When I attended the Yammer Working Social Tour in Amsterdam I decided to start blogging. So I ended up creating a blog based on WordPress on Windows Azure. In this blogpost I will explain what problems I encountered during the setup of my blog.

Update 19-09-2014:
I will not advise you to go for WordPress and Azure Websites with SQL Server and the Database Abstraction plugin.

As you can read in my tweet above, I migrated my WordPress blog from Azure Websites with SQL Server and the Database Abstraction plugin to a Linux Virtual Machine on Azure with Apache, MySQL and PHP. I had too many problems with performance, could not always automatically update to a newer WordPress version, a few plugins did not work at all because of the Database Abstraction plugin. The WordPress 4.0 update did not work and I needed to restore a backup.

MySql ClearDB

You can set WordPress up in minutes, but there is a catch if you choose the wrong template. I found out that your database will be created and hosted by ClearDB. No problem with that, but by default your database is not allowed to be larger than 20MB. Not much for a website. You can upgrade your database to 1GB but this will cost you $9,99 per month. This was a no go for me. I have a €75 euro spending limit on Azure based on my Visual Studio Premium MSDN (MPN) account, why should I pay for my database?

So how do you solve this problem? Easy, just choose the following template from within Azure and you create a WordPress site based on SQL Azure, which will use your spending limit and will not cost you extra money. As described below, this template uses the Database Abstraction plugin.
Wordpress Brandoo

Upload limit

The next problem I had was the default upload limit in Azure of only 2MB. This can be solved to upload a .user.ini file in the wwwroot folder with the following content:

;Maximum size of the files that can be uploaded
upload_max_filesize = 16M

Make sure to stop and start the Website after uploading the file. Remaining problem is that I can not get the upload limit higher than 8MB. This will result you in uploading the file via ftp if a file is larger, a WordPress theme for instance.

Revolution Slider Activation

I decided to go for a Premium WordPress template. The one I bought came with the Revolution Slider plugin. After installation I could not get it activated. I had to turn on debugging and ended up editing the SQL translation file from the  Database Abstraction  plugin. The Revolution Slider is still causing issues because the Database Abstraction  plugin is only handling default WordPress functionality and most plugins, but there are some exceptions. If a plugin is using MySQL specific queries and this is not handled in the Database Abstraction  plugin, your plugin will not work.

Domain DNS issue

The last issue I had was that I had 2 Windows Azure Websites running. One in Shared mode with my domain added based on a MySql database. The other, based on SQL Azure, that I would finally use with my domain. I removed the domain from my first website and added the second website DNS verification to my hosting provider. The domain verification for my second website did not work for almost 24 hours. I thought that Azure could be causing this issue, something with cashing? So I removed my first website completely and suddenly my DNS verification was done.

Currently my blog is running smoothly the 80/20 rule could be applied to this: setting up 20%, getting things to work 80%.