Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How to Install Magento on Windows Azure

Today I’m going to show you how to set up Magento with Ubuntu 13.04 on Windows Azure. Scalability and performance are always a concern with Magento, and one way you can rectify that is to throw some more server power at it. Windows Azure is great for this purpose.

Why Azure?

While traditionally used for Microsoft Development, Linux Virtual Machines are available on Azure. One of the biggest complaints about Magento is speed and Azure handles it quite nicely. When Magento sites start getting a lot of products and / or traffic they tend to slow, with Azure you can easily scale up and load balance across many machines to solve that problem.
You can also split up application and the database servers and scale more VMs for each until you get the performance you’re looking for. It’s always good to have room to grow in an easy and affordable fashion.

Getting Started

First, you’ll need to create a virtual machine on Windows Azure. This is pretty easy.
From the Windows Azure Portal,
  • Select “Virtual Machines” from the button on the left hand side.
  • Click “Create a virtual Machine”
  • Select Compute -> Virtual Machine -> Quick Create
  • Select “Ubuntu Server 13.04”
  • Create a name for your service, and enter a password
After your machine is created, select the arrow next to the name to access the Quick Start page.
  • Select “Endpoints”
  • Select “Add standalone endpoint”
  • Select “Name: http”
  • Save changes (check mark)
This will create a http endpoint so you can access the web. It should now show the http endpoint in addition to the ssh endpoint, which we’ll use in a minute.

Connect to your Virtual Machine

Now we’ll want to connect to your virtual machine through ssh. If you’re using Linux or a Mac, it’s already installed, if you’re using Windows I recommend Putty for this purpose.

ssh azureuser@[ your cloudapp url ]

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Add MariaDB Repositories

We need to enter a few commands here to add the MariaDB repository. MariaDB is the database we’re going to use for Magento, it’s a drop in place swap for MySQL that’s better and more secure, so that’s what we’ll use. Magento will never know the difference.

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 0xcbcb082a1bb943db
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb raring main'
sudo apt-get update

Step 2: Install the Web Server

We’re going to install Apache with PHP 5 to support Magento on this machine, as well as MySQL connectors, and the maria Database server with the following commands:

sudo apt-get install apache2
sudo apt-get install php5 libapache2-mod-php5
sudo apt-get install php5-mysql
sudo apt-get install mariadb-server
sudo apt-get install php5-mysql php5-curl php5-mcrypt php5-gd php5-common php-apc

During the install you will see the following screen asking for a root password.
Set this password and keep a note of it, we’ll be using it very shortly.

Step 3: Install Magento

For this you’ll need to download the Magento tarball here and put it on your server, or you can use the wget command below. I’m currently hosting the version.

cd /var/www
sudo wget 
sudo tar -zxvf magento- 
sudo mv magento/* magento/.htaccess .

Now we’ll need to set the permissions so Magento can write the files it needs to:

sudo chmod -R o+w media var
sudo chmod o+w app/etc

You’re set! now let’s create the database.

Step 4: Create the Database

Now we want to create a MariaDB database for this. First, since we just installed this database we want to run a quick script that will make it more secure. Run the following script and answer yes to all the questions:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Now we need to create our tables and a user for Magento.

mysql -u root -p

Once logged in, you’ll want to create the database, and a user:

CREATE USER magentouser IDENTIFIED BY '(enter a password here)'

Now we want to assign that user to the database and give it the proper permissions:


now type in “quit” to exit MariaDb.

Step 5: Final Server Configuration

We want to enable search engine friendly URLs in our install, so run the following command to install mod_rewrite for Apache:

sudo a2enmod rewrite

Now, we need to open up this file to enable it:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/default

Change “AllowOverride None” to “AllowOverride All” so it looks like this:
Save the file and quit.
Now restart the server:

sudo service apache2 restart

Load it up in a web browser and let’s get this configured!

Step 6: Set up Magento

Now we have Magento all set up and ready to go. Load up the url (whatever name you chose) in web browser and start the installation.
Click I agree on the first screen, and continue on the next.
On the next screen, enter your database name, user name and user password in the Database Connection box. You created these earlier on the MariaDB setup.
in the web access options, make sure “Use Web Server (Apache) Rewrites” is checked
Click Continue.
You will now set up your admin information:
Click Continue and you’re done!
You can now log into to your admin panel ( and get started!


I hope this helps to get your Magento site up and running on Windows Azure. With the load balancing and scaling capabilities this could be an awesome solution for your e-commerce site. Traditionally expansion has been tough and expensive for small and medium businesses who run software like this, but Windows Azure and other cloud based solutions are making it easier and cheaper to expand.
If you’re looking for a durable and scalable solution for your e-commerce needs I would recommend trying this approach.

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