdomain name in the “azurewebsites.net” domain, so if you create a web site called “mysite” then it would be available as “mysite.azurewebsites.net”.

domainnamesinfreemode

It is also possible to configure custom domain names for the sites. To be able to use custom domain names the web site needs to be in the shared or reserved web site mode. Neither is free, you can see the current pricing information in the portal. (If you have an MSDN subscription or MPN association with benefits then you might get access to some resources as part of the subscription.)

websitemode

If you have several Azure sites and want to map them to several sub-domains for your custom domain it is possible and quite easy. However, the documentation about this has improvement potential, hence this blog post.

Scenario:

A custom domain “stefanjohansson.org” needs to be mapped to 3 different sites in Azure:

domain name Azure Site Azure DNS name
stefanjohansson.org myplainsite myplaintestsite.azurewebsites.net
test1.stefanjohansson.org my1sttestsite my1sttestsite.azurewebsites.net
test2.stefanjohansson.org my2ndtestsite my2ndtestsite.azurewebsites.net

Custom CNAME records

Step 1 is to set up custom “awverify” CNAME mappings from each domain to Azure for verification so that Microsoft knows that you own/can administer the domain.

Name Type Data
awverify.stefanjohansson.org CNAME awverify.myplaintestsite.azurewebsites.net
awverify.test1.stefanjohansson.org CNAME awverify.my1sttestsite.azurewebsites.net
awverify.test2.stefanjohansson.org CNAME awverify.my2ndtestsite.azurewebsites.net

once the CNAME’s are valid and can be read by Azure you can create A-records for the subdomains so that you can reach Azure using the custom domain names

A Records

Step 2 is to configure A records for the domains and sub domains.

First look up the actual IP-address (faked as 10.10.10.10 below) of the sites in the manage domains page of the Azure management dashboard.

Next, create the custom A records for the sub domain names in your DNS providers dashboard (such as your hosting providers administration panel/tool, your registrars website or your dns tool for internally hosted dns systems.)

Name Type Data
stefanjohansson.org A 10.10.10.10
test1.stefanjohansson.org A 10.10.10.10
test2.stefanjohansson.org A 10.10.10.10

Configure Azure Websites

Step 3 is to configure the new A records in the Azure websites dashboard. The configuration tool checks that both CNAME and A records are valid so it is not possible to add this before the configuration changes in the DNS-system has propagated.

The manage domains link is in the Configure tab of the site in the bottom toolbar as below

managedomainslink

Verification

Once the configuration is done the domain names should be visible in the Azure dashboard and you should be able to navigate to the custom domain name and be able to access your resources in the Azure web sites using your custom domain names.

twodomainnamesconfigured

 

More resources

(Also, please note that the sub domain names, Azure sites and ip-addresses used here are faked.)

What is the cost of cloudspamming?

Being of curious nature, I wanted to test if spam traffic would affect cloud services in a typical “pay as you go” scenario.

I ordered an introductory SQL Azure package from Microsoft with a pay as you go pricing plan.

image

By creating a plain, empty, SQL server instance with a random public access name I managed to get a monthly $10 cost in just 2 months without any advertising or mentions anywhere.

It will be very interesting to se how the cloud services will develop in the future in regards to this aspect.

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