Running PrestaShop on Windows Azure Virtual Machine

I will begin this post with a disclaimer. I started using Windows Azure on the 13th of September. I am in no way an expert neither have I finished any training courses. Microsoft Virtual Academy has some great courses on Windows Azure but I am yet to finish any.

I am definitely sure that what I have done has some security flaws and I welcome any advice on how to shore up security. In the course of reading this, please do not be offended by the depth of my ignorance. My main reason for writing this post is because I have learnt that by sharing what I know, it is easy to get help.

To run PrestaShop on Windows Azure Virtual Machines I think you should already understand how to create a Website in Windows Azure. I pieced together how this was done from various sources on the internet so without much ado.

Log In To Your Windows Azure Portal

Go to https://manage.windowsazure.com/ and log in with your credentials.

Add a Bitnami Image

Once you are logged in to your management portal, click on the Virtual Machines section and then on your Images tab.

Images Tab on Windows Azure Virtual MachinesClick on browse VM Depot. It will bring up the screen shown below.

Browse VM Depot

In my case I am trying to set up PrestaShop so I will select it and click on next.

Create a Storage Account

I started with a fresh installation. So I get prompted to create a storage account. From my observation you need a storage account to keep all your files.

storage accountOnce you click next, the process of creating a storage account begins but you have to wait for Windows Azure to add the image. Note that you are adding 30GB so you might have to wait for a while. Once the process is complete, click on the image and register it.

Launch Your Machine

Once your machine is selected, click New in the left bottom corner. Select Virtual Machine then from the Gallery option. Go to My Images in the new pop-up window and select your new image.

Virtual Machine

Create a Virtual MachineEnter your machine name, login, password, instance type and DNS name in the machine configuration wizard. I choose to provide a password over uploading an SSH key.

Open Network Ports

Your VM gives would now be listed. Click on it and you will see the screen below:

VM CreationClick on the Endpoints Tab.

EndpointsYou goal is to add a port 80. Click on the add tab and follow the wizard. Select HTTP and click OK.

Access Your Application

Once your application is running and port 80 is opened, you can enter you applications domain name in our browser. You can view PrestaShop running on Windows Azure Virtual Machine here. It runs beautifully.

Access the Administration Area

In order to access the adminstration area, type yourdns/prestashop/administration. Log in to your admin area.

For bitnami installation, they all come with the same username of user@example.com and password of bitnami. So log in immediately and change the username and password.

Conclusion

Windows Azure is really an awesome cloud computing service. The documentation to solve almost any problem is out there but you must be willing to piece it together. In this case I would say I got lucky.

If you are aware of any flaw in my process or gaps in my knowledge, please let me have your opinion in the comments area.

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