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I've just started to test the Windows Azure webrole in a staging environment and selected the 'small' instance. The pricing is .12\hour. If it's enabled (even in staging) does that mean I'm charged every hour it's enabled where there is any computing costs or not? So, for example, if no one visits the website from midnight to 5am CST, would I be charged those 5 hours? 60 cents doesn't mean much but over the course of a year it's $219. I can get an entire year of hosting a small website at discountasp.net for under that. I'm actually thinking that MS would charge it based on seconds where computing is happening and charge by an hour after that but not sure. If not, I don't see why anyone would put a website on Azure of other discounted hosting providers. If anyone has a link showing the caculator for computing costs, please let me know.

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Questions about pricing are off-topic here. You need to ask Microsoft or your hosting provider. –  Cody Gray Apr 13 '11 at 6:07
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 13 '11 at 13:50

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3 Answers

For Windows Azure you start getting charged as soon as you occupy\reserve a compute instance, irrespective of whether that instance is started or not. So it does not depend upon actual CPU usage. Answer to your question is, as long there is a site hosted in Azure it would keep getting charged. Even shutting down your instance would not stop billing. I believe if you are looking for a low cost hosting with limit features Azure may not be a right fit.

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Azure instances will cost you about $90 per CPU per month irrespective of actual usage. It is expensive for a small app, so either:

  1. Stick with shared hosting
  2. Look at being creative with using static content like blob store and REST
  3. Look at something like Appharbour http://appharbor.com/
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Adding to what Chandermani has mentioned above, you would really need to see if Windows Azure would be right fit for you. If you're running a website which gets very small hits, Windows Azure may not be a right fit for you to begin with. I think the advantage of using Windows Azure (or any cloud services provider) would come into picture when you need to scale up or down on demand (elasticity). Say for example, you've built a Facebook game and initially you have 100 users users per day. That kind of workload you can probably handle through either a shared or dedicated hosting provider. Now imagine that your game is hugely successful and suddenly you started to get 1000 users per day. This is where Windows Azure would give you the chance to seamlessly add more servers on which you can host your applications without actually committing to the hardware resources. In short you get the capability to scale up/down very easily with Windows Azure which you'll not get in a traditional hosting environment.

There is also a TCO calculator for Windows Azure which you can find here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/economics/

Hope this helps.

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